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101 Posts authored by: lisamariesinatra Employee

This week, NFPA launched NFPA LiNK, a new digital platform, with the four most recent editions of NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC). NFPA LiNK provides up-to-date code information and situational context that professionals and practitioners need to better understand problems and develop solutions in real time while on the job. It has been designed for people responsible for building, electrical, and life safety, and NFPA LiNK can be accessed via mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or other preferred device.NFPA LiNK

Electrical professionals and practitioners have turned to NFPA codes and standards to perform their work more efficiently and effectively for more than a century. In fact, the NEC is the most widely used code in the United States and is referenced around the globe.

Over time, however, the ways in which electrical professionals have approached their jobs have shifted; work now demands employees have the most current, relevant information and resources available at their fingertips to help solve problems quickly and at any given location. To help address these growing needs, NFPA LiNK will become a “living library” for users that offers:  

  • The ability to work alongside the NEC by adding personal notes, assigning colors, and saving to custom collections for quick and easy reference
  • A broader understanding of code requirements through access to expert commentary, visual aids, and helpful resources
  • Collaboration features to share code sections, work across teams, and ensure everyone is knowledgeable of what is required


NFPA LiNK subscribers will also get access to continuous updates, features and functions, and new editions of NFPA codes and standards as they are released. NFPA will expand the collection of codes and standards within the application to include the more than 300 that NFPA offers.

Want to learn more? Find information about the platform, a timeline of additional codes and standards that will be coming to NFPA LiNK, and a product introduction video at

In the September/October 2020 issue of NFPA Journal, Derek Vigstol, NFPA's senior electrical content specialist, offers his insights on NFPA LiNK in his article, “Game Changer.”

Find out today how NFPA LiNK can help you. Sign up for a free trial and subscribe to NFPA LiNK by visiting the website.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Laura, which made landfall along the Gulf Coast in late August, was the strongest hurricane to strike Louisiana to date with wind gusts of more than 150 mph and a dangerous storm surge that also affected parts of the Texas coast.


With extensive power outages across the state that are expected to last many weeks, many residents have turned to portable generators for relief. Recent news paints a grim picture, however, reporting that eight of the 15 deaths associated with Hurricane Laura were caused by the improper use of these generators. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the deaths were a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, a colorless, odorless gas that can build up inside enclosed spaces.generator safety


Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards, said in a recent news conference, “We need people to be very safe and cautious when they run a generator.” In response, the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal announced that “search and rescue teams are making it a part of their mission to ensure people are using generators safely.”


NFPA has a safety tip sheet on portable generators that provides important steps for using a portable generator. The tip sheet can be downloaded for free and shared, and includes the following guidelines and more:


  • 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.
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.


To date, Louisiana continues to tackle the damage to its grid infrastructure in the southwestern part of the state and restore power to the more than 250,000 residents still affected.


For answers to questions or concerns about a home’s electrical system due to the storm, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit NFPA’s electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources.


Related information can be found on NFPA’s “emergency preparedness” webpage.


Watching news reports over the past few weeks it’s hard to miss scenes of the destructive wildfires raging across Northern California that to date have taken the lives of seven people and destroyed more than 2,500 structures. During the last few days all eyes have also been focused on the Gulf Coast where communities there experienced unprecedented hurricane activity, which caused massive flooding and power outages. Yet even with Fall fast approaching, the peak of hurricane and wildfire seasons is upon us. Weather experts now predict upwards of 25 named storms before hurricane season concludes in November—twice as many as a typical year—and wildfires, which used to have more defined “seasons,” have been known to threaten high-risk states through the winter.

With many of these events there is a need for government agencies and aid organizations to shelter potentially thousands of storm and fire evacuees. But as many have discovered, there are numerous challenges to responding to a major natural disaster during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to emergency management experts, the threat of a massive evacuation together with a dangerous pandemic have caused organizations to make significant changes to its disaster response and recovery plans.


In the latest episode of the NFPA Podcast, “Disaster Planning During a Pandemic,” host Jesse Roman, assistant editor of NFPA Journal, speaks with Luke Beckford, the division disaster state relations director of the American Red Cross Pacific Division who discusses different strategies his organization used to assist evacuees of the Apple Fire in Southern California in early August. NFPA Podcast co-host Robbie Dawson, NFPA’s Southeastern regional director, also talks to Anna McRay, a local emergency management director in North Carolina who tells us how her department planned for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias during the pandemic, and what they did differently around sheltering and emergency operations.


Similar agencies are also adapting their emergency disaster planning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as highlighted in a new article, Calamity Before the Storm, in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal. In both the podcast and the article, emergency management professionals share lessons they have learned in the hopes that it might help other organizations meet similar challenges in the weeks and months ahead. Topics addressed in the interviews include:


  • Ways to approach the process of amending emergency response plans to the current pandemic
  • Using historical precedents and lessons learned from recent disasters that can help with current events
  • Using NFPA 1616, Standard on Mass Evacuation, Sheltering, and Re-entry Programs, which addresses this type of scenario, and the mechanisms that are in place for those who use the document to adapt their normal plans to fit the current situation
  • Ways to provide emergency shelter and food, and comfort to evacuees without spreading the COVID-19 virus
  • The importance of developing/strengthening community partnerships
  • Keeping emergency workers healthy during the crisis
  • The need for continued workforce training
  • Mechanisms for safely delivering medical services to shelters


While emergency managers say their mission hasn’t changed, the way in which they fulfill the mission has, and both McRay, Beckford, and others have learned a great deal from their experiences handling a crisis during the pandemic. So much so, they say that several new strategies will likely change how they do their jobs in the future, even after the pandemic is over. 


Listen to the full podcast and read the entire article by visiting the NFPA Podcast webpage at and NFPA Journal. Related information can be found on the Journal webpage.





It may seem counterintuitive, but the fall season is actually a time when hurricanes, thunderstorms, wildfires, and other natural disasters make their impressive mark across many areas of the U.S., often disrupting the rhythm of our daily lives. If you’ve seen the news lately, you’ve witnessed the wildfires in California, which experts now say are more severe than any previous time in history, and in an unprecedented moment, two hurricanes made landfall within days of each other on the Gulf Coast.


Hurricane season began June 1 and ends in late November but according to the National Weather Service, most of these storms peak in late September and October. You don’t have to look too far back to remember Superstorm Sandy that hit the east coast in October 2012 to understand the power of these storms. And it’s not just hurricanes or wildfires that make the news: the Plains and Great Lake regions often start their battle with freezing conditions and snowfall during the fall months. 


This September, as we honor National Preparedness Month, it’s incumbent upon all of us who are tasked with protecting people and property from fire, electrical, and related hazards to work together before emergencies affect our areas. The theme for this year’s campaign, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” reminds us that being better prepared before, during, and after an emergency is key to getting operations back to normal as quickly as possible.


NFPA has a wealth of information to help guide building owners and facility managers, first responders, health care facility managers, electrical professionals, and the public, as they prepare ahead of weather events in their area. These resources are free and can be easily shared:


For Facility Managers and Business Owners:


For First Responders:

  • First responders face many hazards when working with vehicles that have been submerged in water, particularly with hybrid or electrical vehicles. NFPA’s Submerged Hybrid/Electrical Vehicle Bulletin breaks down the safety issues to help keep first responders safe.


For Electrical Professionals:

  • 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. NFPA’s Natural Disaster Electrical Equipment Checklist builds off of recommendations in Chapter 32 of the 2019 edition of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance and provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster.


Wildfire Resources: 

  • fact sheet and related information provides residents and businesses with easy wildfire risk reduction steps they can do around their homes and buildings to make them safer from wildfire and blowing embers.
  • With the peak of hurricane and wildfire seasons upon us, government agencies and aid organizations will need to shelter potentially thousands of storm and fire evacuees. The latest NFPA Podcast, Disaster Planning During a Pandemic, introduces two emergency management experts who share lessons learned from responding to past incidents during the pandemic, including several new strategies that will likely stay long after the pandemic is over.


For Healthcare Providers:


With so much “weather” happening across the country, the time to start preparing communities is now. Make Preparedness Month the jump start you need to put your plans in place.


For these and other related information sources, visit additional information about National Preparedness Month by visiting

Every year, the month of September marks the launch of the school year with new classes, new friends, and often new living spaces. This year, however, as communities face unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, life on college campuses is playing out very differently. While some colleges and universities have opted for full remote learning, others are welcoming students back to campus, and still others are offering a combination of the two. This has educators, administrators, public health officials, and first responders continually working on ways to safely operate schools this year.


The emphasis, of course, has understandably been placed on the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, but it’s campus fire safetyalso important to remember that we must continue to maintain adequate levels of fire and life safety on college campuses throughout the year. During Campus Fire Safety Month in September, NFPA and the Center for Campus Fire Safety will be sharing resources including fact sheets, tip sheets, videos, and other materials for students, parents, and fire safety educators that focus on reducing fire risk in college housing. These resources are free to download and can be shared.


Resources for fire safety educators:


  • NFPA’s new fact sheet, Building and Life Safety Issues for Safely Reopening Schools, provides fire and life safety considerations for schools as they prepare to re-open, including building modifications like door operability, classroom usage, seating arrangements, and partitions, as well egress management and storage of hand sanitizer and cleaning products.
  • Fire doors and other opening protectives such as shutters and windows must be operable at all times. While propping doors and windows open so no one has to touch them may seem like a safer option to stop the spread of germs, interfering with the operation of fire doors can have grave consequences during a fire. Learn more in this recent blog.
  • Hand sanitizer and other cleaning products classified as flammable and combustible liquids present fire safety concerns, especially when they are stored or used in bulk quantities. Storage of large quantities of flammable and combustible liquids might compromise safety if the fire protection systems are not designed to protect the storage of such quantities of flammable liquids. Get additional information on fire safety considerations for hand sanitizer in a recent NFPA video. Information can also be found in the Building and Life Safety Issues for Safely Reopening Schools fact sheet mentioned above.


According to NFPA and the Center for Campus Fire Safety, September and October have the highest incidences for fires in dormitories. This year “move in” date processes are different due to the pandemic with many rules now in place that limit the number of people who can accompany students into their new living quarters. Students and their guests, however, are still encouraged, when moving in and in the days following, to take steps to ensure living arrangements are fire safe.


Resources for students and parents that can help during the move-in process:



Other tips include:


  • Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or house. Make sure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. In dorms, make sure each sleeping room has a smoke alarm or the dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping rooms. NEVER remove or disable smoke alarms.
  • Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable lights and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps.
  • Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Never leave cooking equipment unattended, even briefly.


For those on campus, resources including videos, checklists, infographics, tip sheets, and more have been designed to be shared through social media, school newspapers, college websites, and posted in dormitory common areas.


Find these and additional resources at and on the Center for Campus Fire Safety website.



Hurricanes Marco and Laura are fast approaching the Gulf Coast this week and experts are calling their arrival “unprecedented” as the two storms are expected to make landfall within days of each other. As the Gulf states prepare for the storms' impact, weather experts continue to remind coastal communities that additional storms may still be on the horizon, with late September and October being the peak months for hurricane activity.


To help, NFPA has a wealth of electrical systems information for electrical professionals, first responders, and building professionals who must prepare for, respond, and recover from these natural disasters. The following are free and available for download:


  • 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.


  • First responders face many hazards when working with vehicles that have been submerged in water, particularly with hybrid or electrical vehicles. Our Submerged Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Bulletin breaks down the safety issues to help keep first responders safe.



Also, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has a free resource, “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment” for electrical contractors who will be called in to help with damage assessments once the waters have receded. Visit their website for additional information.


With hurricane season lasting through November, businesses in coastal regions are encouraged to take action now to ensure they are prepared for impending storms. As experience tells us, being better prepared for and collaborating during and after an emergency is key to getting operations back to normal as quickly as possible.

For these and other related sources of information including blog posts and articles, visit our website.

With the arrival of summer and the July 4th holiday weekend just around the corner, people across the country are eager to take advantage of the easing of stay-at-home orders. As many states begin allowing for more outside activities, it’s important to recognize potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools and hot tub, onboard boats, and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps.


While most people are unaware of electrical dangers posed in water environments such as electric shock drowning (ESD), each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. 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. 


In the current pandemic situation, with limited staff at marinas and people obeying social distancing protocols, the onus is on individuals to keep themselves, their loved ones, and the people who might have to rescue them out of harm’s way.


Check out NFPA's video below on water safety that informs the public of the dangers of electricity surrounding marinas, docks, and boatyards. 



 Here are some tips for pool and boat owners, as well as swimmers:


Tips for swimmers

  • Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard.
  • While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker, or work intermittently.
  • If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.


            Tips for pool owners

  • Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away.


Tips for boat owners

  • When heading out for a day on the water, follow all existing navigation and safety rules. Practice good seamanship and avoid becoming a boater in distress. With the current pandemic, there may be fewer staff at the marina and fewer rescue personnel available to come to your aid. 
  • Contact your local marina or boatyard in advance to learn about any local requirements in response to the pandemic that must be followed - especially if you are a transient customer.
  • Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. These areas can contain stray electrical currents in the water, possibly leading to electric shock drowning or injury from shock, including death.
  • Each year, and after any 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.
  • Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina’s electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code (NEC).
  • Have ground fault circuit protection (GFCI and GFPE) installed on circuits supplying the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that bear the proper listing mark for marine applications when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.

For industry professionals, the 2020 edition of the NEC has been revised to improve marina and boatyard safety and help reduce the risk of ESD. Some specific revisions to Article 555 include the addition of floating building requirements, modified signage requirement, and the reduction of power distribution system maximum voltage.


NFPA has additional codes and standards that apply to boatyards, marinas and floating buildings as well as swimming pools, hot tubs, and fountains, and their related electrical safety issues. Find these resources and more by visiting NFPA’s electric shock drowning webpage.


NFPA has resources for swimmers, boat and pool owners, including tip sheets, checklists, and more that can be downloaded and shared. Please visit

Do you know someone with a passion for home fire safety? Is this person a huge proponent for home fire sprinklers? If so, you can celebrate his/her work with a formal award. 


NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are now accepting nominations for their Bringing Safety Home Award, which recognizes outstanding efforts by a safety advocate who diligently promotes the importance of home fire sprinklers.




The Award honors members of the fire service and other fire sprinkler advocates in North America who use HFSC educational materials, NFPA data, and NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to educate decision-makers on home fire sprinklers. Efforts are aimed at educating the public and policy makers to increase the use of home fire sprinklers in new homes. The award winner will receive a $1,000 grant to further fire sprinkler advocacy and educational efforts in his/her area.


Don’t delay. Make sure your favorite home fire safety leader gets the recognition he/she deserves. NFPA and HFSC are accepting nominations for the Bringing Safety Home Award through March 27, 2020Download the application form then send it to Or visit NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative webpage where you can find the form along with additional information and resources about the Initiative and the award.


NFPA is now accepting nominations for the 2020 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal, which recognizes outstanding advocacy efforts aimed at reducing losses associated with fire, electrical, or other hazards.

The advocacy medal honors an individual or group that shares the values of former NFPA President James Shannon. During his 12-year tenure as president, Shannon had an exceptional record of advocacy efforts tied to life safety issues. Under his leadership, NFPA considerably advanced its mission of fire safety, most notably by spearheading the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes and advocating for fire sprinklers in all new homes.

Nominees should be involved in advocacy efforts that advance NFPA’s mission, take into account cost-effectiveness, and involve collaboration with NFPA and other organizations. Previous medal recipients include Jon Nisja who played a key role in changing model codes and strengthening Minnesota’s fire code. NFPA recognized Jim Dalton in 2018 for his efforts supporting a career-long commitment to fire safety which led to the passage of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Legislator Ann Jones received the medal in 2017 following her efforts leading to a nationwide requirement for home fire sprinklers in Wales.

Nominations are open to members of the fire service or any other person or group whose advocacy efforts meet the award’s criteria. The medal recipient will be honored at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, in June 2020. NFPA will cover the recipient’s travel and lodging.

The nominee application, which is available for download, is has been extended to February 5, 2020 and can be sent to


Photo: John Nisja (center) accepts the 2019 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal from NFPA's Lorraine Carli (left), Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy, and Jim Pauley (right) President and CEO.


Almost every day in the news, we read about (another) house fire. Families, first responders, communities severely affected. Homes damaged or completely destroyed. Last year, unfortunately, was no different.

In particular, the last few months of 2019 were difficult for the fire department in Worcester, Massachusetts, a city not far from NFPA headquarters. In November, a Worcester firefighter, Lt. Jason Menard, died battling a home fire. Menard’s death occurred just weeks before events to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire, a devastating event that killed six of the city’s firefighters. In the wake of this tragedy, news outlets, including The Boston Globe and The Worcester Telegram, and others close to the event, have urgently called for more sprinklers in residences.

As home fire sprinkler adoption continues to be debated in many states, there remains much misinformation about the effectiveness and benefits of home fire sprinklers. But NFPA and like-minded organizations see, first hand, the benefits of sprinklers. In the January/February 2020 edition of NFPA Journal, NFPA President and CEO, Jim Pauley, takes a hard look at the realities of these devastating home fires, and explains why home fire sprinklers must be at the forefront of our fire and life safety discussions.

With a new year upon us now, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s been happening in the fire and life safety world, how far we’ve come, and just how much more we have to do to help keep people and property safe from hazards. The reality is, while there are still many incidents happening here and across the globe, our work can never truly be done. Ecosystem


When recognizing these challenges, though, it’s important to note that no one organization or group can solve all of the problems by itself. It requires a holistic approach, one that includes collaboration across all disciplines, and a shared view that safety is a true system – not a singular action, piece of equipment, or even one event.


To help guide us through this approach, NFPA has developed a concept called the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem. It’s a framework that identifies eight key components that must work together to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. Many of you are already talking about this concept and incorporating it into your daily work. In so doing, you’ve asked about resources to help share this concept with others. We’re pleased to say we’ve developed a new Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem PowerPoint Deck you can use when making presentations or engaging in conversation with staff, your peers, colleagues, and other industry professionals with whom you interact. Just pick and choose the slides and the information you need from the original deck template.


The deck includes:

  • A brief history of NFPA and the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem
  • The full Ecosystem graphic and individual cogs for easy download
  • Talking points

… and more


Find the deck on our Ecosystem webpage (Resources section), together with related information, and stay tuned for additional resources and tools that will become available throughout the year.


As 2020 swings into gear, don’t just think about the role you play in making the world a safer place; consider taking real action. The Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem can help be your guide.

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

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