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Are you responsible for enforcing apartment buildings where residents want to use grills?  Have you been faced with landlords or condo associations who are seeking education on the risk of grills and cooking appliances?  Do you see office buildings with grilling/patio areas located too close to the building? Why does a Fire Code care about the occupant use of grills? NFPA 1 provides limitations for the use of grills, hibachi, and similar devices used for cooking and heating to ensure both the safety of occupants and protection of property.


grilling safety

For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose is to be used or ignited on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure.  This keeps the ignition source a safe distance from the structure, such as an apartment building or dormitory, and away from exterior areas.  In addition, these grills/hibachi cannot be stored on balconies.  Where grills are stored on balconies, the probability is high they will be used there as well.


With regard to the application and enforcement of this provision in the Code, a frequently asked question to NFPA staff is whether electric grills are including in this provisions.  The answer is yes, they must follow the same rule as other fuel fired grills noted above.  In 2006 the Code read as follows:

10.11.7 For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, gas-fired grill, charcoal grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure. Listed electric ranges, grills, or similar electrical apparatus shall be permitted.


However, the underlined sentence was removed in the 2009 edition and all subsequent editions.  From 2009 on, the requirement as stated in Section 10.11.6 is intended to include electric devices when enforcing this requirement. Listed equipment permanently installed in accordance with its listing, applicable codes and manufacturer’s instructions is permitted, however. 


We understand the challenges you may face in your role as a fire inspector when enforcing this provision.  The inspection of every balcony of every multifamily dwelling is an impractical enforcement task. Compliance through public education is more readily achievable. As an AHJ, you can provide written notification of these requirements to condominium associations, property management agencies, and others who are affected. When the potential danger posed by grills is understood, voluntary compliance is easier to obtain. Landlords can also include this prohibition in leases to ensure that tenants are aware of the restrictions. 


NFPA also offers safe grilling tips and other resources for grilling safety.  Here you will find a safe grilling tip sheet, grilling statistics infographic, a video with grilling safety tips, and also a video to show how to check your gas grill for leaks.  In addition, you can check out this recent blog highlighting other safety information regarding grilling. All important information for consumers and enforcers alike.  Who says grilling is only for the summer?  If you grill year-round you should stay safe year-round.


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Thanks for reading!

In just a few weeks, on June 20, NFPA members will convene in San Antonio, Texas, for the annual NFPA Technical Meeting to cap off the 2019 NFPA Conference & Expo. NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, is among several NFPA documents that will take center stage at the meeting. In a video released yesterday, NFPA's Brian O'Connor highlights three key aspects of the new standard, which is scheduled to come out in September. 


One key aspect of NFPA 855, for example, will be how it addresses the location of energy storage systems (ESS). "When energy storage systems are located in a remote location ... there will be less stringent requirements than if that energy storage system were located in a building with other uses," O'Connor says in the video. 


O'Connor further explains these three key aspects of the standard and more in an article titled "Juice Box," which appears in the May/June 2019 issue of NFPA Journal. Another NFPA document that will be subject to a vote at the 2019 Technical Meeting is NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®). Watch a similar video featuring NFPA's Derek Vigstol on key changes slated for the 2020 edition of the NEC here

Rio de Janeiro and Nowata County, Oklahoma—worlds away but not that far apart.  One a city of over six million people, the other, a rural county of less than ten thousand people northeast of Tulsa.  Two places, worlds apart, but ultimately caught in the same net: Under investment in safety and neglect of the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem.

As was reported recently, it was likely a faulty air conditioning unit that sparked the devastating fire in Brazil’s National Museum that destroyed objects “beyond value”—irreplaceable artifacts of thousands of years of Latin American history.  But before that spark, the continued neglect of maintenance and lack of investment in any fire safety systems enabled a catastrophe for the people of Brazil.            

Nowata County has not yet had its spark but officials there seem to be lying in wait for a rhyming tragedy, though here, the irreplaceables are people, not objects.  In March, county Sheriff Terry Sue Barnett made national headlines when she resigned in protest.  The county jail, which was under evacuation after elevated carbon monoxide levels sent four people to the hospital, is in such a state of disrepair that Sheriff Barnett felt she could not conscionably obey a judge’s order to return the inmates to the facility.  In her resignation letter, which was joined by a number of her colleagues, the sheriff provided a list of dangerous conditions faced by inmates and staff, including that the cause of the CO leak had not yet been identified, the fire alarm system does not work, there are exposed wires throughout the facility and reports of inmates receiving electric shocks in the showers.  

Hopefully, Sheriff Barnett stopped a tragedy in its tracks, but the inmates may yet be moved back into the facility despite the fact Nowata County has offered no money to address the glaring life safety risks.  

While both fires and acts of defiance like Sheriff Barnett’s attract media attention, the public has few tools to proactively assess how strong fire and safety protections are in their communities and little sustained visibility into where the next accidents might be waiting to happen.  NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem could be used to fill that gap.  The Ecosystem illustrates all of the interdependent components necessary for minimizing safety risks and preventing loss, injuries, and deaths from fire, electrical, and other hazards. This Ecosystem framework could help identify the policies and resources needed to support safety in a community.  And this framework could enable policymakers and safety advocates to gauge the performance of their community.    

The Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem gives us a tool to exercise foresight. It is now up to all of us to exercise it. For information about the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, please visit


NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code®, requires that “…the performance, location, and mounting of notification appliances used to initiate or direct evacuation or relocation of the occupants, or for providing information to occupants or staff, shall comply with the requirements of this chapter [Chapter 18].” The sound pressure level is required to be measured in the area required to be served by the system. In a similar manner, Chapter 14 requires measurement of sound pressure levels of audible appliances throughout the protected area.

In my recent NFPA Live I addressed sound and sound measurement and summarized the audible notification requirements for public mode signaling, private mode signaling, and sleeping areas. I discussed which types of dB meters are permitted to be used, what to measure and how sound pressure levels can be measured. I received this follow-up question from a member, I hope you find some value in it.

NFPA Live is an interactive video series in which members of NFPA staff address some of the most frequent topics they receive through the Member's Only Technical Question service. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this link. If you're not currently a member, join today!


This is KB1JOY. Welcome back for another installment of our Throwback Thursday blog!

As part of our National Electrical Safety Month coverage, the NFPA Research Library & Archives thought we would share a piece from the archives relating to Amateur Radio and introduce some of our readers to a popular hobby at the same time.

Amateur Radio enjoys a long and rich history. Over the years, Amateur Radio enthusiasts (or Hams) have made a number of significant contributions to their local communities and to the sciences. Today Amateur Radio (ham radio) is still a popular hobby that allows people to experiment with electronics and communications in a fun way.

“Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are frequencies allocated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.”

We hope you enjoy the following story and image!



ARRL_Home Radio_1922

From The NFPA Quarterly v.16, no.2, 1922:

The radio signaling apparatus in the home of Mr. Hiram Percy Maxim, Hartford, Conn. Mr. Maxim is president of the American Radio Relay League. Most amateur experimenters locate their station in their home, and inasmuch as they are unable to change the surroundings they must, to a certain extent at least, take things as they are. A careful study of the conditions will, however, often enable one to overcome and seeming handicap which may exist. This is just what Mr. Maxim has done. As a result, he has an efficient equipment without some of the unfortunate hazards which surround other amateur stations. Mr. Maxim made frequent grounds inside and outside of his home. He made at least twenty driven pipe grounds, running the ground conductor from the pipes to a water pipe outside of the foundation wall. Inside of the house, Mr. Maxim connected, electrically, all soil, gas, heating and other metal conductors by means of a copper bonding wire, and connecting this bonding wire to a water pipe, thus providing means for “draining” any static accumulation within his home.

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.

 The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.
 Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.




The 2019 technical meeting at the NFPA Conference & Expo is just around the corner, on June 20, and chief among the documents slated for review is the 2020 edition of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®). As NFPA Senior Electrical Content Specialist Derek Vigstol discusses in a video posted on NFPA's YouTube channel this week, a number of significant changes and reorganizations to the code are on tap for the coming year. 


One of the major proposed changes, for example, relates to GFCI protection. "One of the examples they gave at the first draft meeting, which was talked about extensively at the second draft meeting, was around a death that occurred from somebody who was electrocuted when making contact with the frame of a range in a kitchen," Vigstol says in the video. "So that led to the [proposed] expansion of GFCI protection to include 250-volt range receptacle outlets ... if it's within six feet of a sink."


Vigstol wrote about this and other proposed changes for the 2020 NEC in an article titled "Power Aid," which appears in the May/June 2019 issue of NFPA Journal. Read the full story online at

An unsprinklered room reaches flashover in less than two minutes.


If you have a fire in your home today you are more likely to die than you were in 1980. Home fire sprinklers can significantly cut fire risks and are the most critical technology available to stop a home fire from becoming deadly.


In recognition of Home Fire Sprinkler Week (May 19 – May 25), fire leaders, life safety professionals, and media gathered at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA to witness a powerful side-by-side live burn and fire sprinkler demonstration hosted by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative®, a project of NFPA® and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition® (HFSC). Seeing is believing. And so is smelling, feeling and hearing.


The first part of today’s demo illustrated how quickly fire ravages a room and its contents, while the second part showed the quick, lifesaving benefits of home fire sprinklers. The differences were stark.


During the burn the smoke alarm sounded six seconds after flames appeared. By one minute and fifty five seconds the room was fully engulfed. Quincy firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. In the sprinklered room, the story began in much the same way with the smoke alarm activating at the same time, but at 10 seconds the fire sprinkler began to douse the fire. Attendees witnessed two identical rooms with identical contents set on fire with very different outcomes.

Less than two minutes to escape a home is vastly different from the 15 minutes that people had to get out of a burning home back in 1980. In the past, rooms featured older style construction and furnishings that consisted of solid, larger dimension lumber that withstood fire longer than the unprotected lightweight manufactured materials present in homes now. Today’s lightweight construction and modern upholstered furniture burn faster and release twice as much heat compared to “ordinary” combustibles like wood, paper, wool and linen. Larger open spaces in residences are also exacerbating fires because flames have more opportunity to breathe and spread quickly.


Quincy firefighter demonstrates all is good, thanks to sprinklers, just 10 seconds after fire started.


U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,319,500 fires in 2017 which caused 3,400 civilian deaths. Roughly 80 percent of these fires occurred in the home - the very place people feel most safe. When sprinklers were present, the likelihood of dying in a home fire decreased by about 85 percent, and 97 percent of the time the fires were kept to the room of origin.


Sprinkler technology does not come at an exorbitant cost; installation in new construction runs, on average, $1.35 per sprinklered square foot. Yet, well-funded interest groups continue to generate misleading information to the public and home buyers. Given more than 100 years of sprinkler success, it is concerning that this technology is not in every occupancy being built today. We know better.


“We’re still facing obstacles for the installation of sprinklers in homes.” Dr. Denis Onieal, Assistant United States Fire Administrator said. “One of the reasons we are having Home Fire Sprinkler Week is to overcome those obstacles with education and information.”


“We know that sprinkler technology is our best bet for knocking down fire quickly. It is our best bet for reducing harm to people, property and first responders,” NFPA President Jim Pauley said. “We must mobilize and debunk the misleading information that some well-funded interest groups share about sprinkler technology.”


Massachusetts Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier asked the crowd to help foster informed discussions, “We can change the future face of fire and turn devastating fires into ho-hum events that don’t make the nightly news, if we build more homes with fire sprinklers. Ask for them when building a new home.”

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash

This week is the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative's (FSI) Home Fire Sprinkler Week. So it's a good time to highlight the requirements in NFPA 101 pertaining to the protection of one- and two-family dwellings, and the importance of these requirements.

According to data published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, fires in one- and two-family homes account for nearly half of all report fires in the United States. Between the years 2012 and 2016, more than 2,000 people were killed annually in fires in one- or two-family homes, accounting for nearly 80 percent of fire deaths in the United States during this time period.

Chapter 24 of NFPA 101 provides requirements for the design and protection of one- and two-family dwelling. Specifically, I will be focusing on fire sprinklers and smoke detection.

The Code requires all new one- and two-family homes to be sprinklered with an NFPA 13, NFPA 13D, or NFPA 13R system. According to FSI, fires are contained within the room of origin in 97 percent of fires in homes with sprinklers, and having a sprinkler system in a home reduces the risk of death by about 80 percent, compared to homes without fire sprinkler systems. The city of Scottsdale, Arizona adopted an ordinance requiring all new homes to be provided with sprinklers in 1986. During the first fifteen years that the ordinance was adopted there was not a single fatality in a sprinklered home.

In a January 2019 report published by the Foundation, it was found that in more than half of fatal home fires smoke alarms were either not present or failed to operate, and the presence of working smoke alarms in a home reduces the likelihood of death in a home fire by nearly 50 percent. Therefore, the presence of working smoke alarms in homes is an important factor to reducing home fire deaths.

NFPA 101 requires all new and existing homes to be provided with smoke alarms or smoke detection. Although the use of a fire alarm system with smoke detection is permitted, most home are provided with either single-station or multiple-station smoke alarms. All new homes are required to be provided with interconnected multiple-station smoke alarms, which will sound throughout the entire home upon activation of a single smoke alarm. The use of existing battery-operated single station smoke alarms is only permitted in existing homes. The Code requires the installation of both single-station and multiple-station smoke alarms to comply with NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

The use of synthetic materials in home construction and home furnishing, in combination with construction trends, including larger areas and open floor plans, have resulted in significantly reduced safe egress time from homes. Working smoke detection and fire sprinklers have been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of death in fires in homes.

To learn more about the Home Fire Sprinkler Week, including access to public videos, data sheets, and infographics, visit the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “FREE ACCESS.”

You are reading this blog so you must be concerned with electrical safety in the workplace. Did you submit a public input to NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® last year? Have you gone to the NFPA 70E website to see what happened to that public input? The public comment closing date has passed. Whether your public input resulted in a first revision or was not included in the standard, has anyone in the world submitted a public comment to re-address your input at the second draft meeting? Soon you will be able to see what the public had to say about the public inputs and the proposed changes that occurred during the first draft stage. 

There are 115 public comments submitted that will be addressed at the second draft meeting. A quick review of the distribution of submitted comments shows that Section 120.5 has received the most comments. Every comment will be addressed at the second draft meeting. NFPA meetings are open to the public which means you are invited whether or not you submitted a public input or public comment. The public is invited to Indianapolis, Indiana on July 16th-19th, 2019 to witness what happens at thesecond draft meeting. I look forward to seeing you in Indy.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on XchangeNext time: Operation of a light switch and the need for personal protective equipment.


Want to keep track of what is happening with the National Electrical Code® (NEC®)? Subscribe to the NEC Connect newsletter to stay informed of new content. The newsletter also includes NFPA 70E information such as my blogs.

Please Note: Any comments, suggested text changes, or technical issues related to NFPA Standards posted or raised in this communication are not submissions to the NFPA standards development process and therefore will not be considered by the technical committee(s) responsible for NFPA Standards development.  To learn how to participate in the NFPA standards development process and submit proposed text for consideration by the responsible technical committee(s), please go to for instructions.

Over the last couple of years, NFPA has been working on the best way to deliver a new kind of NPFA 70E® training. Training that doesn’t just tell you what is in the book but rather, training that gives attendees a first-hand look at what it's like to develop an electrical safety program. To this end, NFPA’s Developing an Electrical Safety Program Based on NFPA 70E® gives participants practice writing a program based on a fictional facility, Belstol University. It includes such ideas as, building the electrical safety committee out to see just who you want to have on that team and why; stepping through what principles your program must be based on and how you will measure up against them to ensure your program is working; and building out a procedure, performing a risk assessment and how to make a program successful. After all, you can have the best program around but if your employees don’t or won’t get behind the plan, it is doomed from the beginning.

First, a little about this class. It was developed out of a need expressed by facility managers groups, in particular, folks in the higher education realm. But this doesn’t mean the workshop is just for them. Hospital building operations staff have also been a big part of the attendees in this class because this is a 24/7/365 kind of job, as well as the facility management crowd.

So you may be asking … how do I write a program when I’m not intimately knowledgeable about the facility I’m building the program for? Well, there is some background info at the beginning of the day, and there is plenty of materials in the participant workbook, but to be honest, not a single person in the room has set foot on "this" college campus. At the same time, because we are NFPA and not a consultant in the world of building electrical safety programs, NFPA will not tell you what your program needs to look like for your facility. So the workshop is intended to play in the world of a fictional facility where questions needed to be answered in order to go through the full process of developing an actual electrical safety program for Belstol University.

electrical safety

Here’s what we came up with. For one, the activities still represent the process that it takes to develop a program in your own facility, and they help the attendees understand all the pieces that need to go into a program. The attendees also get practice in what it takes to come up with the principles, procedures, and the controls that a program is built on. But the activities are where the difference lies. We’ve structured the workshop in a way that challenges participants to think differently. Starting with the existing program, we want participants to see how a program can have holes in it and then understand why not having key components can lead to issues down the road. We are challenging attendees to build out their own idea(s) of what must be included in a program and to get in the habit of asking questions like: Why is this idea important; what does the idea bring to the table when we think of an electrical safety program; is the idea critical to the success of the program?

In a recent workshop, we challenged the group to think this way and the ensuing conversation was great. A comment was made during an activity on justifying energized work that replacing a ballast in a row of end-to-end fluorescent luminaires is justified because turning off the lights would impede the illumination requirement for a means of egress. Is it? We asked why. Why we are willing to expose an employee to such an electrical hazard? Is there a better way to do this? This one hit home particularly hard with me as I lost a friend last year to this very issue. We asked "what would you do if you lost power and the lights were out?" How do you maintain the egress lighting when that happens? The answer was: "Easy! That is what the backup emergency lights are for." They were okay with the “frog eyes” on the wall providing egress illumination when the power goes down, but when it’s a maintenance task we need to subject an employee to possible death to keep the lights on? There had to be a better way.

Needless to say, we came around on this one. It started a bigger discussion about how when you are performing energized work or writing a process for determining justification for energized work, we should start by thinking about what the backup plan is. What happens during an unplanned shutdown? What would you do with the patients in ICU if the power went down and the generator didn’t start? What would you do if the worker makes a mistake during justified energized work and causes an arc flash that destroys the electrical distribution to the ICU? Everyone thought they knew exactly what they would do in that situation. Protect the patient, get them to another wing, maybe another hospital, set up a temp ICU prior to starting work just in case you need to move them. All great ideas, but we asked ourselves, why can’t we move the patients first, so the work can be performed de-energized? Why isn’t this written into the safety plan? Hmmm, it kind of makes you think about some things, doesn’t it?

After the workshop was over, one of the attendees sent me an email who said he liked how the workshop had challenged a new way of thinking. This individual came into the workshop hoping to learn how to put some “meat on the bones” of their existing program, but afterward he realized, there was still work to be done to the "bones" of their program.

And this is what this workshop is meant to do, that is what we set out to accomplish with this program. Getting people to think, getting people to ask themselves the difficult questions and not take the easy way around the safest answer. Participants should walk away with questions, and while it seems counterintuitive to walk away feeling as though you just went on an incomplete journey, we want attendees to go back to their own facility and write the ending themselves. They need to finish the story using their own buildings, using their own electrical safety team, and using their own ESP. That is how we change the way an electrical safety program gets developed with one simple eight-hour workshop. That is how we change the world: one program at a time.

The next workshop is scheduled as a pre-conference educational event at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in San Antonio, TX on June 15th. There is limited seating in this one due to the workshop style of instruction. So if this type of workshop interests you, please check out our webpage for additional information and register before it fills up. This workshop works well for building operations and facility management folks as well as electrical construction contractors.

I can’t wait for you all to experience this new type of training from NFPA and we look forward to bringing you more options along these same lines. Until next time, stay safe and remember, it is National Electrical Safety Month, spread the word that it pays to be safe!

President Trump has declared the week of May 19-25, 2019 National EMS Week.  The theme for this year’s week is “EMS Strong: Beyond the Call.” Those words convey an incredibly powerful message about the EMS profession. EMS goes beyond the 911 call. Yes, EMS is about excellent patient care in an emergency, but it’s also so much more. It’s something that takes time, skill, practice, passion, and compassion far beyond the scope of a normal job. It’s a responsibility to care for your community and for your fellow responders that doesn’t end when your shift is over.  Every day they provide highly skilled medical care, but they do more, they are a social worker, a problem solver, a liaison to their community, and sometimes most importantly, the shoulder we cry on in our worst moments.   This year we are recognizing the continuously expanding breadth and scope of what they are providing and their importance as a valuable and equal responder group stakeholder.

Over the past 8 years, in concert with the changing face of healthcare, EMS has become an even more critical cog in the healthcare infrastructure of our communities.  Regardless of service type (fire based, third service, private, hospital based, non-profit, etc.) EMS is presently the #2 (law enforcement is #1) reason for 911 activation in the United States.  Today EMS providers are also part of specialized units like SWAT, technical rescue, and hazardous materials teams.  As a nation, we are currently in the process of growing and incorporating our EMS provider’s roles in public health and community based manner. This involves using EMS to divert people from needing to use medical facilities and providing medical care in a more streamlined fashion at the home.  These services will reduce the strain that growing numbers of hospitalizations are creating in our healthcare systems.  This may significantly reduce cost and wait times for services as EMS will assist in the maintenance of the patient care, not just in the acute and transport realms. EMS has always been considered the eyes and ears of the Physician, even the term paramedic means “next to the Physician” when you use the Latin routes of the word.  These community based healthcare programs or community paramedic programs, as they are commonly known, move EMS into the realm of other functions and Physician’s eyes and ears outside of the emergency world.  In 2019 we will release NFPA 451; Guide for Community Health Care Programs.  This document will help EMS Systems regardless of their service type with expanding their roles in the overall Health Care community.  States and authorities having jurisdiction, may also find the guide useful in the creation of scope of practice models and new regulations

In just the past two years the NFPA has focused on providing more informed support and service to our responder stakeholders as a whole.  Although many in law enforcement, 911 centers, and EMS aren’t necessarily as familiar with our efforts as the fire service is, the NFPA strives to make all responder’s safer and unified and has done so for many years.  In just the last two we’ve increased our non-fire based EMS participation in technical committees by a factor of 10.  In 2018 we released two new groundbreaking standards with the participation of the entire EMS community.  Those were NFPA 2400; Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations and NFPA 3000tm; Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program.

For EMS week 2019, The NFPA will post links to our different tools and resources, these provide information and knowledge that will help our EMS systems and providers.  Each day of EMS has a theme and below are each day’s theme and resources the NFPA provides that fit that theme:

MondayEMS Education Day Check out our free Alternative Vehicle Safety Training for EMS Personnel and use your 30% discount for the NFPA 3000tm Active Shooter Hostile Event Response Program, Plan, Respond, Recover badging program!

Tuesday - EMS Safety Day – Create a free account and view safety standards that can help keep you safe in your job every day like NFPA 1999, NFPA 1500, and NFPA 3000tm

Wednesday - EMS for Children day – A little known fact is that the facility design and safety requirements for acute care pediatric centers are found in NFPA 99, create a free account and check it out today!

Thursday - Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed) – Our nation’s fire and EMS responders are key cogs in helping educate our communities.  The NFPA supports these critical efforts in our community healthcare and community risk reduction standards and guides. Separately, with the recommendations in  NFPA 3000tm, we are seeing more and more communities teach “Stop the Bleed” and have seen bleeding control kits spreading into the emergency planning for occupancies such as schools and airports (the picture I sent is from Nashville airport).

FridayEMS Recognition Day – Today we celebrate you! Our nations EMS Providers no matter your method of service (volunteer, private, fire based, etc.) we thank you for what you do for our communities and each other every day.  The NFPA also appreciates the efforts you make to improve and increase standards, your participation on technical committees, and you inputs and comments, are what drives our standards development process. (I recommend using the group pic with me in it)

Thank you for all that you do for our communities and for each other.  The efforts of our EMS responders, in my opinion, are the backbone of what make our communities strong.  The continued growth of the EMS role, the collaboration with other responder partners and Health Care community, and working with us at the NFPA to develop standards in order to support the profession is how we at the NFPA believe we support making EMS strong and we are stronger together at the call and beyond the call.



On May 12, Atlanta firefighter Sgt. Darrow Harden lost one leg and had his other mangled when he was struck by a vehicle stepping out of his fire truck to assist at a roadside crash. The accident, which happened along Interstate 85 in Atlanta, occurred when the driver of the Pontiac G5 lost control of the vehicle and it barreled into Harden and the fire truck, the fire department said in a statement.


Accidents like this are not uncommon. Just two months prior, an off-duty Colorado firefighter was sent to the hospital with serious injuries after he was hit by a car responding to a roadside incident on Interstate 70.


While responder roadside injuries and fatalities have long been an issue, these incidents seem to be more common than ever as drivers become increasingly distracted by their electronic devices, John Montes writes in his Responder Column in the May/June NFPA Journal. At least 10 firefighters were struck and killed by vehicles in 2017, a big uptick from historical averages, according to NFPA data.


In Montes’s column, he lays out his own experiences with roadside close calls, and why there should be a renewed effort to train members on how to safely navigate responses on busy roads. With drivers distracted more than ever, roadside safety needs to become a higher priority for all responders, Montes writes.


Read more in the responder column in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.

The electrical world is changing, are you keeping up?

As demand for high-performance smart buildings increases, the solutions needed to support that demand are evolving.  NFPA and our community of experienced professionals are working hard to make sure we educate the world on what is changing and how to safely and efficiently navigate these changes.

One of the ways we are doing this for the electrical industry is through our FREE ExpoPlus Electrical Experience in San Antonio from June 17-20, 2019. Come join us at our interactive expo where you’ll get hands-on experience with products from Cisco Systems, Eaton, Milwaukee Electric Tools, Oberon, and more. Check out our Emerging Technology Showcase, view in-depth product displays and participate in an immersive virtual reality tour of the building of tomorrow.

As an added bonus, part of this free show includes our ExpoPlus Education Sessions. Learn from professionals about the costs of shortcuts to safety and get updates on the NEC 2020 and what’s changed from the last edition. Are you interested in learning more about developing an electrical safety program? Then you won't want to miss our one-day "Developing an Electrical Safety Program Based on NFPA 70E" classroom training right here in San Antonio.

Want to get even more out of NFPA’s Conference & Expo? Purchase our All Access pass and experience everything that the conference has to offer. Over 140 education sessions covering code requirements and safety best practices.  

Make sure you are up to date; don’t get caught falling behind. Let NFPA help you take that next step forward in your career.  Join us in June! Register today.

May is National Electrical Safety Month and the theme this year is “Electrical Safety During Natural Disasters.” While this event is sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi), still so much of what we do here at NFPA is closely aligned with the mission of this campaign. We aim every day to keep everyone safe from electrical hazards during a natural disaster and all other times of the year.


Electrical safety during a natural disaster is often the last thing on the mind of those who are watching their entire lives floating away in flood waters. Often in this situation emotions are on high and the concern is with preserving and saving items within a home that represent far more than just physical objects. Think about how many items you might have in storage that hold a sort of sentimental value. Items that if lost in a flood would be devastating to give up. Personally, I can think of a few boxes that live in my basement that are 100% irreplaceable.


But what would I do if I suddenly found my basement full of water from a storm? Would I attempt to rescue the precious memories stored within those boxes? Are there any dangers to attempting such a daring rescue? Unfortunately, I would have to ride this one out. During a flood, there are often times where water will rise to above the receptacle height and can become energized. Combined with the fact that underneath this watery intruder lays numerous paths that provide a way for current to get back to the source. Flooded basements can often become a potential killer.


Entering flood waters in a basement for any reason can be fatal, but there are a few precautions that you can take to ensure that you don’t find yourself wading through water that you might never return from.


First, if you know the possibility of a flood exists or that an upcoming storm presents strong wind and lightning potential, it is a good idea to turn off all non-essential circuits. However, making the call on what is considered “essential” or not can be tough if you don’t know the ins and outs of how your house is wired. Therefore, many recommend turning off the main disconnect to the home to prevent damage to the wiring system that might occur due to line surges and high voltage crossovers. This also de-energizes any equipment that could lead to an electrical hazard if flooding occurs. If there is a back-up generator installed for the home, turning it off as well can help prevent electrified flood waters.


Second, if at all possible, move precious or important items to “higher ground.” If you know that a big storm is coming and the possibility of a flooded home is real, move your important items to an upper level of the home. This way you are not tempted to forge your way through potentially hazardous flood waters to save your things. In past flood disasters, there have been many instances where folks have been injured due to electrified water; being prepared for this kind of event can keep you from adding to the statistics.


Third, It is also important to ensure that all safety devices such as GFCI and surge protective devices are in good working order. The manufacturers of these items will spell out how to test and maintain this equipment. Keep in mind that most manufacturers have recommendations for regular testing and maintenance to make sure these devices will function when needed. So before putting your life on the line or assuming that your home theater is protected by that surge protection device, verify that these devices are in good working order by following the recommended testing procedure.


Lastly, DO NOT re-energize any electrical equipment that has been submerged in flood waters. It is impossible to know the extent of the damage without having a competent individual such as an electrician or inspector evaluate the equipment prior to turning it back on. Flood waters usually consist of more than just water and even though equipment might be completely dry, there is no telling what else could have been left behind. Often equipment that has been submerged in a flooded home will just need to be replaced. Some equipment might be able to be refurbished, however when you weigh the cost of refurbishing vs replacing, it is usually more cost effective and quicker to replace the damaged item.


These are just some high level items to help keep us all safe this storm season. While many of you are already on NFPA Xchange and regularly consume safety-related content like this, we all have family and friends who might have no idea what to do in a storm to protect their belongings and stay clear from danger zones that can be present after disaster strikes. Please share this blog and additional information that can be found on the NFPA Emergency Preparedness website. Until next time, be safe!

In March 2018, a fire on the set of the movie "Motherless Brooklyn," in Harlem, New York City, left one firefighter dead. (Newscom) 

Last week, a fire in the upstate New York town of Ellenville destroyed a car dealership where filming of an HBO miniseries staring Mark Ruffalo was taking place. The mayor of the town placed blame for the blaze squarely on the filming activity, according to a local newspaper


"They made it into a 1950s-1960s dealership, and something they did there caused the fire," he told the paper. Later articles have indicated an electrical problem sparked the fire but didn't elaborate on whether the dealership's electrical system was to blame or a piece of equipment brought in by the production company. No injuries were reported. 


The incident coincidentally occurred the same week an article I wrote for the May/June issue of NFPA Journal on fire and life safety on movie and television sets came out. The piece, "Ready for 'action!'?," details a fatal movie set fire that occurred in Harlem in March 2018, as well as the resources that currently exist to protect sets from fire and other life safety hazards. These resources include documents like NFPA 140, Standard on Motion Picture and Television Production Studio Soundstages, Approved Production Facilities, and Production Locations, and a training program developed by CAL FIRE. 


Read the full story and more from the new May/June issue at, and listen to a podcast about the article here

May is National Electrical Safety Month and we are excited to have the opportunity to share some of the safety messaging NFPA has distributed throughout its lengthy history.



This week we are have a classic public service advertisement from 1964 warning the public to pay attention to the electrical.  Sparky’s message may be and old one, but it is still a valid and important one.

According to NFPA’s latest Home Electrical Fires report, “Aging electrical systems in older homes can be a source of arc faults, either through normal wear and tear or because the systems cannot accommodate the greater demands of modern appliances. Circuits can also be overloaded by providing electricity to too many appliances, often through power cords.


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives. 

The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. 

Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public. 

Photo Credit:
By Bill Dickinson (websites [2][3]) - [1], CC BY-SA 3.0,


Generally when people walk into a building, they assume that the building will provide a reasonable degree of life safety. NFPA 101, along with other codes and standards, provide the road map to achieving the reasonable degree of life safety that is generally expected by the public. However, unless enforced, codes and standards do not have the ability to protect building occupants. The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) plays a vital role in enforcement of the code for the entire lifetime of a building; during construction, occupancy, and rehabilitation.


The term AHJ can apply to many different people and groups. A single building may have multiple AHJs which can include federal, state, and local agencies such as a fire marshal, electrical inspector, or health department inspector. In addition to the public sector, an AHJ might also include an insurance company, listing agency, corporate safety officer, and even a property owner. The AHJ shall determine whether the provisions of this Code are met.


The role of the AHJ is to determine if a building, building component, or design meet the provisions and intent of the code. This can be a challenging task as the code has a very broad application including new and existing buildings and structures that can range from an existing single-family home to a new high-rise hospital. Paired with rapidly changing technology, innovation, operational needs, and design trends, it is not feasible to have the code address every possible design scenario. As a result, often times an AHJ is required to use the code requirements and their professional judgement on whether a design is code-compliant or meets the intent of the code.


In addition to determining compliance with the prescription requirements, there are many provisions which are left to discretion of the AHJ. For example, a hazardous area is defined as an area in a building that poses a degree of hazard greater than the general occupancy. The ambiguity to this definition is intentional to give the AHJ the ability to determine on a case-by-case basis if an area should be classified and protected as a hazardous area. While a storage room larger than 100 sq. ft. storing combustible materials would be required to be classified as a hazardous area in a new health care occupancy, the same storage room in an assembly occupancy would only be required to be classified as a hazardous area where the quantity of combustible supplies is “deemed hazardous” by the AHJ.


6.4.5 Modification Requirements for Existing Buildings. Where it is evident that a reasonable degree of safety is provided, the requirements for existing buildings shall be permitted to be modified if their application would be impractical in the judgement of the authority having jurisdiction.


The code also provides the AHJ with a degree of flexibility when applying the provisions of the code to existing buildings where “a reasonable degree of safety is provided.” It is not the intent of this section to make the requirements of NFPA 101 not applicable to existing buildings, but there are many times in existing buildings where modifications to the building would require significant effort and expense for minimal life safety benefit. For example, an AHJ may permit an existing non-compliant travel distance in an existing building that has been retrofitted with sprinklers, if they determine that a reasonable degree of life safety is provided.


Ultimately, the determination if a building, new or existing, is safe for occupancy is up to the AHJ. As NFPA 101 (4.6.9) indicates, a building shall be occupied only where “no serious life safety hazard exists as judged by the authority having jurisdiction.” It is also important to remember that each potential AHJ may have different goals and thresholds that they consider an acceptable level of life safety. For example, your local fire marshal may have a different goal than your insurance company, and so when enforcing the same code may have varying thresholds of what they consider acceptable.


To uphold the level of life safety that the public expects, it is important during the entire lifetime of a building, to understand the role and responsibilities of the AHJ, and their enforcement of the code in the interest of building occupant safety.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “FREE ACCESS.”


Energy storage systems, community risk reduction, and important changes to the 2020 editions of NFPA 25 and the NEC—those are just some of the highlights of the new May/June NFPA Journal, which previews the upcoming NFPA Conference & Expo®, scheduled for June 17–20 in San Antonio, Texas.


Leading our feature package in this issue is a profile of Charles Hood, chief of the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD). Since arriving in San Antonio 12 years ago, Hood has overseen a dramatic transformation of the department that has put it among the best, most forward-looking fire departments in the country. Jesse Roman, Journal associate editor, offers an up-close look at Hood, his management style, and his vision for the department.


Our features also include a big-picture look at the theme of smart technology and how it will be addressed at the conference—Angelo Verzoni, Journal staff writer, takes a broad look at these emerging technologies and connects the dots on their myriad applications. Our feature on community risk reduction, or CRR, introduces readers to the important efforts underway at NFPA to develop CRR tools, and previews the variety of education sessions that will focus on this emerging concept.


Our code-related features include updates on the 2020 editions of the National Electrical Code® and NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. There’s also a story introducing readers to an important new standard: NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, or ESS, a topic that will be addressed in numerous education sessions and other events at the upcoming conference.


Our May/June departments include a “Perspectives” interview with Kris Hauschildt, whose parents died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in a North Carolina hotel. Hauschildt, an ed session presenter in San Antonio, is on a mission to raise awareness about carbon monoxide threats, and is working with a committee of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, to include new requirements for CO detectors in existing hotels. Our lead “Dispatches” story is a fascinating look at fire hazards on the sets of movies and television productions.


The issue also includes complete listings for product exhibitors at the upcoming conference & expo.


The May/June NFPA Journal is out now in print, as well as online at Mobile warriors can download our free apps for Apple and Android devices at


Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend includes lots of celebrations featuring cookouts and barbeques. But it also means the increased risk of grilling fires, as May is among the leading months for home grilling fires. The peak months for grilling fires are July, followed by June, May, and August.


On average each year (between 2013 and 2017), U.S. fire departments responded to 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques, including an average of 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $123 million in direct property damage, on average each year.


Leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks, and having a flammable object too close to the grill. Unattended cooking is a major cause of all types of cooking fires, including grill fires. Leaks and breaks are a particular problem with gas grills.


NFPA offers these tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season:

  • For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead. (Watch NFPA’s video on how to check for leaks.)
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
  • If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you a finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.


As the long weekend fast-approaches, take the time to inspect and test your grill, and make sure you have a safe location for using it!

The following nine proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 51B, Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work;  NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®; NFPA 1992, Standard on Liquid Splash-Protective Ensembles and Clothing for Hazardous Materials Emergencies; NFPA 1994, Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to Hazardous Materials Emergencies and CBRN Terrorism Incidents; and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 51B, proposed TIA No. 1456, referencing of the 2019 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1405, referencing and of the 2018 and proposed 2021 editions, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1992, proposed TIA No. 1428, referencing of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/18/2019
  • NFPA 1992, proposed TIA No. 1429, referencing and of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/18/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1431, referencing and A. of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1432, referencing,,,,,,,,, 8.20.11,,, and of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1433, referencing various sections in Chapters 6, 7. and 8 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1434, referencing,,,,,,, and of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1457, referencing and of the 2018 and 2021 editions, closing date: 6/20/2019

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the closing dates listed. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Some significant changes are on the horizon for NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code. Although the changes that have been proposed so far in the code development process are not groundbreaking, they are worthy of your attention if the work you do is impacted by the requirements in this code.

One big change is still to be decided at an upcoming event. At the 2019 NFPA Technical Meeting in June, the 2020 edition of NFPA 58 will be up for any Certified Amending Motions (CAMs). This will be the second-to-last chance for any changes to be made to the document before it is issued by the NFPA Standards Council.

There is only one CAM on NFPA 58 and it’s on purging pipe systems to atmosphere. At the first draft meeting, the committee elected to change the procedures from what they are currently in the 2017 edition to the first draft language. This new language would require pipe purging of systems designed for 125 psig or less to be done in accordance with the requirements in NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code, and any systems of greater than 125 psig to be purged in accordance with NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems. The committee, however, at second draft changed the language to state that regardless of system operating pressure, the procedures of NFPA 54 must be followed. The CAM is looking to reject this change and send the document back to the same first draft language. What happens to the document next is up to the general body at the Technical Meeting.

There are a number of other changes that have happened to NFPA 58 that are almost finalized and are covered below. While none of these changes are groundbreaking for NFPA 58, they are significant enough to call out.

  • Chapter 12, which covers over-the-road motor vehicles fueled by LP-Gas, has been reorganized and revised to be more user-friendly.
  • Chapter 15, which covers operations and maintenance (O&M), has also been revised to be more user-friendly. Specifically, Chapter 15 has been revised to call out more O&M requirements in NFPA 58 rather than installation requirements as in previous editions. More importantly, Chapter 15 now excludes pipelines under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Transportation, as their O&M requirements are more stringent than the requirements of NFPA 58.
  • LP-Gas cylinders that are equipped with CGA 791 and CGA 793 connections are now required to have their valve face seal inspected before filling can occur, because it is possible that over time the face seal can become damaged from exposure to the weather or misuse. If any defects are found, then the cylinder is not permitted to be filled.
  • Fire extinguisher requirements in the 2017 edition were reorganized to be centrally located in Chapter 4. The 2020 edition has further revised the fire extinguisher requirements in order to bring them more in line with industry standards such as NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. Doing so allows the user to select the most appropriate fire extinguisher for the type of fire they are anticipating to fight.

These changes are only some, but not all, of the upcoming revisions to the 2020 edition of NFPA 58. For a more detailed list, visit for a revisions fact sheet and information on how to get involved in the next cycle of NFPA 58.  

Standpipe systems are fixed piping systems with associated equipment that transports water from a reliable water supply to designated areas of buildings. Such systems are typically provided in tall and large-area buildings. 

These systems can significantly improve the efficiency of manual fire-fighting operations by eliminating the need for long and cumbersome hose lays from fire apparatus to a fire. Even in buildings that are protected by automatic sprinklers, standpipe systems can play an important role in building fire safety by serving as a backup for, and complement to, sprinklers.standpipe


So, how does this impact you as a fire inspector? As an inspector utilizing NFPA 1 you need to know three things about standpipes when determining if a building and system is compliant with the Code:  (1) Where are standpipes required, (2) What type of system is required and (3) Has the system been properly inspected, tested, and maintained.


Where are standpipes required?

The Code required standpipe systems, designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 14, in new buildings that meet any of the following conditions:

(1) More than three stories above grade where the building is protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system,

(2) More than two stories above grade where the building is not protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system,

(3) More than 50 ft (15 m) above grade and containing intermediate stories or balconies

(4) More than one story below grade

(5) More than 20 ft (6.1 m) below grade


In addition, standpipes are required in high-rise buildings and some stage areas in assembly occupancies.  Some occupancies also mandate the presence of standpipes, such as detention and correctional occupancies, airport terminals and piers, at certain thresholds.  As a fire inspector, you will be utilizing a number of codes and standards when inspecting buildings.  You might find that the standpipe thresholds vary in the codes. NFPA 1 might mandate the presence of standpipes where NFPA 101 does not, for example.  This is because the scope of a fire code, life safety code, and building code differ.  When enforcing the provisions for standpipes, the most restrictive provisions of the applicable codes apply.


Did you know that there are instances where the AHJ can permit the removal of existing occupant-use hose lines? Where (1) NFPA 1 does not require their installation, (2) The current building code does not require their installation, AND (3) The AHJ determines that the occupant-use hose line will not be utilized by trained personnel or the fire department, existing occupant-use hose lines can be removed per the AHJ.  This was added to the Code to place emphasis on the preference for untrained building occupants to evacuate rather than attempt to extinguish a fire using hose lines.


What type of system is required?

In addition to the Code mandating where standpipes are required it will also specify what class of system is required for a particular installation.  Standpipe systems are designated as Class I, Class II, and Class III.  Note that sprinkler systems with hose connections are not necessarily considered to be standpipe systems. Such systems are often regarded simply as sprinkler systems. The design of a combined system is similar to any other Class I or Class III system, except that the water supply and pipe sizes may be larger to accommodate the added sprinkler system demand.  The process of designing a standpipe system begins with determining the intended use, that is, whether it is for (1) full-scale fire fighting, (2) first-aid fire fighting, or (3) both. These three uses correspond with the three classes of standpipe systems. Most aspects of system design, such as the required water supply, layout, and system components, are also affected or dictated by the class of system.


Let’s look at a Class I system, as an example:  A Class I system provides 2½ in. (65 mm) hose connections at designated locations in a building for use by the fire department. A Class I system is typically required in buildings that have more than three stories above or below grade because of the time and difficulty involved in laying hose from fire apparatus directly to remote floors.  For these reasons, Class I standpipes are the required system in high-rise buildings.


Requirements for inspection, testing, and maintenance of standpipes systems

Finally, a standpipe system installed as required by NFPA 1 must be properly maintained to provide at least the same level of performance and protection as designed.  Specific details for inspection, testing, and maintenance of the system are found in NFPA 25. The owner is responsible for maintaining the standpipe system and keeping it in good working condition.


Are you required to inspect buildings with standpipe systems?  What types of buildings in your jurisdiction have standpipe systems?  Have you sited compliance issues?  Are there any resources you find could help you do your job better when enforcing standpipe or other building systems?  Comment below and join the discussion!


Don't miss another #FireCodeFridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA

Thanks for reading!

One hundred years ago, a previously held belief that a dry-cell battery was practically non-hazardous and considered suitable for installing in dusty locations was disproved. During experimental work using six regular commercial type dry-cell batteries connected to each other in series, the batteries were inadvertently short-circuited and a peculiar fire hazard was discovered

Burning insulation on wiring of dry batteries after batteries were short-circuited.



From The NFPA Quarterly v.13, no.2, 1919:

There are three distinct phase of fire hazard introduced by dry-cell batteries of this type, any one of which might result in fire:

  • Are developed between carbon and wire or hot wire or molten copper igniting dust, inflammable vapors or combustible material;
  • Ignition of insulation;
  • Ignition of vapor due to volatilization of sealing compound by arc or heated wire.

The following is suggested:

  • Immediate inspection of all dry battery installations to make sure that all connections are in good condition and tightly secured;
  • Immediately remove such installations from locations where inflammable dust or vapors are or may be present;
  • Where facilities are available, top of carbon electrode might be covered with compound used for sealing batteries, leaving only copper connection or binding post exposed;
  • Enclosures containing dry cells of this type should be of metal, or have interior protected with asbestos.

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.

 The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.
 Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances;  NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code; and NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting; are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 13, proposed TIA No. 1415, referencing Table 22.5, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 24, proposed TIA No. 1425, referencing 2.3.1, 2.3.2, and Table, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 400, proposed TIA No. 1443, referencing Table 5.3.7, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1445, referencing,,,, and, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1446, referencing various paragraphs in Chapters 11 and 12, various new Annex A material, and B.1.2.4, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1447, referencing  A., proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1448, referencing A. and A.9.1.6, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1449, referencing Table 11.3.9(c), thru, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1450, referencing  various sections in Chapters 1, 4, 6, 7, 11, and Annex A, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the closing dates listed. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.


In my recent NFPA® Live I discussed the selection and location of audible fire alarm appliances to help meet the audibility requirements of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, 2019 edition. Participants learned the how to determine the minimum sound pressure level for the fire alarm system in a given space and how to account for the effects of hearing distance, wall configuration, and reverberation in the selection and location of audible notification appliances.

I received this follow-up question from a member. I hope you find some value in it.


NFPA Live is an interactive video series in which members of NFPA staff address some of the most frequent topics they receive through the Member's Only Technical Question service. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this linkIf you're not currently a member, join today!

Despite advances in various areas of science and technology, the act of firefighting is inherently dangerous. Over the past 10 years, an average of 81 U.S. firefighters have died each year in the line of duty, with nearly 30,000 injured during that span.


Dangers on the fire ground are a constant challenge. After being notified of an incident and dispatched, the incident commander and emergency responders make rapid fire ground decisions, based on the best information that they have at the time. They work to control the fire and ensure the life safety of building occupants; however, the tactics and strategies implemented rely on the following:


  1. The experience and judgement of the incident commander; 
  2. available, current, and accurate data (visually observed or determined from the operating environment); 
  3. and the standard operating procedures/guidelines of the responding fire department.


Situational awareness on the fire ground is paramount. Since the conditions of the fire scene are continually changing, it is common to lack some of the critical information that is needed to make optimal decisions about the stability of the structure, the health and status of firefighters, the location of victims, changing conditions on the fire scene, etc.

But what if emergency responders could be better informed via more accurate data? Can we improve firefighter safety by leveraging data captured thought sensor technologies?


To address this question, a research project led by the University of New Mexico in collaboration with the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, is exploring novel use cases for sensors that will improve the safety of firefighters on the fire ground. Funding for this effort is through a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation.


The goal of this research project is to make fundamental technical and algorithmic advances courtesy of connected and smart fire fighting technology. The proposed system will augment existing systems used by first responders by adding hardware and software components to the fire fighters’ existing equipment. This initiative will provide predictive modeling capabilities to support incident command evaluation of best approaches, based on experience and available resources.


This project addresses the following five key topic areas:


  1. Fire ground PAN/LAN Data Communication System. Establishment of a practical Personal-Area Network (PAN) using a PPE Sensor Network, and a Local-Area-Network (LAN) involving a Fire ground Local Area Data Communication System. The backbone of this project will consist of a mesh structure for communications that, based on the experimental approach, will exist in Wifi communications and can be extended to other communication methods. This will provide an important baseline structure that supports other key topic areas.
  2. Fire Ground Sound Discrimination. The capture and identification of critical fire ground sounds (e.g., PASS device or “Mayday”), with discrimination and filtering of these sounds from other fire ground noise will be considered. Algorithms will help support machine learning and help to implement specific fire ground actions.
  3. Prediction of Firefighter Exhaustion. Speech features will be included, identified, captured, and processed through the central computer in order to determine the level of stress and exhaustion of firefighters. This combined with respiration estimation procedures, will be used for actionable measures, such as assessing the remaining quantities of SCBA air or to supplement other physiological indicators.
  4. Human/Object/Event Recognition with Thermal Imaging. Algorithms will identify specific target entities using thermal imaging. With support from machine learning, the recognized objects will be transformed into knowledge-based actions for firefighters.
  5. Navigational Image Search Techniques. The imaging techniques within supported by machine learning will also be adapted to support firefighter locator navigation. This will ultimately benefit key fire ground activities dependent on locator technology such as search and rescue or RIT.


The proposed smart mesh communications structure combined with situational awareness will provide enhanced location and search capabilities. The communications backbone, in addition to the voice channel, will be enhanced and extended to enable increased data flow from various sensors collected locally but not yet fully integrated into the command infrastructure.


This project is on schedule to be completed in 2019, and we are looking forward to enabling new technology that supports firefighter situational awareness and ultimately improves the safety of our first responders.

At its April 2019 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs). The following six TIAs on NFPA NFPA 31, NFPA 58, NFPA 130, NFPA 291, and NFPA 1994 were issued by the Council on April 5, 2019:

  • NFPA 31, TIA 16-2, referencing and, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 58, TIA 17-3, referencing 6.4.3, 2017 edition
  • NFPA 130, TIA 17-2, referencing A., 2017 edition
  • NFPA 291, TIA 19-2, referencing Table 4.10.1(b), 2019 edition
  • NFPA 1994, TIA 18-13, referencing Table 5.3.2(a),,,,,,,,, 8.20, and 8.34(new), 2018 edition
  • NFPA 1994, TIA 18-14, referencing, 8.29.5, and, 2018 edition

Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA Standard processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards. They have not gone through the entire standards development process of being published in a First Draft Report and Second Draft Report for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the Standard. A TIA automatically becomes a public input for the next edition of the Standard, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process. TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the Standard after being issued by the Standards Council.

While I prepare for the second draft meeting of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, I also begin to prepare for the next edition of the handbook. I review the questions received over the three year revision cycle to determine what needs to be further explained to help NFPA 70E users increase electrical safety at their company. Questions are varied but there have been three main recurring themes. In honor of National Electrical Safety Month this May, I thought I would go over those with you. The first is; does personal protective equipment (PPE) have to be used to perform this task? Second is; is this employee qualified to do this task? The third is; how is a risk assessment performed? The first two themes are not technical questions. It is expected that I will provide a definitive answer to remove the need for a decision by the questioner. The third theme although more technical is not addressed by NFPA 70E. There are hundreds of valid methods of performing a shock and arc flash risk assessment for the thousands of tasks that could be conducted on the millions of pieces of equipment available. 

So what is the most frequently asked question? It is whether PPE is or is not necessary when operating a circuit breaker. To those reading this; NFPA staff cannot make a determination of conditions that require a visit to the facility. I am not able answer the question if PPE is not necessary for any task that you permit to be conducted as justified energized work. (Which begs the question; is energized work justified?) You are the one who does the required risk assessments for the tasks conducted on your equipment. Your risk assessment determines the need for PPE for any task an employee is scheduled to do. However, my answers to this question attempt to provide some education to those asking the question. This typical covers the broad application of NFPA 70E and refers to sections within Article 130.

The first thing is that circuit breakers are used in many pieces of equipment and the operation of a circuit breaker varies greatly with each application. A blanket statement regarding the need for PPE when operating a circuit breaker is not possible. Also, NFPA staff does not determine that the manual operation of any specific breaker in any specific equipment is acceptable. Which leads to a second point. The permission to operate equipment exists if the equipment is under normal operating conditions. I have addressed this several times. Refer to my blogs: The things needed before normal operation is consider safe (PART 1), the things needed before normal operation is consider safe (PART 2), normal operation and you, and is your equipment properly installed. If the equipment is under a normal operating conditions and is being operated properly, PPE is typically not necessary to perform the task. It is your risk assessment that determines that the equipment meets these requirements. It is not something that NFPA staff is able to do for you.

The next point is the requirement that equipment must be placed into an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) whenever an employee is within the limited approach boundary or is interacting with the equipment in a manner that increases the likelihood of an injury even if energized parts are not exposed. Energized parts must be exposed in order for there to be a limited approach boundary. Your risk assessment determines this. If the qualified employee will be within the restricted approach (or arc-flash) boundary then appropriate PPE is necessary. If the equipment is not under normal operating conditions, there typically will be an increased likelihood of injury. Operation of the equipment in such a state puts an employee at risk of injury. Your risk assessment may also determine that even if the equipment is under normal operating conditions that opening the circuit breaker raises the risk of an incident above a level that is acceptable to you. Your risk assessment would therefore identify the PPE necessary to perform the task.

Many still want an answer to the question; is PPE necessary to operate a circuit breaker? As stated above, I am not at your facility. I must consider the worst case situation where your equipment is not properly installed, is not properly maintained, and is used beyond the manufacturer’s requirements. Equipment covers are missing, equipment doors are open, the listing of the equipment is violated, and the equipment is exhibiting signs of impending failure. I will ponder that your employee is not properly trained even if you consider them to be qualified or to be an unqualified worker with proper training for the task. I will accept that you have no documented electrical safety program or procedures. I will assume that you and your contract employer have not discussed electrical safety issues. I will contemplate that the equipment is not being operated properly. I will not take your word that any of my assumptions are incorrect to provide you a definitive answer. I will only provide one answer in order to ensure protection of your employee. That answer is; yes, PPE is necessary for every task you authorize an employee to perform, including operating a circuit breaker or using a switch to turn a light on in an office. If you want a different answer train your employees and perform risk assessments.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange

Want to keep track of what is happening with the National Electrical Code® (NEC®)? Subscribe to the NEC Connect newsletter to stay informed of new content. The newsletter also includes NFPA 70E information such as my blogs.

Next time: Second Draft Meeting for NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

Please Note: Any comments, suggested text changes, or technical issues related to NFPA Standards posted or raised in this communication are not submissions to the NFPA standards development process and therefore will not be considered by the technical committee(s) responsible for NFPA Standards development.  To learn how to participate in the NFPA standards development process and submit proposed text for consideration by the responsible technical committee(s), please go to for instructions.

One year ago this week, NFPA released NFPA 3000TM (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program – the world’s first guidance to help communities establish unified mass casualty preparedness, response, and recovery plans.

The impetus behind the development of this standard was the same disgust that we all felt this week when we heard that even more carnage had unfolded in California and North Carolina. Yet, with each horrifying incident, many still ask, “When will the insanity stop? What can we do to end these senseless events? Is anyone working on this? Am I becoming numb to these unforgivable incidents?”

The most important answer to the above is yes, people are working to effect change. BUT we can do much more to prepare cities, towns, campuses, and the many people it takes to safely manage these communities. In fact, we need to do a lot more. We need more people recognizing they can’t fight this fight alone. We need more people engaging with key stakeholders to define, communicate, and practice the steps outlined in NFPA 3000. We need more policymakers supporting legislation so that authorities have the manpower, money, and resources to make a difference. And we need the public to know what steps they can take to better protect themselves and loved ones.

Many organizations and outlets recognized this past year that they needed to learn more and share more about ASHER strategies. NFPA received requests from the media, industry influencers, first responders, school officials, emergency managers, members of Congress, state legislators, security professionals, facility managers, healthcare sources, and building security contacts who wanted to learn more about the standard. Engaging audiences via news coverage, webinars, podcast, trade articles, conference sessions, collaborations, and discussions was extremely important in year one of NFPA 3000. I can say with great confidence that this standard is serving as a springboard for different jurisdictions and authorities to holistically plan, react to, and survive man-made catastrophes.

One of the most memorable efforts this past year was a trio of events encouraged by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Three filled-to-capacity school active shooter symposiums were co-hosted by the state fire marshal and NFPA, just as the Baker administration was lobbying for $72 million in funding for hostile event and recovery resources. The symposiums brought together law enforcement, fire, EMS, school leaders, and policymakers to ensure that officials in different communities throughout the Commonwealth were proactively working together on ASHER strategies. Representatives from more than half of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns attended one of the symposiums. A similar free active shooter/hostile event program, with Michele Gay who lost her daughter during the Sandy Hook tragedy as the keynote, is being offered for school officials, responders, emergency management personnel, and facility professionals at the annual NFPA Conference & Expo® in San Antonio this June.

Over the last year, we have seen people who may have thought these incidents were unlikely taking proactive steps to prepare for potential events, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. NFPA 3000 can help with those preparedness methods because it sets the foundational minimums for developing or vetting a comprehensive holistic ASHER program. In ways large and small, individuals can also play a role in elevating safety. For example:


  • A member of the public may want to contact local leaders to see if NFPA 3000 safety benchmarks are being considered and applied in their communities, or to determine how things work at their schools should an unwanted intruder show up.
  • Adults and children can learn Stop the Bleed – so that they are empowered to administer critical care before a victim bleeds out. Run Hide Fight is also vital information for our world today; but it’s important to remember that this guidance is not necessarily reflective of the order of actions, but more about options based on the scenario.
  • First responders can refer to the standard so that they can train on the competencies for their role or help conduct risk assessments at facilities and venues.
  • Hospital staff can use the NFPA 3000 to coordinate with first responders and establish lines of communication that are regularly tested. The standard also provides a framework for recovery planning and victim identification planning - two critical elements that are often overlooked.
  • School leaders and their building staff can use information in the standard’s 20 chapters to facilitate conversations with law enforcement, fire, EMS, building contacts, emergency managers, and elected officials.

The point is, it’s a whole new world. We have to keep asking questions, learning and teaching to make a difference. NFPA staff and the Technical Committee that developed NFPA 3000 has done just that since last May; and those insights are currently being incorporated into the next edition of the standard, as we speak. For example, additional considerations for the standard on the table include guidance on types of medical equipment and the contents of medical kits for occupancies, the public, and responders; more detailed planning and risk assessment parameters; increased recovery planning including an annex with informational references and resources; and additional ASHER training and exercise considerations.


NFPA will continue to bring attention to active shooter/hostile event preparedness, response, and recovery. We hope that you will use the great videos, training, articles, fact sheets related to active shooter and hostile events that we have developed to help you engage audiences; that you will consider joining us next month in June at the free active shooter/hostile event program in Texas; and that you will submit your ideas for changes to


We all play a role in keeping people, property, first responders, and ourselves safe. NFPA 3000 shows us that we can, and should, do more to protect against unwanted threats.


Many NFPA codes and standards establish minimum frequencies for periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) for fire protection systems, including for example, NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. These frequencies are often historical requirements that are often not based on empirical ITM data or observed deficiencies. In recent years there has been growing interest in risk/occupancy-based and performance-based ITM frequencies; however, to be effective there is a need for a more data-based approach to ITM frequencies. While the use of digital ITM data collection software are evolving, there remains great variation in the format that ITM data is collected, stored, and analyzed. Due to the inconsistency in ITM data collection methodologies, it is difficult to implement data-informed decision making regarding system reliability, ITM frequencies, and risk acceptability.


The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has previously lead projects on ITM Data Collection and Analytics that have concluded that additional work needs to be done in order to evaluate and correlate fire protection equipment reliability with code requirements. Some of the identified gaps are the lack of standardization of ITM data format, collection, and submission processes, as well as unresolved issues regarding data access, ownership, security parameters, and others.


Data from the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems have value to a large variety of stakeholder groups including Contractors (i.e. inspectors), Building Owners/Facility Managers, Authorities Having Jurisdiction, Equipment Manufacturers, Insurance companies, NFPA Codes and Standards Technical Committees, Consultants, and others. Despite the widespread appreciation of the importance of ITM data, there is currently no universally adopted data model, or standardized data format, that all stakeholders utilize to share and compare data. This lack of standardization not only limits the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies, but it also limits the abilities of all stakeholder groups to exchange and analyze data to inform decisions for their own local needs.


To address these challenges, the intent of this RFP is to solicit proposals for the development of a flexible and extensible ITM data exchange model to facilitate data sharing. The emphasis of this project is upon generating a process, utilizing industry best practices, in which similar data received in various formats can be transformed to a common format to enhance the comparison process and enable data sharing.


Please go to the Foundation’s website at for more information, and submit your proposals by May 31, 2019 at 5:00pm EST.



Since May is National Electrical Safety Month, we thought we would look back at some of NFPA’s historic messaging. Pictured above is a classic public service advertisement from 1955 declaring the dangers of frayed electrical cords and overloaded wiring systems.

According to NFPA’s latest Home Electrical Fires report, “Aging electrical systems in older homes can be a source of arc faults, either through normal wear and tear or because the systems cannot accommodate the greater demands of modern appliances. Circuits can also be overloaded by providing electricity to too many appliances, often through power cords.


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives. 

The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. 

Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public. 

May is National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and electrical fire safety on the job. As we consider this month of safety, as an industry professional, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “electrical safety”? 

The first thing that comes to mind may be avoiding a shock or electrocution. Some will jump to the safety of a person interacting with installed electrical equipment. Often this means following the manufacturer’s operating instructions on equipment that is properly installed, properly maintained, closed and secured doors, covers in place and secure, and with no sign of impending failure. Many in the electrical industry may think of personal protective equipment (PPE) and establishing an electrically safe work condition as electrical safety issues. Did anyone think of the design of an electrical system or of the electrical equipment itself? If so, was the equipment operator the only one considered for product liability issues or did you include the person who will maintain the equipment? 

An example of designing for electrical safety for abnormal conditions is a ground-fault circuit-interrupter. For more than a century, people were being electrocuted by accidental contact with energized circuits or parts. A design group developed a device that would limit the potential of an electrocution by opening the circuit before the current level approached an electrocution risk. It is impossible to estimate the lives saved by this device. The design of electrical systems or equipment does play an important role in providing electrical safety. However, many product standards only address safety of the equipment when it is under normal operation conditions. Equipment evaluated under these standards does not typically have a limit to the voltage, current or energy level contained within the enclosure.

The risk of serious injury greatly increases when someone must open the enclosure for any reason. This must be able to be safely performed. As the equipment designer did you consider this highly probable situation? Did you design electrical safety into the equipment to protect maintenance personnel? Even when equipment is going to be placed into an electrically safe work condition (de-energized, locked out), there is a risk in verifying that all energy sources have been successfully removed. You, the equipment or system designer, can save lives by considering electrical safety for tasks conducted over the life of the installation. Sectionalizing equipment, isolating higher voltage, current or energy level circuits, providing disconnect devices in strategic locations, opting for a different circuit design, using insulated terminal blocks or designing-in mitigation systems are examples of means of providing safety for maintenance personnel. When designing an electrical system the same considerations are beneficial. A current-limiting overcurrent device, a separate disconnect box, an arc-flash mitigation device, or an energy-reducing maintenance switch are some methods of protecting the maintenance person.

A designer of electrical equipment or systems needs to consider the electrical hazards inherent in their design for anyone who might be exposed. A person is not only at risk by using the equipment but while maintaining the equipment. There are ways to mitigate the hazards and associated risks in the design. Once the equipment is produced or the system is installed the possibilities for providing protection are greatly decreased. 

During National Electrical Safety Month, let’s take the time to address electrical safety in the design stage; doing so will provide protection for all and will serve to make the workplace a safer electrical environment.

For more information on 70E, check out our 70E blog series here on Xchange. Additional information can be found on NFPA's website or by subscribing to our monthly NEC Connect Newsletter.

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