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90 Posts authored by: lisamariesinatra Employee

The audio distribution industry has exploded in recent years due to the trend towards open-office concepts. But with the recent adoptions of NFPA 72, Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, and the development of UL 2572 certification of mass notification systems, audio distribution is also fast becoming a potential life safety concern.


At NFPA’s 2018 Conference & Expo, Jonathan Leonard, president of Lencore Accoustics Corp. and an NFPA member, discussed five important tips that professionals should keep in mind when designing mass notification systems to help keep people safe. Listen in as Jonathan explains what you need to know:



Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members have access to all 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session recordings, including this one? Learn more about audio distribution and mass notification technologies by watching Mr. Leonard’s full session video and browse the full list of additional education sessions here.

For more information about NFPA 72, and related codes and standards, visit

To those in the electrical field, NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is “the source” when it comes to keeping workers safe on the job. In the 2018 edition, the standard takes safety one step further by introducing human error as a factor in assessing the likelihood of an incident. 
At NFPA’s 2018 Conference & Expo, Paul Zoubek of Zoubek Consulting, LLC, and an NFPA member, explains that to assess risk, qualified persons must be familiar with human performance concepts as they pertain to risk, as well as other factors that affect the likelihood variable. One of the great features to the 2018 edition of 70E, he says, is the creation of a simplified matrix that exists in one of the Annexes that guides workers through this process with the goal of establishing a safe work condition. Zoubeck explains it this way:
Mr. Zoubek went on to say that in previous editions of 70E, emphasis was placed on job briefings, but the 2018 edition puts the focus on job planning. Understanding the risk before being on the job, Zoubek says, helps determine the likelihood of an arc flash taking place and provides employers and employees an opportunity to put controls in place with the ultimate goal of eliminating employee exposure to electrical hazards. When it comes to establishing an electrically safe work condition, the standard, he says, just keeps getting better and better. Hear why Zoubek believes everyone in the electrical industry should consider the requirements in the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E: 


Ultimately, said Zoubek, there will always be risk on the job, but the key is how much we are willing and able to mitigate it. The 2018 edition of 70E provides the means to which we can ultimately help save lives. 

If you like this post, you might be interested in this related NFPA Journal article. For more information about the 2018 edition of 70E, visit
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? If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

Fires on college campuses can have devastating consequences, impacting learning and everyday activities. But according to NFPA member, Mike Halligan from UL, safety professionals can take steps to evaluate fire risks and identify gaps to reduce (and hopefully one day eliminate) fire hazards on campus. How? It's all in the planning. And to do so means as a campus fire safety professional, you need to develop a business continuity plan that works together with fire inspections. By doing so, says Halligan, you’ll see the positive impact on your institution as operations quickly get back to normal after a fire incident. He explains below:



When it comes time to decide how you'll tackle the plan, Halligan stresses the importance of focusing on particular areas of campus that are more prone to fires, and not just looking at the campus as a collective whole. Addressing these places of interest and including regular fire inspections, Halligan says, have made a difference in mitigating the risks. Some of the key areas are: 


  • Research facilities like chemistry and biology labs
  • Housing locations
  • Special event facilities
  • Physical plants
  • Remote sites (i.e, research offices, campuses abroad)
  • Urban/wildlands


And it should be noted that these areas not only create challenges on main campuses but they can also present problems at satellite locations, as well. As more and more higher education institutions expand across the country and around the globe, safety plans can and often do vary from one location to another. Take for instance remote campuses oversees where each country relies on its own codes, standards and safety practices; they are different than here in the U.S. Halligan explains some of the challenges:



So whether your campus sits squarely in the middle of a bustling city or nestled among the hills of a suburban town, if you have one campus or multiple locations, all higher education institutions face similar challenges in keeping students, teachers and property safe from fire, electrical and related hazards. Take this opportunity during Campus Fire Safety Month to review the resources you have. Even with limited budgets, Halligan says that having professionals on your staff who possess the right skills and knowledge to understand the important link between business continuity plans and inspections can make a world of difference, as he points out in the video below:



Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members have access to all 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session recordings, including this one? Learn more about campus fire safety by watching Mr. Halligan’s full session video and browse the full list of additional education sessions here.


Additional information about campus fire safety for students can be found at

As the summer months slowly fade away and we head into fall (and gasp, winter!), our thoughts and actions steer toward the start of school and even the upcoming holidays. But in fact, the fall season is actually a time when hurricanes, thunderstorms, wildfires, and other natural disasters make their impressive mark and affect the way we live our daily lives. If you've seen the news lately, you know that the east coast is currently bracing for Hurricane Florence, and expected to make landfall this week. Did you know that while hurricane season begins May 15 and ends Nov. 30, according to the National Weather Service, most of these storms peak in October? You don’t have to look too far back to remember Superstorm Sandy that hit the east coast in October 2012 to understand how powerful these storms can be.
And it’s not just hurricanes that make the news: Southern California begins experiencing troublesome Santa Ana winds in October, which have been known to increase the intensity of an existing wildfire or turn a small brush fire into an a blaze, and the Plains and Great Lake regions often start their battle with freezing conditions and snow. 
According to the Weather Channel, other memorable storms that have battered the U.S. in October include:
  • October 2013: Winter Storm Atlas hammered the High Plains with blizzard conditions
  • October 2011: The "Snowtober" storm knocked out power to over 3 million in the Northeast.
  • October 2010: The "Octobomb" storm set all-time low pressure records in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and spawned severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Ohio Valley and Mid-South.
  • October 2006: Heavy lake-effect snow damages many trees, knocks out power to one million customers in Buffalo, New York.
With National Preparedness Month upon is, it’s incumbent upon all of us who are tasked with protecting people and property from fire, electrical and related hazards to work with each other and with our communities before emergencies affect our areas. Being better prepared for and collaborating during and after an emergency is key to also getting operations back to normal as quickly as possible.
NFPA provides a wealth of information for professionals including building owners and facility managers, first responders, health care facility managers, electrical professionals, and more. The following is a sneak peak of what's available on our website:
  • First responders face many hazards when working with vehicles that have been submerged in water, particularly with hybrid or electrical vehicles. Our newest Submerged Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Bulletin breaks down the safety issues to help keep first responders safe.
  • Electrical professionals are often tasked with equipment maintenance for electrical, electronic and communication systems and equipment found in multi-family residential complexes, industrial plants, and commercial buildings to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries. Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster.
These are just a few of the great resources NFPA provides to help guide you in your emergency preparedness efforts. With so much “weather” happening across the country these days, don’t wait until it’s too late to take advantage of this great material. Let us know how we can help.
For these and other sources of information including related blog posts and articles, visit

Wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods; this past year Mother Nature has spoken loudly and clearly about the importance of preparing ahead. Today, it’s not a matter of “if” a natural disaster will occur where we live, but when. Are your communities prepared to handle whatever weather event Mother Nature throws our way in the coming months? In the coming years? This September we’re highlighting National Preparedness Month sponsored by to remind first responders, fire and life safety educators, and others tasked with helping keep citizens safe, that now is the time to help residents plan and prepare before an emergency happens. This year’s theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.


As safety educators we have a role to play in raising awareness in our neighborhoods and our communities about taking action to create safer places to live. Each week during National Preparedness Month, NFPA will provide tips, resources and information that can get you started. Check out our blog, Fire Break, where we’ll talk about adapting to and preparing for wildfires that can threaten homes, businesses and a community’s way of life. Our public education blog, Safety Source, and NFPA’s signature blog, NFPA Today, will highlight how building owners, facility managers, electrical professionals, first responders, policymakers and other professionals tasked with helping save lives and property from fire, electrical and other hazards and emergencies, can make a difference in areas where they live and with the people they serve. In all of these blogs you’ll find toolkits, checklists, videos and more that are easily shareable and some even customizable. Additional information will be shared through our social channels.


So don’t delay. Use National Preparedness Month as the catalyst for taking action. Stay tuned throughout September for continued updates and ways you and your community can work together to make a difference. For additional information about preparing for disasters, visit


NOTE: Not a member of our Xchange platform? You’ll want to be! Go beyond just reading the blogs; take advantage of easy access to great content, connections with other professionals, and to ask questions. It’s simple to do and it’s free. Don’t delay, register today!

campus fire safety

NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety have long been advocates for fire safety on college campuses and September we’re teaming up again to promote Campus Fire Safety for Students, a campaign that raises awareness about the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus college housing.


According to The Center, during the 2017/2018 school year, one student lost her life in a Portland, Oregon off-campus fire.  A recent fire in San Marcos, Texas claimed the life of four additional students living off-campus during the school break in July.  From 2000 through mid-August 2018, 132 students died in 92 fatal fires on college campuses, in Greek housing, or in privately owned off-campus housing within three miles of the campus. Of the 92 fatal fires, 79 of them occurred in off-campus housing claiming 113 victims.

Are you involved in campus fire safety activities where you work? If yes, use September as the catalyst for raising awareness of college fire safety and have those conversations with students. The campaign provides a host of resources that focus on fire safety in college housing to help. Many resources are customizable and have been designed for sharing via social media, on college websites, in school newspapers, and for posting in dorms and on common area bulletin boards. They include:

  • Videos
  • Checklists
  • Tip sheets
  • Infographics and flyers
  • Posters

Find these and additional resources and information at

Hurricane Lane has made landfall along parts of Hawaii’s Big Island today triggering landslides and threatening serious flooding, according to CNN. About 7 to 12 inches of rain have already fallen since this morning and is considered one of the biggest threats to the island in decades. 
As Lane bears down on the Aloha State, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is alerting contractors in the area of their “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment” document aimed specifically at contractors who will be called in to help with the damage assessment once the waters have receded. The guide is free and available to download on NEMA's website.
The document provides guidelines on how to handle electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. It’s designed for suppliers, installers, inspectors and users of electrical products, and outlines items that require complete replacement or those that can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Such equipment includes:
  • Electrical distribution equipment
  • Power equipment
  • Transformers
  • Wire, cable and flexible cords
  • Wiring devices
  • GFCIs and surge protectors
  • Lighting fixtures and ballasts,
  • Motors and electronic products
According to NEMA, field representatives are reaching out to local officials in Hawaii with guidance on restoring electrical systems affected by wind, rain or flooding. NEMA also recommends that inspectors, suppliers and others contact the original manufacturer of the equipment if there are questions and/or a need for specific recommendations. 
Industry professionals looking for additional information about electrical safety related to hurricanes and storms can visit NFPA’s webpage for emergency preparedness.  
Photo: CNN

With the Fourth of July approaching and the summer months upon us, indulging in barbecues, holiday parties and swimming often top the list of activities to enjoy during the summer season. To help everyone do so safely, NFPA is reminding people about potential summer fire and electrical hazards, and providing tips and recommendations to minimize them.

Fireworks: Fireworks are festive and fun to watch but NFPA recommends that revelers refrain from using consumer fireworks and attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. Did you know that on Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for nearly half of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2017 Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. So this year, reduce your risk for injuries and leave the sparklers, candles and spinners to the professionals!

Grilling fire safety: All types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires and roughly 9,600 home grill fires were reported per year. The leading causes of fire were a failure to clean the grill, using the grill too close to something that could burn, and leaving the grill unattended.   

The following are tips for grillers:

  • The grill should be placed well away the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. The grill should also be a safe distance away from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Have a three-foot (1 meter) “kid-free zone” around the grill.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays below.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD): Electric Shock Drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. Here are tips for swimmers and boat owners:

Tips for swimmers:

  • Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.
  • Obey all “no swimming” signs on docks.

Tips for boat owners:

  • Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.
  • Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. 

You can find more information about electrical safety in pools, spas and hot tubs on NFPA’s “electrical safety around water” webpage. Find this and all related summer fire safety-related resources including videos, checklists and tipsheets at Have a safe, fun summer, everyone!



No matter where we live in the world, when it comes to fire prevention and protection in our homes and in public spaces, safety is not something we can (or should) take for granted. Recent headlines have told the story too many times of a safety system gone wrong: the London Grenfell Tower apartment building fire and the Oakland, California Ghost Ship fire - both examples of horrible tragedies that ultimately exposed a lapse in applying a code(s), enforcement, awareness and/or education around fire safety. These examples and many others signal that unless we all work together on this problem, these tragedies will continue to occur.


In Tuesday’s session, “Prioritizing Fire Prevention & Protection Through the Lens of a Safety Ecosystem” at NFPA’s Conference & Expo, Guy Colonna, NFPA Senior Director of Engineering, spoke about this safety ecosystem concept and what it means not only for NFPA but for organizations across the globe. Colonna’s presentation comes on the heels of the conference’s Opening General Session, where NFPA president Jim Pauley spoke at length about the need to focus on collective action and to create a fully functioning fire and life safety system.


guy colonna


“The NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem is made up of eight key elements that play a critical role in protecting people and property,” said Colonna. “We identified eight because, keeping people and property safe from fire and related hazards is not the work of any one stakeholder or element of this system; it takes all of us working together and practicing it every day no matter what our role.”


The challenge is how can we plan, manage, build, and operate safe structures while at the same time meet the needs of everyone involved. It starts, he says, with understanding how important our work is to the people who depend on us. 


Colonna asked members of the audience to consider his/her role in a project. He went on to ask them to consider the stakeholders involved and their interactions with them – what is their role and responsibility in the project? Then he asked, what happens if these stakeholders are not involved in discussions and decisions, or what if an identified role or function for one of these stakeholders does not exist in their jurisdiction. “Time after time, when we have seen incidents involving fire, electrical or related hazards,” he says, “we can trace the cause of those situations to a breakdown in the safety ecosystem. Now is the time to understand the role we play and to work together to achieve our vision to eliminate death, injury, property and economic loss from fire, electrical and related hazards.”


As we participate, support and promote the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem going forward, says Colonna, NFPA pledges to work with everyone involved in the system and to be a source of information and knowledge for all. Stay tuned for more information about the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem and visit our website for resources at

hurricanesThis week, Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida and is expected to bring more rain to surrounding areas during the week. Alberto ushers in the official hurricane season, which starts June 1. Weather officials say the 2018 hurricane season is shaping up to be “near- or above-normal,” and they say there's a 75 percent chance we’ll see near or more than the average number of storms in the Atlantic. 
To help residents navigate this storm season, NFPA provides the following electrical safety tips that can help reduce the risk for injury before, during, and after a storm:
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities, and turn off propane tanks.
  • Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous.
  • Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don’t see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area.
  • If your home has experienced flooding, it’s important to keep your power off until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned.
  • If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
  • In the event that electricity may not be available to your home yet and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution.
The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator:
  • Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.
NFPA’s safety tip sheet on portable generators provides these steps and more to help keep you safe. Find it at
For any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit our electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources.
More severe weather safety information is available by visiting NFPA’s severe storm fire safety webpage.

It’s almost here; the “unofficial” marker of summer – Memorial Day – and after a long, long, LONG winter, many of us are more than ready to start enjoying the warm days and nights, outdoor parties, and lots of grilling!


To start off the season on the right safety foot, we created this short, fun video that puts your knowledge about grilling to the test. See if you can answer all four questions correctly. Learn the basics of safe grilling practices side by side with other homeowners who bravely, and in good fun, volunteered in our video to answer the same questions. Watch the video below:

If your plans take you away from home, NFPA provides additional information on portable grilling including tips and reminders about using charcoal and staying fire safe at places like campgrounds, tailgating parties, and other outdoor venues.


Statistics show that most grilling fires happen in July, followed by May, June and August. So wherever your plans take you this Memorial Day weekend and through the summer, remember that fire safety is one of the best gifts you can give yourself, your family, and friends. Enjoy the holiday, everyone!


For this and more great grilling information, visit

It goes without saying that electricity makes our lives easier (just ask New Englanders who wrestled with four (!) blizzards in March that knocked out power for days and even weeks!) but there’s also a good chance that many of us are not really aware of the risks involved.

That’s why NFPA actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety, including worker safety, during May. This year’s theme is: Understanding the Code that Keeps Us Safe. 


In case you didn’t know, the code we’re referring to in this year’s theme is the NEC (or NFPA 70: National Electrical Code). The NEC provides practical safeguards from the hazards that arise from using electricity. You may not know that it’s also the most widely adopted safety code in the U.S. and the world, and that the NEC serves as the benchmark for safe electrical installations for use by electricians (that's why NFPA strongly urges residents to use a qualified electrician to do all of their home electrical projects).

This month our organizations are providing resources you can use like infographics, videos, tip sheets, fact sheets, and more. The resources are easy to access and they cover a wide range of topics including electrical safety tips for the home, outdoor electrical safety, and workplace safety.

To help illustrate what we mean about electrical safety in the home, take a look at our video below called, “A Shocking Revelation.” The video features our beloved character, Dan Doofus, who learns from his mistakes and forges a new path for safer electrical practices in his home.

The more we’re all aware of the risks associated with electricity, the faster we can start putting safety practices into place. Let NFPA and ESFI help you get started. Find information on NFPA’s electrical safety webpage and share what you learn with family, friends and your neighbors. Together, let’s make a pledge this May to raise awareness about electrical hazards in our homes, work environment and schools, and help reduce the risk of electrical injuries and property damage in our communities.

The 2018 edition of 70E is now available and NFPA developed a short five-part video series featuring NFPA technical experts, Chris Coache, senior electrical engineer, and Derek Vigstol, electrical technical lead, who explain some of the key changes. The topics discussed in the series include: 70E, worker safety
  • Article 110.1(H) – Risk Assessment Procedure
  • Article 120 – How to Establish an Electrically Safe Work Condition
  • Table 130.5(C) – Estimate of the Likelihood of Occurrence of an Arc Flash Incident
  • Table 130.5(G) – Selection of Arc-Rated Clothing Using Incident Energy Analysis Method
  • Standards for Personal Protective Equipment
Learn how these changes to the code reflect new technologies, knowledge and safety advancements in the industry, and how they relate to the job you do. If you missed any of the videos, find the full series online.
At NFPA our goal is to provide you with everything you need to take your electrical safety skills to the next level. This series and additional resources related to 70E including articles, a blog series, fact sheet, 2018 online training, products and more, can be found at         

The 2018 edition of 70E is now available and NFPA has developed a five-part video series featuring our technical experts who can help explain some of the changes. In our fifth and final video, Chris Coache, NFPA’s senior electrical engineer, and Derek Vigstol, NFPA’s electrical technical lead, discuss Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE).


According to Chris, you’ll notice the change in how NFPA addresses PPE from the 2015 edition to this current edition. What you’ll discover is, in the 2015 edition where PPE “shall conform to the standards listed in Table 130.7(C)(14)”; in the 2018 edition it now states, “PPE shall now conform to applicable state, federal, or local codes and standards.”


Another change focuses on labels. Just reading a label and taking it at face value, Chris says, is not enough. Employers should consider teaching employees and/or the purchasing staff what to look for in a label (meaning: deciphering whether the gear is genuine or a knock-off). Ask yourself: do you have the confidence to know which standard is applicable to your gear? Are you secure in your knowledge that the gear has conformed to rigorous testing and has met the necessary requirements for safety?


At the end of the day, Derek says, we all want to do our job safely and return home. Understanding how to put practice into action when it comes to PPE is paramount if our goal is to see zero injuries on the job. What it all comes down to, they say, is education, training and understanding human error.


Learn more about the Standards for Personal Protective Equipment and get the full explanation from Chris below. (NOTE: This clip is part of a pre-recorded full webinar presented in July 2017).    



At NFPA our goal is to provide you with everything you need to take your electrical safety skills to the next level. Find this information and additional resources related to 70E including articles, blog series, a fact sheet, trainings, products and more, at     

As you know, the 2018 edition of 70E is now available. To help you navigate through some of the key changes, we’ve developed a five-part video series hosted by NFPA’s technical experts that helps explain some of these changes. 

In our fourth video, Chris Coache, NFPA’s senior electrical engineer, reviews Table 130.5(G) – Selection of Arc-Rated Clothing Using Incident Energy Analysis Method. 


Table 130.5(G), as Chris points out, used to be in the annex but is now in the mandatory text section. Why? Because when doing an incident energy analysis, employers often have been incorrectly using the PPE category table to determine the required PPE. As employers we are committed to protecting our staff from an arc flash hazard. So to help, we put this table up front to help guide you on how to select the appropriate gear for the incident energy analysis method. 


Want to learn more? Get the full explanation from Chris below. (NOTE: This clip is part of a pre-recorded full webinar presented in July 2017).    

Let NFPA provide you with everything you need to take your electrical safety skills to the next level with knowledge gained right from the source. Find this information and additional resources related to 70E including articles, blog series, a fact sheet, trainings. products and more, at     

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