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15 Posts authored by: afraser Employee

 

Society has had fires in buildings under construction since we first started building them. Buildings in the course of construction have many additional fire hazards not found in completed structures. Fire protection equipment to restrict the spread of fire and extinguish it promptly has not yet been installed. Fires are also often difficult to access by the fire department. Every opportunity exists for serious fire loss.

 

NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations is a unique standard in that it’s not a “brick and mortar” standard but a standard about the process of putting the “brick and mortar” in place.

 

Last week I covered this topic during my NFPA Live, an exclusive for NFPA Members. During the live event I got this follow-up question. I'm now sharing it with you. I hope you find some value in it. Also, check out our free bulletin on preventing construction site fires.

 

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!

On April 5, 2017, the NFPA Standards Council approved a new standard for Facilities Safety Director Professional Qualifications and placed it in the Annual 2019 cycle. 

The document covers the duties, requirements, and competencies required of facility safety directors for structures having an occupant load of greater than 500 in all occupancies except for industrial occupancies.

 

The closing date for submitting public inputs is July 28, 2017 which is just a month away! 

 

You can see the draft and submit your Public Inputs online by clicking here.

At its April 4-5, 2017 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council approved a new standard for Facilities Safety Director Professional Qualifications and placed it in the Annual 2019 cycle.

The document covers the duties, requirements, and competencies required of facility safety directors for structures having an occupant load of greater than 500 in all occupancies except for industrial occupancies.

 

The closing date for submitting public inputs is July 28, 2017.

 

You can see the draft and submit your Public Inputs online by clicking here.

A massive fire occurred at an AvalonBay apartment complex under construction in Maplewood, New Jersey, earlier this week. According to an online article in the New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com, officials reported that the fire undid about two years of construction at the site: “Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca said about 130 of the units that were mostly completed when the fire broke out sustained only minimal smoke and water damage, and will just need to be refurbished. About 100 units in the back of the development that were still under construction need to be rebuilt from the ground up.”

Two years ago, a fire completely destroyed a 408-unit AvalonBay complex in Edgewater, NJ. Light weight construction was suspected as contributing to the fire’s quick spread. According to an NBC online news story, “One responding fire chief told NBC 4 New York he thought lightweight wood construction was a factor in how quickly the fire spread.” The same apartment building burned to the ground during its construction in 2000.

This week’s fire at the Maplewood complex has generated renewed concerns about the rapid spread of fire in lightweight construction. “There are fresh questions about lightweight wood construction for large apartment complexes following a six-alarm fire in Maplewood over the weekend,” stated a CBS New York report.

Whatever the cause of the fire and its spread, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of fire in buildings under construction, which are specified in NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. While NFPA 241 has been a lesser known standard, its adoption among jurisdictions is increasing. The City of Boston has adopted NFPA 241 for a number of years. The standard required statewide in Massachusetts through its adoption of NFPA 1, Fire Code , where NFPA 241 is referenced.

 

The requirements of NFPA 241 provide measures for preventing or minimizing fire damage to structures, including those in underground locations, during construction, alteration, or demolition. NFPA 241 addresses temporary construction equipment and storage; processes and hazards such as hot work, waste disposal, and explosive materials; utilities; fire protection; and safeguarding construction and alteration, roofing, demolition, and underground operations.

 

The standard also requires that the owner designate a person who shall be responsible for the fire prevention program and who shall ensure that it is carried out to completion. That fire prevention program manager has the authority to enforce the provisions of this and other applicable fire protection standard and that the fire prevention program manager must have knowledge of the applicable fire protection standards, available fire protection systems, and fire inspection procedures.

 

The next edition of NFPA 241 could be issued this fall and will contain a new Chapter that will address tall timber structures, a new genre of construction that is increasing in popularity. 

By Allan B. Fraser & Susan McKelvey, NFPA

 

 

 

This is a brief summary of the third in the ten part series on personal disaster planning available in the December 2016 issue of e-ACCESS.Graphic of evacuation route sign

 

There are two definitions of evacuate that really fit what we’re talking about, the second being much more descriptive,

 

: to leave (a dangerous place)

: to withdraw from a place in an organized way especially for protection

 

NFPA’s Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities deals with the events, notification and your personal evacuation plan to get out of the building that you’re in.

 

The distance you need to go to be safe will vary greatly depending on the incident. A waste basket fire may mean that you only have to leave the room, but a hurricane like Katrina or Sandy may mean that you’ll need to travel tens or even hundreds of miles to get to a safe place.

 

Once you’re out, you may need to get to some temporary shelter. It might be close like with neighbors, friends, family or a rented place like a hotel or other facility, but it could be much further. NFPA’s Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities only covers the first three rings of the “Incident Area Model”. What about the other five rings?

 

Incident Area Model

 

If the incident necessitates that you move further out into rings 3 through 7, your plan will need to get more robust as the incident involves a larger and larger area. Planning ahead of time is crucial.

 

Let’s think about a wildland fire for a moment. There have been some very large wildland fires in the western United States over the past few years. Not only have they burned large areas, but they have been unpredictable in the paths they’ve taken and have changed direction often. So you not only need to how far you have to go, but also in what direction do you need to go “to leave a dangerous place for your protection?”

 

What about a flood? Again, hurricanes Katrina and Sandy not only caused damage from strong winds, but are examples of the impact that subsequent flooding can have over very large areas that are relatively flat.

 

Even in areas that are far from the ocean or those at high elevations flooding can be dangerous. Vermont has had numerous flash floods from torrential rains that have caused flooding and major damage in narrow river valleys destroying homes and bridges. In some cases the only viable evacuation route was to go up to higher elevations and also limiting the number potential shelters.

 

So how far would you personally have to go for each of the incidents that you might be affected by?

 

Each incident will likely require a different plan. It’s never too early to start building your plan! Some plans, by necessity, will be much more complex than others. You don’t want to wait to evacuate!!

 

In the next issue I’ll talk about planning for where you’ll stay once you get a safe distance from the incident. Equally important is how long you’ll need to stay there before you can get back into your home. We’ll discuss that in the next issue.

 

You can subscribe to e-ACCESS for free and see all the archived issues, just click here.

Established in April of 2015 the Technical Committee on Building Fire & Life Safety Directors held its first face-to-face meeting at NFPA Headquarters November 8-10, 2016 after holding a number of online meetings over the past year and a half.  

 

This committee is charged with the development of multiple national standards related to facility emergency action plans and the professional qualifications for facilities safety directors.

 

The committee’s scope has two parts:

  • First, “This committee shall have primary responsibility for documents related to the duties, requirements, and competencies required of Facility Safety Directors.
  • Second, “This committee shall also have primary responsibility for the establishment of minimum requirements for emergency action plans addressing all-hazard emergencies within occupied structures having an occupant load of greater than 500", except for industrial occupancies.

 

At its November 8-10, 2016 meeting, the committee developed chapters on definitions, reference documents, administration and “job performance requirements” (JPR’s) by which facilities safety directors will be measured and tested for certification. They developed seven (7) duties for the position under which are contained some twenty-nine (29) tasks. Their draft document will be sent to NFPA’s Professional Qualifications Correlating Committee in early December and then to NFPA’s Standards Committee to be placed in cycle and posted to receive public inputs. Watch for further news in the coming months.

 

The Committee currently has eighteen (18) principal members and three (3) alternates. This is a very large and important project and we'd like to see a full committee of thirty (30) members and thirty (30) alternates including people to represent the various disability communities.

 

Applications for membership can be completed online at: Building Fire & Life Safety Directors (BLF-AAA)

 

 

The intention is that the draft will be presented to the Pro Qual Board late this year and then to the NFPA Standards Council in April, 2017 for entry into cycle for public input.

 

The meeting will be held Tuesday through Thursday, November 8-10, 2016 at:

NFPA Headquarters

1 Batterymarch Park

Quincy, MA 02169

Meeting Times: 8:00am to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)

 

All technical committee meetings are open to the public.

 

   This committee has primary responsibility for documents related to the duties, requirements, competencies and professional qualifications required of Building Fire and Life Safety Directors.

 

   This committee also has primary responsibility for the establishment of minimum requirements for emergency action plans addressing all-hazard emergencies within occupied structures having an occupant load of greater than 500.

 

   This committee shall not have responsibility of such qualifications, roles, responsibilities, or emergency action plans within industrial occupancies.

It will be held on Monday, November 7, 2016 at:

NFPA Headquarters

1 Batterymarch Park

Quincy, MA 02169

Meeting Time: 8:00am to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)

 

All technical committee meetings are open to the public.

 

NFPA 88A covers the construction and protection of, as well as the control of hazards in, open and enclosed parking structures. The purpose of this standard is to provide minimum fire protection standards for parking structures

 

Thirty (30) public inputs have been filed for NFPA 88A. You can see them all by clicking on the links below:

NFPA 88A                           

 

 

   General advice about major disasters says each of us will very likely need to take care of ourselves for the first 24 to 72 hours. The former chair of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Disability Access and Review Committee said "Every one of us should be prepared to take some responsibility for our own safety regardless of our circumstances."

 

   To that end, the NFPA has created the Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities which provides assistance to people with disabilities, their employers, building owners and managers, and others as they develop emergency evacuation plans that integrate the needs of people with disabilities. This guidance can be used in all buildings, whether old or new.

 

   This webinar will review the 2nd edition of this Planning Guide and provide major topics and updated materials.

 

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the specific functions that are part of a process of evacuating a building and how to build a successful plan.

 

Presenter:

Allan Fraser is the Senior Building Code Specialist on the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) staff. Before joining NFPA, he had been the Building Commissioner in 5 different Massachusetts municipalities over twenty seven years. He is a Certified Building Official and a Certified Professional Code Administrator. He staff's NFPA's Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee. He represents NFPA on a number of committees of other standards developers.

 

Click here to register!

             

 

     General advice about major disasters says each of us will very likely need to take care of ourselves for the first 24 to 72 hours. The former chair of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Disability Access and Review Committee said "Every one of us should be prepared to take some responsibility for our own safety regardless of our circumstances."

 

     To that end, the NFPA has created the Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities which provides assistance to people with disabilities, their employers, building owners and managers, and others as they develop emergency evacuation plans that integrate the needs of people with disabilities. This guidance can be used in all buildings, whether old or new.

 

     This webinar will review the 2nd edition of this Planning Guide and provide major topics and updated materials.

 

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the specific functions that are part of a process of evacuating a building and how to build a successful plan.

Presenter:

     Allan Fraser is the Senior Building Code Specialist on the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) staff. Before joining NFPA, he had been the Building Commissioner in 5 different Massachusetts municipalities over twenty seven years. He is a Certified Building Official and a Certified Professional Code Administrator. He staff's NFPA's Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee. He represents NFPA on a number of committees of other standards developers.

 

Click here to register!

United States Senate

Office of the Sergeant at Arms,

10th Annual National Preparedness Month Fair

Hart Senate Office Building, Room SH-902

Washington, DC

 

  We’re here! NFPA is proud to again participate in the United States Senate Sergeant at Arms, Office of Emergency Preparedness’ 10th annual Emergency Preparedness Month Fair in the Hart Senate Office Building today from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in room SH-902. The purpose of the Emergency Preparedness Month Fair is to educate Senate staff on the importance of emergency preparedness not only here at work, but at home as well. This is accomplished by inviting representatives from our various internal offices and many local emergency management agencies and response teams from around the National Capitol

 

               IMG_4202 (2).jpg

      It will be held on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at:

NFPA Headquarters

1 Batterymarch Park

Quincy, MA 02169

Meeting Time: 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

All technical committee meetings are open to the public.

90A: Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems

NFPA 90A covers construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of systems for air conditioning and ventilating, including filters, ducts, and related equipment, to protect life and property from fire, smoke, and gases resulting from fire or from conditions having manifestations similar to fire.

It prescribes the minimum requirements for safety to life and property from fire which are intended to accomplish the following:

  • Restrict the spread of smoke through air duct systems within a building or into a building from the outside
  • Restrict the spread of fire through air duct systems from the area of fire origin, whether located within the building or outside
  • Maintain the fire-resistive integrity of building components and elements such as floors, partitions, roofs, walls, and floor– or roof–ceiling assemblies affected by the installation of air duct systems
  • Minimize the ignition sources and combustibility of the elements of the air duct systems
  • Permit the air duct systems in a building to be used for the additional purpose of emergency smoke control

 

It applies to all systems for the movement of environmental air in structures that serve the following:

  • Spaces over 708 m3 (25,000 ft3) in volume
  • Buildings of Types III, IV, and V construction over three stories in height, regardless of volume
  • Buildings and spaces not covered by other applicable NFPA standards
  • Occupants or processes not covered by other applicable NFPA standards

NFPA 90B: Standard for the Installation of Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems

NFPA 90B covers construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of systems for warm air heating and air conditioning, including filters, ducts, and related equipment to protect life and property from fire, smoke, and gases resulting from fire or from conditions having manifestations similar to fire.

It provisions are the minimum requirements for safety to life and property and applies to all systems for the movement of environmental air in structures that serve the following, except systems for the movement of environmental air in buildings of combustible construction over three stories in height,:

  • One- or two-family dwellings
  • Spaces not exceeding 708 m3 (25,000 ft3) in volume in any occupancy


Thirty-six (36) public comments have been filed for NFPA 90A and sixteen (16) public comments have been filed for NFPA 90B. You can see them all by clicking on the links below:

                                                  NFPA 90A                            NFPA 90B

 

This is a brief summary of the second in the ten part series on personal disaster planning available in the September 2016 issue of e-ACCESS.

 

Ready, Set, Go!.jpg  Pre-planning for disaster events is critical as the planning time required for almost all of these events will take many, many times longer than the actual warning time you’ll get that the event is coming.  When it comes to any of those disasters, whether natural and man-made, do you know how much warning time you’ll really have and how you will receive that warning? Knowing and understanding the answers to these two questions may well be critical to your safety and survival. Have you ever thought about these questions or the answers? The answers clearly emphasize why you need to take some responsibility for your own safety and make your preparations now, long before any event takes place.

 

You’ll be surprised, if not shocked, at the typical warning times:

  • Fire – Building: 1-5 minutes depending on the alarm system or lack thereof
  • Fire –Wildland: Normally, fire danger rating systems provide a 4- to 6-hour early warning of the highest fire danger for any particular day that the weather data is supplied. Earthquake: Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds, depending on the distance to the epicenter of the earthquake.
  • Flood: Flood watches, which are the first level are issued when conditions suggest a possibility of flooding, or if flooding is anticipated within 12-48 hours.
  • Tornado:  13 Minutes is the average warning time before a tornado hits
  • Hurricane:  The warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds to allow for important preparation.
  • Tsunami: Simulations from the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off our coast show that an initial tsunami wave can reach the coast in 20 to 30 minutes - so time is limited. Geologic history showed waves can be as high as 30 feet. So you must get at least that high above sea level.
  • Lightening: You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. Because light travels so much faster than sound, lightning flashes can sometimes be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. When the lightning and thunder occur very close to one another, the lightning is striking nearby. To estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm, count the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five.
  • Volcanic eruption: It is impossible to predict the date of an eruption. Volcano warning systems are based on a probability of an eruption or hazard. There are two main volcano warning systems - color codes, and alert levels. Warning systems are specific for each volcano.
  • Attack: (Active shooter, etc.) – None
  • Man-made: (Chemical spill, etc) - None

We need to think hard about these warning times. Could you develop a plan to get you and your family to safety between the time you get the warning and the time the event occurs? I know I couldn’t. This is why pre-planning is so important.

 

You can subscribe to e-ACCESS for free and see all the archived issues, just click here.

Senate SSA Logo.jpg

NFPA is proud to again participate in the United States Senate Sergeant at Arms, Office of Emergency Preparedness’ 10th annual Emergency Preparedness Month Fair in the Hart Senate Office Building on Friday, September 23, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in room SH-902. The purpose of the Emergency Preparedness Month Fair is to educate Senate staff on the importance of emergency preparedness not only here at work, but at home as well. This is accomplished by inviting representatives from our various internal offices and many local emergency management agencies and response teams from around the National Capitol Region to share information and resources with Senate staff, and educate them on steps that they can take to recover quickly after an emergency.

 

This event has increased in popularity over the years, and it is anticipated that upward of 300 attendees, up from 200 last year, will be there throughout the day.

CD 2.jpg

 

It is expected that Senate staff will attend the event, with the majority from Senators’ personal Washington, D.C. offices. In addition, staff from Senate Committee, Leadership, and a variety of support offices such as the Sergeant at Arms and Secretary of the Senate are likely to visit during the event. Staff from other legislative branch organizations such as the United States Capitol Police, Library of Congress, and the Architect of the Capitol may also attend.

      Bill Scott.jpg

The former Chair of NFPA’s DARAC, Bill Scott, constantly said that “All people, regardless of their circumstances, have some obligation to be prepared to take action during an emergency and to assume some responsibility for their own safety.” It was the inspiration for NFPA’s very successful Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities. The 2nd edition, which was just released on June 1st, 2016, has set off a huge new round of downloads and has truly gone global.

 

As the “Guide’s” author, I presented an education session at NFPA’s 2016 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, June 13-16-2016. It was a packed room with a diverse and very engaged audience.

 

Among the attendees was Mr. Rob Llewellyn of the Fire Protection Association Australia and the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations – Asia. Mr Llewellyn had read the 2nd edition of the “Guide” a few days after its release and came to C&E looking for more information on NFPA’s statistics related to the creation of the “Guide” and other information from NFPA.

 

The Confederation of Fire Protection Associations - Asia (CFPA-A), is a body of leading fire protection organizations from the Asia - Pacific Region who collectively direct their resources at reducing the global fire problem and increasing life safety. Member Countries/Regions are: Australia, China, China - Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan.

 

Join the global movement! Download the free 2nd edition of the “Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities”.

 

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