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30 Posts authored by: lorrainecarli Employee


UPDATE (April 19, 3:00 pm) CNN is reporting that 12 bodies have been recovered in West, Texas, following a fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday evening. CNN quotes Senator John Cornyn as saying that 60 people are unaccounted for. Local officials say 200 people have been injured and 50 homes have been destroyed. The West Fertilizer Plant is located north of Waco and located near a school and nursing home. 


<span style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Video: See the moment a burning West, Texas, fertilizer plant erupts in a massive explosion.

Related NFPA codes and standards

NFPA 400,+ Hazardous Material Code<br />+This document applies to the storage, use, and handling of hazardous materials in all occupancies and facilities, including ammonium nitrate solids and liquids. Access this document online for free .

NFPA 472,&#0160;Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents<br />This document&#0160;identifies the minimum levels of competence required by responders to emergencies involving hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction. Access this document online for free .

NFPA 1620,&#0160;Pre-Incident Planning<br />This document provides criteria for evaluating the protection, construction, and operational features of specific occupancies to develop a pre-incident plan that should be used by responding personnel to manage fires and other emergencies in such occupancies using the available resources. Access this document online for free .

NFPA will continue to learn more about the developments and provide other relevant material as appropriate.


Also see

Storage of ammonium nitrate was the subject of a case studyat the 2010 Supression Detection Symposium hosted by NFPA&#39;s Fire Protection Research Foundation.

    1. In 1947, more than 400 people died when ammonium nitrate exploded on two ships docked at Texas City, Texas. The Quarterly, an NFPA publicaiton contained[ a story on the disaster in its July 1947 edition |].

Reflecting on the tragic nightclub fire in Brazil earlier this week that claimed the lives of more than 230 individuals when a flare ignited soundproofing on the ceiling, NFPA President Jim Shannon talked about the need  to have sprinklers in all public assembly occupancies. Shannon called the Brazil scenario heartbreaking saying that what makes it heartbreaking is that it can be avoided with adherence to codes including the use of sprinklers.


Shannon also talked about the ways patrons can play a role in their own safety by being aware of their surroundings -- knowing where the exits are, checking for sprinklers and smoke alarms.


Learn more about fire safety and staying safe at nightclubs on our website:

!|src=|alt=Cocoanut_grove_426x200|style=width: 450px;|title=Cocoanut_grove_426x200|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d407e04bf970c!
The Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston was the deadliest nightclub fire in world. Over 400 peoplel died in 1942.

News accounts are reporting that more than 200 people have died
in an early morning fire in a nightclub in southern Brazil.  According to CNN, at least 245 people were
killed in the Kiss Nightclub in Santa Maria.

[NFPA provides a number of resources and information on this topic on its website. |]

News reports are
comparing the Kiss nightclub fire to the 2003 fire
at The Station nightclub in W. Warwick, RI, on February 20, 2003 that claimed
100 lives. Prior to the Kiss nightclub, the Station Nightclub was the fourth-deadliest public assembly and nightclub fire in U.S.
. Five of these fires were in nightclubs. Since that
fire, NFPA has enacted tough new code provisions for fire sprinklers and
crowd management in nightclub-type venues. Those provisions mark sweeping
changes to the codes and standards governing safety in assembly occupancies.

public assembly and nightclub fires


NFPA also offers safety tips for the public when in an assembly occupancy.

you enter

Take a good look. Does the building appear to be in      a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and      does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of      materials stored against the building or blocking exits?

    1. *Have a communication plan

      *Identify a
      relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated
      from family or friends.

    2. *Plan a meeting place

      *Pick a meeting
      place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the
      function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.

When you enter

    1. *Locate exits immediately

      *When you enter a
      building you should look for all available exits. Some exits may be in
      front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit. You
      may not be able to use the main exit.

    2. *Check for clear exit paths

      *Make sure aisles
      are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make
      sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least
      two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management
      and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local
      fire marshal to register a complaint.

    3. *Do you feel safe?

      *Does the
      building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles
      burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources
      that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as
      alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for
      clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building,
      leave immediately.


During an emergency

    1. *React immediately

      *If an alarm
      sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbance immediately
      exit the building in an orderly fashion.

    2. *Get out, stay out!

      *Once you have
      escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a
      burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.


UL recently posted a Public Notice for a suspension of standard UL 2196 that impacts some fire resistive electrical cables and systems, specifically Electrical Circuit Protective Systems (ECPS) within the categories FHIT for UL and FHJR for ULC. NFPA recommends you review this public notice on UL’s website. UL offered the following additional background and recommendations:

These systems are primarily installed in mixed occupancy high-rise buildings, and in tunnels, bridges, and other commercial infrastructures.  In many circumstances, the referenced systems exist in conjunction with other fire mitigation system options, which are not in question.  Within a building or structure, the locations of these fire resistive circuit cable systems are typically found as part of in the following life safety installations:

  • Fire pump- Feeder/controls
  • Elevators
  • Smoke control equipment
  • Command center critical systems
  • Pressurized stairway systems
  • Smoke management systems
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Electrical Equipment Rooms -      Feeders/Service
  • Emergency Generators and Standby Power      Systems

UL is recommending you consider a “performance approach” to assessing the building’s unique situation. First, utilize a team to review and identify risks in the building (e.g. are there redundant systems in place and is there a need for an additional fire mitigating system?)  Specific to the installed or almost installed ECPS, guide the team to consider the following variables:

  • Distance of cable in ECPS
  • Location of current system
  • Redundant systems currently in place
  • Is COPS classification essential to owner?
  • Number of stories in building
  • Use of the building
  • Occupancy of building
  • Fuel loading
  • Sprinkler system coverage  
  • Fire alarm systems

Assessing these variables will help evaluate risk and determine next best steps.  Because there is so much variability to buildings that may have an Electrical Circuit Protective Systems (ECPS), it is impossible to recommend one solution to fit all building/structure types.

A FAQ is also posted on the UL website.

For additional questions, please contact, Bob James,; phone 813-956-8669. He is a member of UL’s Regulatory Services Staff, whose general email address is:

NFPA will be reviewing this Public Notice to determine its impact on any NFPA codes or standards and working with the appropriate technical committees. 


Most media outlets today are recognizing legendary chef Julia Child  on what would have been her 100th birthday for the impact she had on  cooking. While we too have great memories of her decades of teaching the  world to make some fabulous dishes and we remember the classic Saturday  Night Live skit where Dan Akroyd played her deboning a chicken, we dug  out our brush with Julia Child from the mid-90's.

During that  time, NFPA produced a series of public service announcements called  Safety Spots that featured celebrities and our very own Sparky the Fire  Dog. Julia took on the leading cause of home fires -- cooking -- and  reminded viewers to never walk away from the stove. Afterall, unattended  cooking is the number one reason we see so many cooking fires each  year. Despite the fact the PSA is a little old, the message is still the  same.

Thanks Julia. Signing off as you would -- Bon Appetit.

  consumer fireworksSharing his sadness and outrage at the recent fourth of July fireworks tragedy that injured 13 people including a 2 year old child, NFPA President Jim Shannon penned an op-ed for the Boston Globe which appeared in its Podium section on July 11. Calling it one of the most poignant cases in memory, Shannon described what happened this year in Pelham,  New Hampshire when a family celebration turned into a nightmare. A child  holding a sparkler set off boxes of fireworks in the house. Neighbors  said it sounded like a bomb had gone off.

Shannon's point was that this case was a painful reminder of the dangers of consumer fireworks and a reminder that despite that fact that the majority of states allow the sale of consumer fireworks, these are inherently dangerous devises. He also applauded Massachusetts for their leadership role in not allowing the sale of consumer fireworks.

Each year NFPA urges the public in the days leading up to the fourth to enjoy the holiday safely by attending professional displays of fireworks. With this tragedy fresh in mind, Shannon concluded, "We will try again next year, right before the Fourth of July, to warn  people how dangerous fireworks can be but for now it seems the most  persuasive arguments will come not from us before the Fourth of July but  from places like Shriner’s Hospital on July 5th."

Lorraine Carli

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22 year old Austin Weishel addressed the crowd in DC as his sculpture is unveiled.

Twenty-two year old Colorado Volunteer Firefighter Austin Weishel stepped to the microphone at the American Humane Association&#39;s Headquarters in Washington tonight and quietely described the hours he spent in his family&#39;s basement, music playing, working tirelessly to get every detail right. The results of his labor -- a 17 foot high, 450 pound bronze statue of a firefighter with his arson dog, arrived with a fire service escort in Washington DC&#0160; after a 2,000 mile trek from Colorado. It was the 12th and final stop. The monument will permanently reside at the Nation&#39;s Capital to honor the teamwork between firefighters and their canine companions in solving the arson crimes.


The National Fire Dog Monument entitled &quot;From Ashes to Answers&quot; was commissioned by Jerry Means, an arson investigation agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations. Means&#39; own arson dog Sadie, received national attention last year as the winner of the 2011 American Human Association Hero Dog Awards in the category of Law Enforcement/Arson Dog and was the model for the sculpture. Means led a four-year fundraising campaign, selling challenge coins to fund the project. Also supporting the effort were State Farm, who supports more than 300 arson dog teams in North America, and the American Humane Association.


(NFPA&#39;s&#0160; Sparky the Fire Dog has been named the official spokesdog for the 2012 Hero Dog Awards.)


Arson dogs – also known as accelerant detection canines – are trained to sniff out and indicate traces of petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid that might have been used to start a fire. The traces are sampled and sent to a lab for identification. To become certified for the work, the dogs and their handlers undergo many weeks of professional training and must pass yearly testing to maintain their certification.


Voting is now underway for the 2012 Hero Dog Awards. Visit to vote for your favorite in the the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog category as well as others.

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Austin Weishel and Jerry Means

[Lorraine Carli |]


CO wildfire

As we continue to learn more about the current wildfire situation in the west, our hearts go out to all those in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and other states where homes have been destroyed and lives disrupted from wildfire over the past several days and weeks.

Wildfires continue to grow and threaten communities along the Front Range of Colorado and numerous places in the Western U.S. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) mission of reducing fire and threats to life safety extends to areas impacted by wildfire. With resources including our strong Fire Adapted Communities Coalition of national safety organizations, and our Firewise Communities Program, NFPA is working to provide residents and fire responders with information and resources they need to create places that are adapted to the fire threat, and to prepare to protect life and property from wildfire.

I encourage you to visit to learn more about what each of us can do to protect what is important and to find resources including Firewise practices and emergency evacuation tips.  NFPA is dedicated to reducing the losses from fire worldwide, and we will continue to reach out to communities to help support and provide resources to residents during this very trying time.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division Staff.

-        Jim Shannon

The LEGO Mystery Mural completed at the NFPA Conference &amp; Expo in Las Vegas last week took our attendees a full three days to put together. But thanks to the magic of time-lapse photography, you can watch the entire process -- all 55,296 LEGO blocks - be put together in just under two minutes.&#0160;




New webinar will explain changes



On March 9, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Standards and Certification (S&C) letter to address certain provisions of the 2012 edition of  NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.  The S&C letter is directed towards the changes in the 2012 code that address culture change.  These changes are intended to offer a more homelike environment for residents of long-term care/nursing home facilities.   Evidence suggests that such home like environments are better for the resident, the family and the staff.  Beginning in 2008, the committees responsible for development of NFPA 101 have been working to address certain features for inclusion in the 2012 code. Four specific areas were addressed and are now included in the new code.

NFPA's Robert Solomon will host a webinar on Thursday March 22nd to discuss the S&C letter and its impact on specific health care facilites.The history of nursing home fire safety, the fire loss data and how NFPA 101 went from being a barrier to culture change to a catalyst for culture change will be covered.  A review of the specific portions of NFPA 101-2012 edition that may be considered by providers to implement the changes through consideration of a waiver process will also be covered.

For more information and to register for the webinar click here.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a statement today concluding its safety defect investigation into the post-crash   fire risk of Chevy Volts. The statement said in part, "Opened on   November 25, the agency’s investigation has concluded that no   discernible defect trend exists and that the vehicle modifications recently developed by General Motors reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts."
NHTSA also released interim guidance to increase awareness and identify   appropriate safety measures for the emergency response community, law   enforcement officers, and others about electric vehicles.

For more complete information on the announcement, interim guidance and training visit the EV Safety Training Blog.

Lorraine Carli

Wrapping up a year-long celebration of his 60th birthday, Sparky the Fire Dog®  spread holiday cheer and fire safety messages at the annual holiday party for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Boston Sunday December 18 when DCF staff, foster and adoptive children, and families came together to celebrate the holiday season. Sparky handed out copies of his new book created for his birthday which helps children learn to keep safe from fire.

 Sparky the Fire Dog® was created for the NFPA in 1951 and has been the organization’s official mascot and spokesdog ever since. Millions have learned about fire safety through educational lessons and materials featuring his image.

 According to NFPA research, children under five are one-and-a-half times more likely to die in a home fire than the general public. Sparky plays an important role in communicating fire safety to kids and families. The use of games, characters and children’s activities are key in providing safety messages in fun and entertaining way.

DCF is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. There are currently 8,000 children in foster care across Massachusetts and 40,000 children in all served by the Department. With the understanding that every child is entitled to a home that is free from abuse and neglect, DCF’s vision is to ensure the safety of children in a manner that holds the best hope of nurturing a sustained, resilient network of relationships to support the child’s growth and development into adulthood. DCF programs include foster care, adoption, adolescent services and domestic violence services.

Lorraine Carli

Cigarettebandingwords030906Illustration: John Roman

Joining the United States, Canada, Australia and Finland, the European Commission is requiring that all cigarettes sold in the European Union will have to meet a specific fire safety standard effective November 17, 2011. According to the press release, the new standards have been drawn up under the General Product Safety Directive and require producers to place only safe products on the market.

In 2008 the European Commission defined the safety requirements, following discussion with Member States, the tobacco and paper industries and NGOs, and then asked the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) to develop the relevant standards, which national authorities will use to measure compliance with fire safety rules. The EU estimates that this move will reduce the number of fire fatalities in Europe by about 40 percent.

The press release cited the success of the requirement in Finland where they have seen the number of victims of cigarette-ignited fires fall by 43 percent.

NFPA established the Fire-Safe Cigarette Coalition  2006 to get passage of consistent fire-safe cigarette legislation in all 50 states. When the coalition began, there were only two states with such legislation. By July of 2011, all 50 state laws were in effect. New York, which was the first state to pass legislation, has seen a reduction in fires and fire deaths related to cigarettes.

Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States.

Lorraine Carli

In a press release issued yesterday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with nine manufacturers and distributors, announced a voluntary recall of all pourable gel fuels made or sold by these companies.

NFPA issued a warning in August urging the public to use extreme caution when using gel fuel, a product typically used with fire pots, personal fireplaces, and some patio torches. In light of the recall, NFPA recommends that consumers immediately stop using pourable gel fuel and contact the manufacturers for refund and product return information.


NFPA has updated its safety sheet with the latest information about gel fuel and it can be downloaded from the website.

Companies participating in the voluntary recall include:

Concern about the use of gel fuel stems from a number of serious incidents reporter to CPSC. According to CPSC they are aware of 65 incidents resulting in two deaths and 34 victims who were hospitalized with second and third degree burns of the face, chest, hands, arms or legs.

Of the 65 incidents, 28 of them, including 37 burn injuries and two fatalities, occurred with fuel gel products made by Napa Home & Garden, which conducted a recall of its products in June 2011, in cooperation with CPSC.

Lorraine Carli

Photo: Screenshot from CNN video.

Days after fire detroyed their Tennessee home, the family of country singer Trace Adkins is pretty happy today... happy they all escaped unharmed. According to news reports, a dryer caught fire, sending flames and smoke throughout the home. Adkins' wife and three daughters escaped, crediting the fact they had developed and practiced a home escape plan.

Rhonda Adkins talked about tying a yellow ribbon around a tree in the front yard to designate where they all would meet should they have a fire in the home. They developed an escape plan after the girls learned about fire safety at school.The official Trace Adkins website today reminds fans to follow their lead and make sure your family is prepared by putting together a home escape plan and practicing it twice a year.

NFPA provides a downlodable home escape grid you can use to develop your own escape plan. You can also find information on dryer fires.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef015432d24478970c-300wi.gifThe steps for to develop a home escape plan are:

  • Draw a map of your home. Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room. Find two ways out.
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Push the test button to make sure each alarm is working.
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home.
  • Everyone will meet at the meeting place.
  • Make sure you house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
  • Practice your home fire escape drill!

We are so glad everyone got out safely.

- Lorraine Carli

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