Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > Authors djones@nfpa.org

NFPA Today

5 Posts authored by: djones@nfpa.org Employee

 

Staying up-to-speed on new hazards, changing technologies, best practices, and the codes that ensure safety, can be a full-time job for those that work in the building, life safety, and emergency response realm.

 

To help authorities and practitioners keep informed about the codes in effect in any given state, county or city, NFPA has developed CodeFinder™, a new interactive online tool that identifies the NFPA codes and standards that are being used around the world. The new web-based resource also includes information on the NFPA codes referenced within International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and International Code Council (ICC) codes. Referenced documents are considered part of those codes, and should be enforced for complete compliance and optimal safety.

 

CodeFinder features available data for U.S. states, cities with more than a quarter million in population, and counties with over one million in population (or the largest municipalities in the state). It also contains information for Canadian provinces and territories, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Some users may want to use the tool’s color-coded mapping, convenient hovering feature or filtering mechanism to find current codes; while others might opt for searching by topic or the most frequently used NFPA codes and standards. There is even a place for code information to be input, if the information is not already included within CodeFinder.

 

President Jim Pauley stressed the importance of current code usage during his remarks at NFPA’s Conference and Expo this week. “Codes and standards are developed by experts from around the globe to ensure a minimum level of safety. They incorporate learnings from new research, case studies, loss experience, and innovation,” Pauley said. “CodeFinder helps our stakeholders apply the most recent safety benchmarks, and ensures that people and property get the level of protection that they expect and deserve.”

 

CodeFinder was designed to be informational and educational. It will continue to improve with information and input from a wide spectrum of professionals. Try out NFPA’s new code-finding tool at https://codefinder.nfpa.org, and let us know what you think via the comment feature below.

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to connect with different fire protection and life safety professionals from all over the world.


Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend NFPA’s Women in Engineering event at the SFPE Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. There, I met a remarkable young student architect named Nasrin Sadat who shared the powerful reason behind her college thesis on high-rise residential tower fire safety. Her story will stick with me forever.


Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001, but do you remember where you were on June 14, 2017 when the Grenfell Tower in West London burned, killing 72 people? Nasrin remembers the events of that horrible day all too well, and shared her and her fiancé’s life-changing experience with me.


But first a little about Nasrin. She lives with her parents and younger brother in a small town in The Netherlands, and is studying architecture at The Hague University. Born in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, Nasrin and her family fled her troubled homeland in the early 2000s to escape escalating occupation by the Taliban.


The Sadat family had relatives in The Netherlands so they headed there as refugees. They began their new life as a family grounded in strong values and committed to preserving their reputable heritage.


Last year on June 14th, Nasrin was sleeping soundly at home, when fire began to consume the Grenfell Towers hundreds of miles away in West London. The college student’s phone began to vibrate and ring incessantly. Her fiancé Farhad Neda was desperately trying to reach her from the 23rd floor of the Grenfell Tower, where he lived with his disabled mother, Flora and his father, Saber.


Initially, Farhad wanted Nasrin to know that the building was on fire. But, as the fire quickly spread and smoke relentlessly billowed into their flat, Nasrin’s fiancé didn’t think they were going to make it out of the building alive. He was calling and texting Nasrin to say goodbye.


Farhad’s mother suffers from a muscular disease and is unable to walk on her own so walking down 23 flights of stairs was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Throughout the ordeal, Farhad was in contact with a friend who was outside the building near first responders. He asked the friend to talk with the first responders and let him know what to do. The 24-year old was told to stay put because help was on the way and if the fire brigade could not reach the Nedas, they could go to the roof where helicopters would be rescuing residents.


Anxious about the smoke in their apartment, and with no sign of first responders or helicopters, Farhad decided they needed to escape via the stairs. He left the apartment with his mother, while his father stayed behind to help others. Farhad’s dad promised to follow them soon and meet them outside.


During their descent dark smoke filled the stairwell, making it difficult to escape. They were choking and stumbling over the bodies of those overcome by smoke. It took them about 20 minutes to descend 23 flights of stairs – stopping once along the way to suck in clean air via an air pocket.


Once outside, Farhad spoke to Nasir and recounted everything that was unfolding at Grenfell. She boarded the first available flight to London.


Farhad and his mother were put into induced comas to recover from all the smoke that they inhaled during their quest for survival. Nasrin spent months in London helping her fiancé and his mother recover.


Farhad and Flora were the only survivors from floor 23. Saber, Farhad’s dad, never met them outside.
As a student of architecture, Nasrin is well-versed on building design, construction techniques and code regulations. She knew that the events that took place at Grenfell Tower on June 14th, should never have occurred. When she returned to school in September she decided to do her senior thesis on high-rise residential tower fire safety with Grenfell Tower as the basis of her research. Her work is centered around 5 main questions:


· How can the escape concept ''stay put'' in residential towers work properly?
· How can the applied materials used in the Grenfell Tower facade be used safely for residential towers?
· How can the staircases in high-rise buildings contribute to the fire safety of residential towers?
· How can the smoke control system in residential towers work properly?
· How can quality assessment strategies employed during the construction process guarantee that the fire safety of residential towers will be adequate?


Nasrin’s final paper will result in an assessment of the fire safety measures at Grenfell Tower; and provide a comparison of the fire and life safety regulations applied in Dutch high-rise buildings.


The research being undertaken by Nasrin is not simple, but in the course of our brief meeting I came away with the sense that this young women is up for any challenge. She has the support of her mentor and manager at her internship at DGMR Engineering in The Netherlands - and of course, encouragement from her fiancé and his mother.


I was awed by this young women’s spirit and intelligence, and saddened by the tragedy that spurred her thesis decision. And yet, I was very proud to share with her the many ways that NFPA is also addressing high-rise building fire and life safety with risk assessment tools, videos, resources and via NFPA 285 and NFPA 5000. We share Nasrin’s passion for keeping residents of high-rise buildings safer from harm.


I look forward to reading and sharing Nasrin’s report in June when it is complete. In the meantime, learn more about Farhad and Flora’s unforgettable journey on June 14th and in the days since, as reported during this compelling news interview.


W
e are trying to understand the use, application, and value of a comprehensive Fire Protection Handbook. Please take 5 minutes to answer a brief survey that will help us consider ways to update the publication and make it even more valuable. 

 

Click here to start the survey.

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide your insights! 

 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is excited to be a Cooperating Organization of the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) conference “Resilience of the Integrated Building: A Community Focus” scheduled for April 11 – 13, 2017 in Oklahoma City, OK.

 

The AEI 2017 Conference provides an opportunity for professionals of the building design and construction industry, including structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers, architects, and construction management professionals to learn about and discuss advanced building design strategies and state-of-the-art building technology practices.

 

With over 90 presentations and representation from 9 different countries, the technical program will cover the 8 AEI BUILD categories and will feature presentations on building envelopes, building materials, building structural systems, community planning for resilience, forensic studies, and integrated systems.

 

NFPA will be presenting on our efforts in the area of resilient design and the likely impact on codes and standards. As societal norms and expectations change with respect to fire and other hazards, finding the balance between “minimum” criteria and “optimum” criteria in the codes and standards can become a challenge.

 

AEI Build draws on the best ideas in design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and offers the Architectural Engineering community a new resource of innovative research, new developments, and best practices in eight practice focus areas of the architectural engineering profession: deliver, enclose, learn, modular, perform, resilient, secure, and sustain.

 

As part of our sponsorship, AEI will extend the AEI member rate to NFPA member attendees that wish to register for the conference. The $100 discounted registration code is: AEI17K100.

 

We hope to see you there!

Oakland Warehouse Fire - NY Times

Image: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

 

When tragedy strikes, many feel compelled to help. We are human. We hear about tragic events like the recent fires in Oakland, Boston and Tennessee and we feel pain. So we look for ways to help others through a horrific disaster and help ourselves get through it too. Since the disaster in Oakland, I’ve seen a lot articles about the recent deadly fires and a common observation is that people are stepping up to help people. 

 

Given my work with architects, designers and contractors, it’s been interesting to follow the coverage of the Oakland disaster. One particular article that struck me was in makezine.com and focused on fire safety and emergency response for makerspaces, co-ops and DIY live/work warehouse settings. The piece offered basic information for the design community and artists drawn to creative spaces, and offered important insight on ignition sources, fire extinguisher types and emergency exit signs. Jurisdictions like NYC also distributed educational flyers to residents outlining the dangers of illegally-converted spaces.

 

The New York Times reported on a crackdown on illegal warehouse workspaces and referenced a website called saferspac.es that was created to address the dangers that often come with living in underground creative spaces. Geared toward professionals and innovators interested in honing their craft just steps away from their bed, the site is attracting traffic from engineers, safety professionals and lawyers who want to share their expertise with tenants, artists and building owners. The Times also created a 3D model so that readers could visualize and learn about the dangers that lurked inside the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland.

 

The authors of these stories are doing their part to share potential hazards, best practices and building code information with audiences just as NFPA has done for more than a century with codes like NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code® and research reports on nightclub and other assembly occupancies and warehouse fires. The recent large scale fire incidents of late created loss that I wish  never happened, but these tragedies have also nurtured kindness, mindfulness and outreach in society so that we can ease the pain and avoid similar tragedies in the future.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: