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346 Posts authored by: freddurso Employee
In the following video, Russ Leavitt, executive chair of Telgian Corporation, highlights a major reorganization of the 2019 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. He discusses how the new edition is more user-friendly than previous editions and other key changes: 
Leavitt's comments were recorded during NFPA's 2018 Conference & Expo. Did you know that conference attendees and NFPA members get full access to all the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session audio and video files? If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

In 2017, the U.S. experienced $16 billion dollars worth of damage from weather- and climate-related disasters. This astounding figure underscores the necessity of staying prepared in case a flood, tornado, or some other force of nature hits your community.

Health care facilities are no different. Specific steps can be taken to better plan for and recover from a natural disaster. Since its National Preparedness Month, we wanted to share some idea from Anne Guglielmo with Liberty Mutual Insurance. She spoke at NFPA's Conference & Expo this year about pre- and post-disaster tasks for health care facilities. Guglielmo also emphasized the importance of utilizing NFPA 1600, Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs. In the following video, Guglielmo shares some important highlights:

Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members get full access to ALL the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session audio & video files? (Browse the full list of education sessions here.) If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

The newest edition of our oldest standard, NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, underwent a significant reorganization. Making sure the standard's users easily find what they're looking for, NFPA 13 Staff Liaison David Hague recently hosted a webinar underscoring the 2019 edition's reorganization. The webinar examined how the revised NFPA 13 reduces redundancies in coverage and follows a more logical sequence of information.


The following is a clip from the webinar featuring Hague, who discusses how the new edition indicates technical changes: 



Spend an informative hour with Hague; the full webinar is exclusively available for registered users of Xchange. Log in to Xchange access the webinar or register today to view it. 

Safety advocates know that fire sprinklers can significantly reduce the risk of death or property loss from a home fire. What might not be as well-known is the data supporting the environmental benefits of this technology in all new homes.

A study conducted by FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition underscored a sprinkler's green qualities. It investigated the types, quantity, and duration of air and water pollutants released from a home fire; the amount of water used by a firefighter's hose and fire sprinklers during a fire; and the environmental impact of burning furnishings and other materials.


The report, "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers," concluded that:

  • greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98 percent when automatic fire sprinklers are installed
  • automatic fire sprinklers reduce fire damage by up to 97 percent and reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90 percent
  • fire sprinklers reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment

    Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site for more information on this study.

Health care facilities typically house an array of gases--oxygen, helium, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, for example--that are stored in cylinders and serve a variety of medical purposes. As with other medical gas equipment, there are potential hazards associated with these cylinders. Fires and explosions can be exacerbated by its contents, and physical damage to the cylinders may lead to mechanical problems.

NFPA's new fact sheet highlights these hazards and how NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, safeguards the storage of medical gas cylinders. It lists safety precautions for handling cylinders and related NFPA resources tied to NFPA 99.

Download the new fact sheet and share with colleagues responsible for maintaining or inspecting health care facilities.

The astonishing images of London's Grenfell Tower in flames--and the 80 deaths that followed--got the attention of Florida Governor Rick Scott. While sensitive to regulations, Scott couldn't turn a blind eye to the horror that unfolded, partly due to the building's lack of fire sprinklers. He quickly vetoed a bill that sailed through the state legislature that would once again delay installing fire sprinklers in certain residences.


"Safety issues are critically important, as they can be the difference between life or death," Scott said in a statement about his veto. "Fire sprinklers and enhanced life safety systems are particularly effective in improving the safety of occupants in high-rise buildings and ensure the greatest protection of the emergency responders who bravely conduct firefighting and rescue operations.


"The recent London high-rise fire...illustrates the importance of life safety protections."


The new legislation would have delayed a sprinkler retrofit requirement set to begin in 2019 for condos built before 1994 and higher than 75 feet. (The requirement deadline had already been extended twice by the legislature.) It would also, according to news reports, have given condo residents the option to opt-out of the requirement. State law requires condos built after 1994 to install fire sprinklers.


Urging Scott to veto the bill was the state's Division of State Fire Marshal, Florida Fire Chiefs Association, and the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “This legislation extends the compliance deadline, once again, and allows condominium residents to opt out of fire sprinklers...which creates an extremely dangerous environment for both residents and first responders responding in the event of an emergency,” the letter stated. The Florida Fire Sprinkler Coalition also champions for fire sprinklers in all residences.


Regarding complaints about cost, Julius Halas, director of the Division of State Fire Marshal, said such complaints were disingenuous. "They've had 17 years [since the law was originally passed to retrofit their condos]. They still have two-and-a-half years," he told the Sun Sentinel. 


A real estate agent also told the publication that newly installed sprinklers will "make the property more appealing. It will ultimately be a benefit to any owner." 


Please sent a tweet to Florida Governor Rick Scott, thanking him for vetoing anti-sprinkler legislation and understanding the necessity of fire sprinklers.


Settling into my cramped seat at Boston's Fenway Park last week--beer in one hand, popcorn in the other--I watched one of my idols grace the Jumbotron. He was not donning a Red Sox uniform, but rather a neatly wrapped bath towel around his head.

A one-day-only showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off at Fenway was the perfect ender to a summer night. (My haiku summation of this 1986 classic, for those who sadly haven't seen it: Teen boy takes "sick" day/opts for fun outings with friends/gives key life lesson.) More importantly, the movie was a reminder of the joys of rule-breaking.


Now I'm not condoning illegal behavior or playing hooky from work. (You're welcome, HR.) What I am trying to highlight is Ferris' think-outside-the-box mentality. In Ferris' world, a good day is a terrible thing to waste. On his day off, he trekked into Chicago, rode a sports car, caught a foul ball at a Cubs game, chowed down on a swanky dinner, and participated in a danceathon to the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" during a parade. ("Shake it up baby, now!") If he played by the rules, none of this would have been possible.


How does this relate to us in the fire safety world? We can continue to do the same thing day in and day out, or we can alter our habits. We can start to think differently. Live differently. Work differently. Act differently. Advocate for safety differently.


An example: I recently attended Canada's first summit on home fire sprinklers. This country mimics the U.S. when it comes  to setbacks requiring sprinklers in new homes, but one of their biggest hurdles is battling opponents in the homebuilding industry. Rather than bring together all fire service supporters for sprinklers for this summit, our Canadian friends (with NFPA's support) did something different. They invited Ontario's homebuilders to the table and gave them a day's worth of education. All of the myths they had heard on fire sprinklers were countered by facts. They participated in healthy dialogue on the topic. One builder even said, "I will walk away from [this summit] with more information than I have ever gotten [on fire sprinklers] at this point."


How powerful is this type of education? I've interviewed two American builders this year (here's one of them) who told me all it took for them to change their opinion on fire sprinklers was a healthy conversation with a safety advocate on the facts.


Fire sprinklers might not be your forte, but is there a way to somehow find or embrace your inner Ferris? How can you promote fire safety in a way that's not the same ol' same ol'? How can you reach your audience with messages that are getting through? Take a page from Ferris' book--start challenging the status quo.


This post was written by Fred Durso, Jr., communications manager for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative. Follow him on Twitter @FredDursoJR.

Lightweight construction.jpg

When compared to its older counterparts, today's homebuilding material offers a more economical and environmentally friendly way of crafting new dwellings. A lesser-known fact is the dramatic way these materials respond to fire.


NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative is hosting its next webinar, Lightweight Construction: The Fire Dangers of Today's Homebuilding Materials, on June 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m. EST. Learn the science behind this type of material and why home fire sprinklers are a proven method for reducing fire's impact in new dwellings. You'll also discover free resources developed by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative to promote these dangers and necessity of fire sprinklers in new homes.


Register for the free webinar today.

sprinkler myths.jpg“Smoke Alarms, Not Sprinkler Mandates, says NAHB.”


This title appeared in a recent post on the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) blog. The post summarized a column written by NAHB for the new issue of Fire Protection Engineering Magazine, which focused primarily on residential fire safety. Consider the following half-truths and misinformation found in the blog post and magazine column:


NAHB: Our members produce homes built to building codes designed to keep their occupants safer

This statement is partially accurate. NAHB states that newer homes are built to building codes explicitly designed to make homes safer. However, a component of all U.S. model building codes is the requirement—not the option—to sprinkler all new homes. Since fire sprinklers are now an essential component, new homes built without them should be considered substandard.


For additional rebuttals to NAHB's anti-sprinkler statements, visit our Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

silver sprinkler angle.jpgOpponents of home fire sprinklers failed in their initial effort to eliminate home fire sprinklers from the 2018 edition of the International Code Council's (ICC) International Residential Code (IRC). All five anti-sprinkler proposals considered by the IRC Residential Building Code Committee at their April public hearing in Louisville, Kentucky, were rejected.


However, proponents of one proposal (RB129-16) introduced an “assembly motion,” which requires a vote by ICC members to support or oppose the committee recommendation. This proposal removes requirements for home fire sprinklers from the body of the code and places it in the appendix, making the requirement an option for adoption. We need your help to oppose/defeat the assembly motion.


What's at Stake?


The future of home fire safety in America hinges on winning this vote and upcoming votes that may occur during ICC’s final action voting in November.  Home fire sprinklers represent our best chance at combating America's fire problem. We've been successful in defending that requirement in the 2009, 2012, and 2015 editions of the IRC. If we lose in 2016, home fire safety could be set back for decades.


Take Action: Vote Online


There is a two-week online voting window that is scheduled to begin on or shortly after May 11. To vote go this website and complete the registration/sign-in process. Follow the prompts for "online voting," and search Item RB129-16 and vote against the assembly/floor motion for “approval as submitted.”


All ICC members are eligible to participate in this vote. For this vote, you do not have to be a governmental employee to participate. All current ICC members, including contractors, manufacturers, consultants, etc., are eligible to vote. Governmental employees who completed the required annual validation process prior to March 18 are also eligible to vote.


Governmental employees who did not re-validate prior to March 18th are not eligible to participate in this vote. However, governmental employees still have time to be validated for participation in final action voting later this year if their annual validation process is completed prior to September 19.  (Here's how to update your voter representative information.)


Please contact NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team with any questions.

The Fire Sprinkler Initiative has released a new video for its North American campaign underscoring the horrors of today’s home fires and the solution for reducing these tragedies.


Michelle Allyn and her two daughters, Aaliyah and Lexie Brittian, are the newest members of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative’s Faces of Fire Campaign, which humanizes the realities of families--in this case, teenagers--impacted by home fires and promotes the life-saving capability of home fire sprinklers. Soon after a fire ravaged their home in 2014, the structure was demolished. Rebuilding a safer home was a necessity for Allyn, which is why she opted for home fire sprinklers.


Watch this new video, and please help us promote this important story by:


  • Sharing the video on your social media channels
  • including it in a webpage by using this embed code: <iframe width="600" height="355" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


NFPAchats.jpgA recent summit hosted by the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition introduced attendees to something of an anomaly--a builder who fully supports home fire sprinklers. Admitting that some of his peers and local homebuilding associations take a different stance, Randy Propst, owner of Loran Construction, has seen the realities of fire sprinkler installation in new homes. He recently spoke with NFPA about his experience with this safety feature and why he's perplexed by the opposition's anti-sprinkler stance.

NFPA: Why have you started sprinklering your new homes?

I started building homes through a program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program gives specific cities a certain amount of money to do with it as they please, as long as it improves affordable housing. In Springfield, Missouri, they’ve created a “bank” for this money. I borrow money to build these affordable homes. In turn, I have to keep my rent within HUD's levels.

Four years ago, we linked up with company Arc of the Ozarks [an organization supporting individuals with disabilities]. The company would rent a home from us for the people they serve and their caregivers. As we started working with them, we realized we’re missing something here. These homes need to be universally designed, which means they can accommodate people with various limitations. Concurrently, we got on a savings, energy, and safety kick. From a safety factor, we know we needed to start including fire sprinklers. The last four or five homes have been sprinklered. We’ll probably build another five or six this year, all sprinklered. Sprinklers will now be a standard part of our package. We have also tinkered with the idea of building spec homes, and if we do, they will all be sprinklered. I want the competitive advantage. [The insignificant cost of sprinklering a home] won't make or break a home sale, but tell me who else is offering this safety feature.

Read the rest of Propst's interview by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


Last year, NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative released a quiz gauging the public's perception on home fire sprinklers and sprinkler requirements. Taken more than 2,000 times, the quiz has been a popular tool in getting fire sprinklers on the public's radar while offering them a dose of education.


For those quiz takers out there--you're in luck. We have refreshed it with a series of new questions. Take a minute and test your knowledge. Submit your score to us by replying to the comments section, and please help us share this fun tool by clicking on the social media buttons below.

Lightweight.pngNFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative has extensively covered the concerns of modern, homebuilding materials and home furnishings under fire.

For instance:

Now, we want to hear from you. The topic of lightweight construction is now featured on Xchange, NFPA's new online community that gives you the opportunity to connect with your peers on issues most important to you. (It's free to join Xchange and get involved.) Check out the new discussion on lightweight construction, and let us know what experience you have had with this material. Are you a fire service member that has responded to homes built with this material? Have you had any involvement with homes built with this material? Share your thoughts directly on Xchange.

station fire.png



In his previous post, NFPA blogger Rob Feeney discussed the nightmares and realities he experienced following the Station Nightclub fire in 2003. Grappling with the death of his fiancée, Donna, and his own injuries from the fire, Feeney underscores a burn survivor's long and arduous road to recovery:
While in the hospital, I had many visitors—in particular, Donna’s family and the priest that was going to marry Donna and me. Since Donna left behind two daughters (8 and 11 years old), I wanted to tell them how sorry I was and that it should have been me that was buried, not her. They didn’t blame me. They wanted me to concentrate on my own physical healing and promised they would be there to boost my damaged body and heart. However, I still felt responsible. I didn’t feel I deserved anyone helping me.


My first few days of regaining consciousness were confusing. In fact, it took more than two years to completely separate reality from my morphine dreams. My first day awake, there was a nurse in my room with an accent. Shelley Kelly Lewis, hailing from Nebraska, was part of a federal effort to assist with a large amount of burn injuries from the Station. Shelley became the most important person to me. She was my mental and emotional rock. By my side 18 hours a day, she told me she would make sure I get through this. At the time, part of me believed what Shelley said while the rest of me wanted to die.

Read the rest of Rob's post by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

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