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6 Posts authored by: jwilmot Employee


With truck drivers working all hours of the day to deliver critical supplies during COVID-19, the Federal Highway Administration recently announced that food trucks are permitted at interstate rest areas to help curb the appetite of the unsung heroes transporting food, personal protective equipment, medical devices, and other essentials during the shutdown instituted by the president. This timely provision has been a welcome change for road warriors across the US, given that very few restaurants are open these days and the demand for deliverables is high.

NFPA has several resources dedicated to the fire and life safety requirements associated with food trucks and other temporary cooking operations. In addition to maintaining social distance, washing hands and wiping down surfaces, food truck operators should remember to keep propane cylinders upright and secure, perform leak testing on all gas connections of the propane system, and ensure that the correct portable fire extinguishers are readily available.


Please visit for additional information. Be safe out there!

National STEM/STEAM Day, celebrated November 8 this year, was established to help students recognize and advance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Females at NFPA working in STEM/STEAM roles celebrate this mission year-round by impressing industry stakeholders, judging science fairs, mentoring kids, developing activities for people of all ages, writing and presenting on topics of interest, and by generally highlighting all the cool things relevant to STEM/STEAM.

In support of National STEM/STEAM Day, we wanted to show that there is strength in numbers related to these disciplines at NFPA – hence the great photo above (which is missing a few awesome colleagues).

NFPA values STEM/STEAM studies and the female employees who are making an impact via their roles in engineering, research, data, technology, analytics and other more obscure positions that cover STEM/STEAM territory. By industry standards our 123-year old organization has a fairly large STEM/STEAM presence with about 100 STEM/STEAM positions at our Association filled by more than 30 women.

We possess bachelor and master level degrees in STEM/STEAM areas such as chemistry, mathematics, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, fire protection engineering, industrial engineering, environmental studies, information systems, architecture, electronics and instrumentation, library and information sciences, as well as non-traditional STEM/STEAM studies (marketing, professional writing, psychology, natural residential management, urban planning, social work, media art, law, and experience in the fire service).

NFPA female engineers are often the only women in the room at standards events or technical meetings, and sometimes the youngest attendees. This should come as no surprise, as women only make up 28% of the science and engineering workforce, according to National Science Board indicators. Additionally, reports show that 80.3% of network & computer systems administrators are male.

Those that work in STEM/STEAM-related roles at NFPA are passionate about encouraging male and female students to embrace STEM/STEAM courses. We take pride in discussing our jobs with potential up-and-comers so that they have real world career insights.  The enthusiasm for our chosen field tends to shine through. Our hope is that we pique students' interest and help to usher in a new generation of STEM/STEAM-loving professionals.

The diverse projects that come with our positions and the NFPA mission are a powerful combination. We love covering a lot of ground as representatives of a global fire and life safety authority; and list the following among some of the “coolest” assignments that we are working on these days:


  • Exterior wall/facade fire analysis
  • Understanding how homes ignite in wildfires
  • Animal housing and fire testing
  • Combustible dust
  • Spaceports
  • Electrical safety
  • Community risk reduction
  • Energy storage systems and data modeling
  • Fire, pedestrian, and traffic patterns for Wildland Urban Interface fires
  • Human behavior in fire
  • Using social science to change human behavior
  • Digitizing and delivering NFPA content for today’s stakeholders
  • Understanding the needs of fire and life safety practitioners, and the public, through data and analytics


Without hesitation, the female STEM/STEAM contingent at NFPA points to collaborating with passionate co-workers, as well as working with outside parties who share similar interests, as the real secret sauce. We take a lot of pride in helping others protect people and property from risk – and know that we cannot do that in a vacuum. Additionally, we relish the chance to mold young minds who may consider STEM/STEAM studies.

As the photo up above suggests – there’s a lot to smile about on National STEM/STEAM Day - particularly when you work for a forward-thinking, game-changing organization like NFPA!


Confused about where certain topics are addressed in the latest 2019 edition of NFPA 13? You are not alone! Check out this article in PM Engineer Magazine which explains WHY NFPA 13 was reorganized and also provides an overview of who’s on first.

Is your sprinkler system ready for the holiday season? As the temperatures begin to drop, check out this article I wrote for PM Engineer Magazine to make sure your sprinkler system is prepared for this season’s cold-front. 
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The fire protection and life safety systems within a building play a valuable role during an emergency. This includes audible visible appliances and manual pull stations mounted on the walls; security systems and generators; smoke detectors as well as sprinkler systems installed at the ceiling; vents for the HVAC system; and the elevator recall. However, a single system isn’t exclusively capable of detecting, notifying, suppressing and ensuring the safe egress of building occupants, or allowing first responders to effectively do their jobs. All systems depend on “shaking hands” to collectively ensure life safety.


While it’s well understood that these systems need to be individually tested, integrated systems testing – that is, a process for testing all systems together to ensure that they coordinate with one another – is far less recognized or conducted. NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, is a new standard (issued in 2015) that works to fill that gap. It defines an integrated systems test as a test performed on fire protection and life safety systems, confirming that operation, interaction, and coordination of multiple individual systems perform their intended function.

NFPA has launched a free online micro-training, explaining what integrated systems testing entails and an overview of the requirements and guidelines in NFPA 4.


In the months ahead, NFPA will be hosting instructor-led NFPA 4 trainings in select cities throughout the U.S., offering a deeper dive into integrated systems testing. Following are dates and locations of upcoming trainings:

  • Nashville, TN – May 17
  • San Francisco, CA – July 17
  • Charlotte, NC – September 13


For starters, get educated on NFPA 4 by taking our free online micro-training.


Mobile cooking operations have been gaining popularity in recent years and the fire safety regulations are finally catching up! This presentation highlights the recent incidents that caused concern and the development of fire safety requirements for mobile cooking operations to address potential hazards.


Last week Kristin Bigda — Principal Engineer and Staff Liason for NFPA 1 — covered this topic during my NFPA Live, an exclusive for NFPA Members. During the live event we got this follow-up question. Since you are a registered user on Xchange I'm now sharing it with you. I hope you find some value in it.


We also have a free downloadable food truck fact sheet that covers some of this same information. Download this fact sheet, and print it out. It is intended to help advance safety of mobile and temporary cooking operations.

Jacqueline Wilmot is a Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA and Staff Liason for NFPA 96. 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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