Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > Author: lorrainecarli
1 2 3 Previous Next

NFPA Today

33 Posts authored by: lorrainecarli Employee

!|src=|alt=Ap_bangladesh_factory_fire_ss1_jt_121125_ssh|style=width: 450px;|title=Ap_bangladesh_factory_fire_ss1_jt_121125_ssh|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01901e2daff4970b!

A November fire in a garment factor in Bangladesh (photo from


A coalition of trade unions led by IndustriALL and Uni and 70 market leading clothing brands and retailiers announced steps to implement the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. According to the announcement from IndustriaALL, the coalition will begin taking steps to address safety issues in clothing factories in Bangladesh. The announcement identified key highlights of the implementation plan  which includes conducting initial inspections to identify hazards and the need for repairs within nine months. More details on the plan can be found at the IndustriALL website.

Over the past several months, there has been extensive news coverage of a number of tragic fires in garment factories in Bnagladesh and Pakistan. In April, the media also covered the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory,an eight-story commercial building located outside Dhaka, killing 1,127and injuring another 2,500 people.


In a recent column in NFPA Journal, NFPA President Jim Shannon called these incidents appalling saying,"It is appalling in the 21st century that workers anywhere in the world would be subjected to conditions like these." He likened these horrific events to the Triangle Waist Co. fire in 1911 in New York that took the lives of 146 people, mostly garment workers. Following this fire, NFPA led the way in upgrading working conditions in the United States by developing the Building Exits Code, which has evolved into[ NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® |].   Shannon states in his piece, "As an organization that is regarded as a worldwide authority on safety, we must contribute to the effort to raise standards of safety for workers everywhere...Adoption of NFPA 1® Fire Code ® and the Life Safety Code by the governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh is a way for those countries to begin to raise safety standards." 


(photo KTLA5 - CA)

The nation and the world continue to grieve for the 19 brave firefighters who lost their lives this week battling one of the many raging wildland fires in the United States. Acording to NFPA records, the fire near Yarnell, Arizona  is the deadliest incident for firefighters since 9/11 and the third highest firefighter death toll for wildland  fires.  The 1910 Devil’s Broom wildfire in Silverton, Idaho killed 86  firefighters and the 1933 Griffith Park blaze in Los Angeles,  California, killed 29.

Metro Chief President G. Keith Bryant, who serves as the chief of Okahoma City Fire Department shared the sentiments of his membership saying, "On behalf of the members of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, we send our most heartfelt condolences to families and fellow firefighters of the 19 who sadly but bravely lost their lives in the Arizona wildfires.  We recognize the enormity of this tragedy and the impact to the loved ones who have lost so much and  we grieve with you.  The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs offer our prayers for comfort and strength to those suffering with this tragic loss and will always honor the sacrifice of our fallen brothers."

Peter Holland, UK Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor and a member of the Metro Chiefs also sent his condolensces to the US stating,  "It truly is unbelievable that so many firefighters have paid the ultimate sacrifice by losing their lives in the enormous wildfires sweeping through Arizona. On behalf of the British government I pass on the sincere condolences of all our citizens to our friends in the United States. We look on in awe at the enormity of the fires and the brave efforts of your firefighters to halt these devastating wildfires."

The Metro Chiefs Association brings  together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share  information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the  U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the  fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid  career fire fighters.

Throughout the week the media have used a number of NFPA resources to tell this tragic story and provide an overview of the growing wildfire problem. For  more NFPA resources, including statistics and research, NFPA Journal  articles on wildfire and online information relating to wildfire and  Fire Adapted Communities, please see the "Breaking News" section of our  NFPA press room.

Tonight NFPA mourns the loss of four firefighters in Texas. According to news stories four Houston firefighters  died and six others were injured fighting a five alarm fire at the Southwest Inn this afternoon. Reports say that more than 100 firefighters were on the scene of the blaze which began in the kitchen of the hotel and restaurant.


NFPA's most recent firefighter fatality report showed that In 2011, a total of 61 on-duty firefighter deaths occurred in the U.S. This is another sharp drop from the 73 on-duty deaths in 2010 and 82 in 2009, and the lowest annual total since NFPA began conducting this annual study in 1977. The largest share of deaths occurred while firefighters were operating on the fire ground (30 deaths).

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,700
structure fires per year at hotel or motel properties between 2006 and
2010. These fires caused average annual losses of 12 civilian deaths,
143 civilian injuries, and $127 million in direct property damage each
year. Nearly half (45%) of these fires involved cooking equipment, 10%
were caused by smoking materials, 9% were caused by heating equipment,
and clothes dryers or washers were also involved in 9% of these fires.

NFPA resources:

*Deadliest fires in the U.S. with 5 or more firefighter deaths at the fire grounds (1977-2012)*

Deadliest incidents in the U.S. resulting in the deaths of 8 or more firefighters

NFPA report: [Firefighter Fatalities in the United States |] (2011)

NFPA report: U.S. Hotel and Motel Structure Fires (2012)</li> </ul>


UPDATE (April 19, 3:00 pm) CNN is reporting that 12 bodies have been recovered in West, Texas, following a fertilizer plant explosion&#0160;on Wednesday evening. CNN quotes Senator John Cornyn as saying that&#0160;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.&#0160;


<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

!|src=|alt=Firedog2|title=Firedog2|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111685e14d2970c017615eaa421970c!

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.

!|src=|alt=Firedog|style=width: 450px;|title=Firedog|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111685e14d2970c016767f5865f970b!

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

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: