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20 Posts authored by: kathleenalmand Employee

Yesterday, at the invitation of Transport Canada's Emergency Response Task Force, an NFPA team consisting of Shayne Mintz, our Canadian Regional Representative, Ken Willette and Tom McGowan from our Public Fire Protection Division and I spent the day with 50 members of the Canadian fire service, government, and rail and oil industries to discuss how we might meet their needs for standards, guidance and training for emergency response to crude oil railcar derailments.

There have been an average of one of these incidents in North America every couple of months or so; the incident in Lac Megantic Quebec killed over 40 people 2 years ago.

The outcome of the meeting was a resounding endorsement of NFPA as the standards pathway for emergency responder competency standards. The task force also identified the need for a short term solution that pulls together current information which the Research Foundation may be able to help with.


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Transportation ministers express concern over rail safety

The Research Foundation is embarking on two new projects designed to provide information for NFPA Technical Committees developing fire suppression guidance.

The first project is directed toward NFPA 13's provisions on fire sprinkler installation in sloped ceiling configurations in storage facilities.  The project is beginning with a collaboration between the Foundation and FM Global Research designed to identify common sloped ceiling configurations and model sprinkler actuation.


The second project is directed toward NFPA 75 and 76 and its focus is gaseous suppression effectiveness in data centers and telecommunications facilities.  This first phase project is a literature review of available information for the Technical Committee.


Both projects will be complete in 2015.

In addition to a full SupDet suppression and detection program this year, the Foundation will feature a workshop on inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems and emerging challenges.  The workshop, (free to SupDet participants) will address recent questions raised about what constitutes proper ITM activities. Some of the questions that will be considered are:

  • How much do current ITM requirements improve the effectiveness of fire protection systems? Are there gaps?
  • How are ITM programs being implemented currently? What is needed by enforcers?
  • Are additional activities, such as design evaluations or re-commissioning, warranted?
  • On the other side, what is the cost/benefit ratio of ITM activities? Is there a technical basis for the required frequencies?

The goal of this workshop is to establish a research plan on the topic of ITM and fire protection system effectiveness.

The Research Foundation completed 30 projects in 2014. All are candidates for the Research Foundation medal, recognizing the project which best exemplifies the Foundation's fire safety mission, technical challenges overcome, and collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all our projects. See the list of 2015 Foundation Medal candidates (PDF).

The review process is underway and the winner will be announced at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago, June 22-25. 

The winning project of the 2014 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal was “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results.” Thomas Long (center) accepted the Medal on behalf of his team from Kathleen Alamand of the Fire Protection Research Foundation and former NFPA Chair Philip Stittleburg during NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

 As the number and complexity of data and telecommunications centers grows, NFPA standards are evolving to address their fire protection needs.  The Research Foundation is initiating a study to explore the performance of gaseous fire suppression systems in high airflow spaces created by these centers.  A Request for Proposals  for Project Contractor has been issued; proposals should be submitted to Amanda Kimball by January 9, 2015, 5 pm EST.

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