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Valerie Ziavras, Engineer and Staff Liaison for NFPA 1 and Michele Steinberg, Director of NFPA’s Wildfire Division teamed up in this recent NFPA Live session. They discussed today’s growing risk of wildfire disasters and the resources available in both NFPA’s educational material and its standards, including NFPA 1, Fire Code, Chapter 17, Wildland Urban Interface.


They highlighted how AHJs can perform risk assessments and share information about ways to reduce wildfire ignition risk through safer site design, construction, and maintenance for homes and commercial structures.


Val and Michele received this follow-up question from a member during their live Q&A on this topic.


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!

The NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems; NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances, NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code; and NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services


The following TIAs were issued by the Council on July 17, 2019:


  • NFPA 13, TIA 19-3, referencing Table 22.5, 2019 edition
  • NFPA 14, TIA 19-1, referencing 13.10 and Chapter 14 (new), 2019 edition
  • NFPA 24, TIA 19-1, referencing 2.3.1, 2.3.2, and Table, 2019 edition
  • NFPA 400, TIA 19-1, referencing Table 5.3.7, 2019 edition
  • NFPA 1981, TIA 19-1, referencing 2.3.1, 2019 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.


Vehicles have changed significantly over the years. Modern vehicles present new hazards due to, for example, the incorporation of larger quantities of combustible materials (e.g. fuels, plastics, synthetic materials, etc.) into their designs. As alternative fuel vehicles are popularized, concerns regarding their unique hazards, burn characteristics, and typical burn duration have been raised. Compared to older vehicles, modern vehicles burn differently. Modern parking garages have optimized space requirements for vehicle parking and storage, and often implement automated retrieval features and car stacking, which can present unique hazards. Thus, it raises the question as to whether the safety infrastructure of these parking facilities and vehicle carriers (i.e. maritime vessels) have kept pace.


The Fire Protection Research Foundation recently distributed a new "Request for Proposals" for a project contractor to address this issue. The goal of this project is to quantify the fire hazard of modern vehicles within parking structures and vehicle carriers to provide guidance (e.g. on design criteria, sprinkler system requirements, etc.) for the applicable technical committees, including NFPA 13, NFPA 88A, and NFPA 301.


Please see the attached PDF for the scope of work or go to the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s website at for more information. Please submit your proposals by August 30, 2019 at 5:00 pm EST.

Boston's portable drill tower in 1938


From The NFPA Quarterly v.32, no.2, 1938:

What is believed to be the first large city portable drill tower designed for holding public exhibition drills in various parts of the city is shown above. The picture shows Boston firemen performing for the first time on the tower at a public exhibition held on historic Boston Common late in September and witnessed by approximately 10,000 people. The portable drill tower was the idea of Boston’s Fire Commissioner, William Arthur Reilly, and Fire Chief Samuel J. Pope as a novel and effective method of interesting the public in the work of the Boston Fire Department.

The portable drill tower, erected at various playgrounds and other public places throughout Boston during Fire Prevention Week, makes it possible for large numbers to witness fire department drill work. The tower is easily erected and dismantled and can be readily transported from place to place.

The purpose of the portable drill tower was to popularize the work of the fire department and increase the morale of the department.



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.


NFPA and Domino’s are teaming up for the 12th year in a row to deliver fire safety messages and pizza during Fire Prevention Week (FPW), Oct. 6 -12, 2019. To make this year’s campaign a success, we’re encouraging fire departments to join forces with their local Domino’s store to implement the campaign in their communities.


Here’s how the program works:

  • Partner with your local Domino’s store to participate in an easy-to-execute program that will promote fire safety during FPW.
  • Select a day and time period (usually 2-3 hours) to randomly choose one to three pizza orders to deliver aboard a fire engine. The participating Domino’s delivery expert will follow the fire engine in his or her car.
  • When the pizza delivery arrives, the firefighters will check the home for working smoke alarms. If the smoke alarms work, the customer’s order is free (cost absorbed by the Domino’s store). If the smoke alarms aren’t working, the fire department will replace the batteries or install fully functioning smoke alarms (cost absorbed by the fire department).


As you’ve likely know, this year’s FPW campaign theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.” It works to educate everyone about the importance of home escape planning and practice. Partnering with Domino’s presents a fun and powerful way to reinforce this messaging.


Domino’s Fire Prevention Week Sweepstakes
Fire departments that sign up from August 12-30 to participate in this program will automatically be entered into Domino’s FPW Sweepstakes. Domino’s will randomly select three winners who will receive the NFPA’s “Fire Prevention Week in a Box 300” package, which includes:

  • FPW news booklets
  • Kids' activity booklets
  • Posters
  • Magnets
  • Stickers
  • Brochures
  • Banners
  • Two-sided goodie bags


Sign Up to Participate
If your fire department would like to participate in the NFPA and Domino’s FPW program, please email Danielle Bulger at Signup emails that are sent Aug. 12-30 will be entered into the Sweepstakes. The FPW Sweepstakes winners will be drawn on or around Monday, Sept. 9.



The past few months have produced a number of powerful and damaging natural disasters across the US. From earthquakes and wildfires in the west to tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes across our northern and southern states, no one part of the country has been immune to the mighty force of nature.


In the midst of this trying time, and with the worst of the hurricane season still to come (hurricane season runs from June to November), building owners and managers of industrial and commercial facilities are facing (and will continue to face) the daunting process of disaster recovery. More specifically, when electrical systems are damaged in a natural (and yes, even man-made ones, too!) disaster, electricians need to make a critical decision about whether the electrical equipment that was damaged can be salvaged or not.


So where to start? Let NFPA lend a hand. We’ve created a new checklist for electricians to help highlight and simplify key aspects of this decision-making process. The checklist builds off of recommendations in Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance* (2019 edition).


The checklist includes such things as:

  • A list of disaster scenarios, which can inflict damage of varying degrees to facilities
  • Steps for assessing equipment
  • A Priority Assessment Table
  • Steps to help identify factors for replacement or repair

… and more.


Still, even with the help of the checklist, the choice between repair and replace will not always be an easy one. Following these simple suggestions can be the difference, however, between an impossible task and an informed decision.


Before your community experiences a disaster, download this free “Natural Disaster Electrical Equipment Checklist” and review the contents. Having this information at your fingertips will be extremely valuable should your community call on you for your electrical experience and assistance in the aftermath of a storm or other weather-related event.  


Additional disaster-related resources can be found on NFPA's disaster webpage, including tip sheets, related code information, articles, and more.



*The complete current edition of NFPA 70B and related resources are available for free access or to purchase at


In my recent NFPA® Live session I discussed calculating egress capacity in accordance with NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, to determine whether the egress system is sized appropriately. This session built off the June 6 NFPA Live on Calculating Occupant Load.  I covered the different types of components in the means of egress and minimum widths for egress components versus the required width needed for egress capacity. I also reviewed how to determine the capacity of the different types of components in the means of egress and whether or not the means of egress is sized appropriately.


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!

an illustration of what a participant in cockroach racing might have looked like

During the summer of 1925, Mr. S.D. McComb, chairman of the NFPA Marine Committee shared a story that he had heard from a colleague “across the pond” regarding the possible hazards of a pastime once common aboard ships at sea in the mid-to-late 1800’s.


From The NFPA Quarterly v.19, no.1, 1925:

Referring to an article in a recent number of the Nautical Magazine about fires on board ship. The following, although not recent information, may interest you. It was told me by a man-of-war’s man about fifty years ago. My informant probably started his career at sea in the early sixties, and most likely in wooden ships. Here are his own words, as near as I can remember: “Us boys used to catch cockroaches, get some small pieces of candle, light them, tilt them a bit to let the grease run, then put them on the cockroaches’ backs, and have races.” He then naively added: “You must not get catched at it though.” I presume the bearers of the light would make for some secluded spot in the ship.

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.

In the event of a fire, a sloped ceiling may alter sprinkler performance from expected results for a conventional horizontal ceiling configuration. Prior computational studies investigated the effect of ceiling slope on sprinkler activation times and patterns, and spray dynamics. The role of obstructed ceiling construction and sprinkler orientation were investigated in detail and a test plan for cold-flow and large-scale fire tests was developed. Based on which, cold-flow experiments were conducted using a variety of different sprinklers to examine the impact of ceiling slope and deflector orientation on the measured floor flux. The cold flow test results helped to further refine the test plan for a series of large-scale fire suppression tests conducted with pendent, early suppression, fast response sprinklers under sloped ceilings in presence of obstructed ceiling construction. The large-scale testing and modeling results will provide guidance for updates to sprinkler installation standards. This webinar will discuss the findings from this effort explaining the fire dynamics affecting fire suppression performance under sloped ceilings. The final project report will be available on the FPRF website.


Register for the webinar today. Visit for more upcoming NFPA webinars and archives.


When: Thursday, August 29, 12:30-2:00 pm ET.




  • Prateep Chatterjee, FM Global
  • Noah Ryder, Fire & Risk Alliance


Gilroy, California. El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio. In the span of 10 days, news outlets have reported on three horrific active shooter incidents that have claimed the lives of 34, wounded 63, and rattled the American public to its core. Again.


Whether we identify as a private citizen, first responder, parent, community leader, medical personnel, or list ourselves among the many professionals charged with protecting people at public events, on campuses, in business environments, at entertainment venues, or in commercial settings – we are sad, frustrated, and feel, at times, the same sense of not being able to do more in the wake of these tragedies.


We may be heartbroken but we are not helpless. Preparedness is where we can all do something right now.


Every community is painfully recognizing that they must address preparedness in some way, shape or form. Some are training together, and others are expanding efforts to include key influencers beyond traditional police, fire and EMS response. They are looking at an intensive investigation, communications coordination, and starting to realize that recovery is the hardest, most enduring phase of one of these incidents. We applaud all of this – and underscore the need for it – and a lot more. We also know that very few are doing all that it takes to address hostile events before, during, and after chaos unfolds.


So, what is it that you can do? Start by asking questions, questions that lead to action. Is your city or town well-versed on whole community guidance so that it can prepare, respond, and recover from active shooter and hostile events? That should be the first question you pose to local authorities; and here are some others to continue the conversation that is necessary today:


  • Do police, fire, EMS and federal authorities have a plan to work together to address threats and access victims as quickly and safely as possible?
  • Do first responders have the ability to access your business, school, or place of work quickly in the event of an emergency?
  • What training is offered for civilian response to active shooter incidents?
  • How will victims of loved ones receive notification at home, school or work, if there is an incident?
  • Are local hospitals in communication with responders, and can they handle a surge of victims?
  • Beyond responders, who else should be sitting at the table for key preparedness discussions?
  • How will officials notify families and support them in the aftermath with security?
  • Has learning about “Stop the Bleed” or “Avoid, Deny, Defend” been encouraged in your community?
  • Are you registered to volunteer for a CERT team or your local Medical Reserve Corps?
  • Is your city or town prepared for the level of counseling that will be needed for recovery?
  • Are you prepared to handle an onslaught of donations, media, and outside resources?
  • Is there a continuity of operations plan in place where you live or work?


To be fair, many communities have answers to some of these questions; but many don’t have all the answers and far too many are without formalized plans. As new details about the three horrific incidents are learned – refuse to numb yourself to the violence. Instead, let your frustration fuel the forward-thinking action that is needed now on a local level.

There are many resources available to help communities face this growing threat.


Here are some: 

Congrats to NFPA’s own Tracy Vecchiarelli, who was named as one of the Emerging Professionals-5 Under 35 by SFPE!  This is the first year that the new honor has been given.  The five recipients are recognized for their efforts in giving back to the fire protection engineering profession and the community. Tracy, who is a principal engineer has managed several complex projects for NFPA. She led a small team to build an interactive design selection tool for combustible exterior wall finishes following the Grenfell fire in 2017. Based on the requirements contained in NFPA 5000 and the International Building Code, this tool is used to assist designers and authorities having jurisdiction in establishing the conditions in which the NFPA 285 test is applicable.  


Tracy has understood the importance of supporting professional societies beginning with her time at WPI where she served as an officer for the WPI — SFPE student chapter for three years and where she also served as the president of the WPI ASCE student chapter. Her commitment to SFPE continues with her involvement with the New England Chapter. She has served in various roles for the chapter including as president in 2015/2016. Under her leadership, ongoing chapter activities grew and increased in popularity including the annual golf tournament and the trivia night meeting. She serves on the Membership and Chapter Relations Standing Committee and was a member of the nominating committee for SFPE.   


The five recipients will be recognized during the SFPE conference later this year, and will be recognized in the FPE magazine and website.


In my recent NFPA® Live session I focused on the location and placement requirements for portable fire extinguishers. I discussed the requirements of NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, as well as the occupancies where NFPA 101®Life Safety Code®, requires portable fire extinguishers to be installed as well as the ratings for portable fire extinguishers and how that affects where they are required to be located.


During this live event 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!

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