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Concern for the health of the natural environment is growing as human population grows and as new levels of contamination of scarce resources are revealed. Current efforts to improve the sustainability of buildings focus on increasing energy efficiency and reducing the embodied carbon. This overlooks the fact that a fire event could reduce the overall sustainability of a building through the release of pollutants and the subsequent re-build.
Most fires occurring in the built environment contribute to air contamination from the fire plume (whose deposition is likely to subsequently include land and water contamination), contamination from water runoff containing toxic products, and other environmental discharges or releases from burned materials. The environmental impact also has economic consequences for communities and regions and while the direct and indirect costs of fire on a community can be devastating, they are not usually reported at a local scale beyond an account of the human deaths and injuries and the amount of property destroyed or damaged.
To calculate the true cost of fire to society we need to be able to quantify the impact fire has not only on the people or structures involved but also to the environment.  Studies have been done to examine the environmental impact of fire but we cannot yet fully quantify this impact and its consequences to the local economy. 
Therefore, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has initiated a project with the goal to develop a research road map identifying needed research to be able to quantify the environmental impact of fire from the built environment and its economic consequences. This project will focus on structure fires and exclude wildland and wildland urban interface (WUI) fires.  
This research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Research Foundation in accordance with Foundation Policies and will be guided by a Project Technical Panel who will provide input to the project, review periodic reports of progress and research results, and review the final project report. The Research Foundation will engage a contractor with appropriate technical expertise to conduct the project.
You can find the Request for Proposals (RFP) on the Foundation website. The deadline for proposals is 28 February 2019 at 5pm Eastern time.
NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems:
  • NFPA 13, Errata 13-19-2, referencing various sections in Chapters 9, 10, 16, and 20 of the 2019 edition, issued on January 22, 2019
An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and included in any further distribution of the Standard.

The Fire Code is a comprehensive document for issues related to life safety from fire to building occupants, property protection, and enhanced emergency responder safety. In fact, there are 15 different items listed under the scope of the Code including but not limited to inspection of buildings, fire investigation, plans review, fire and life safety education, design, installation and maintenance of fire protection systems, storage and use of hazardous materials, conditions impacting fire fighter safety and the design and maintenance of egress systems. Together, the items addressed by the Code provide a single resource that can be utilized by a fire inspector during their day to day jobs.

 

 

Chapter 1 of the Code provides many of the ‘ground rules’ for the scope, application and enforcement of the Code. While Chapter 1 provides comprehensive provisions and direction on how the Code should be administered and enforced, these administrative procedures and requirements are frequently customized by the jurisdiction as part of the code adoption process. The remainder of the Code cannot be applied without first understanding the foundation set forth in the provisions of Chapter 1. For those familiar with some other NFPA codes and standards, Chapter 1 of NFPA 1 is quite a bit longer due to the scope of the Code and the responsibilities of a fire inspector.


One of those responsibilities with respect to the application of NFPA 1 is to issue permits. The Code requires a permit for more than 80 different types of operations and activities so a fire inspector must be aware of where and what activities are occurring in its jurisdiction that could affect fire and life safety. They are predicated upon compliance with the requirements of NFPA 1 and constitute written authority issued by the AHJ to maintain, store, use, or handle materials; to conduct processes that could produce conditions hazardous to life or property; or to install equipment used in connection with such activities. By requiring permits and approvals, the AHJ can ensure that the activities or operations are performed safely. In some jurisdictions, the AHJ may allow the permitting of some of these activities through other departments in the jurisdiction. As an example, the AHJ may allow all permits for new construction to be applied for and issued at the building department. In these circumstances, the AHJ still maintains the permit, plan review, and inspection authority granted in this Code.

 

Permits are sought via an application to the AHJ and may be accompanied by any data or information as required by the AHJ as well as the appropriate fee. AHJs have the responsibility to review all permit applications and issue permits as required. Where an application for a permit is rejected by the AHJ, the applicant is to be advised of the reasons for such rejection. The reasons for rejections should be detailed sufficiently so that the applicant can understand what actions are required to resubmit the permit application and potentially receive approval. Other permitting requirements include, but are not limited to the following (See also NFPA 1 Section 1.12 for all provisions related to permitting and approvals):

 

  • The AHJ may require an inspection prior to issuance of a permit
  • Permits issued under NFPA 1 can continue until revoked or for the period of time designated on the permit.
  • Permits are issued to one person or business only and only for the location or purpose described in the permit application.
  • Any change that affects any of the conditions of the permit requires a new or amended permit. 
  • Permit extensions may occur if the AHJ has been presented by the permittee an appropriate reason for failure to start or complete the work in the timeframe authorized by the original permit.
  • A copy of the permit must be posted or readily accessible at each place of operation and is subject to inspection as specified by the AHJ

 

Permit activities regulated under NFPA 1 may also be regulated by other government bodies. One example is the installation of underground petroleum storage tanks. In many jurisdictions, a separate environmental protection agency may be charged with responsibility to review the environmental factors of petroleum storage tank installations. The AHJ for NFPA 1 may wish to withhold fire code permit approval until confirmation is received that an approval from the environmental permitting body has also been received. The fire code inspector however, is not to be held responsible for enforcement of the regulations of other regulatory agencies unless specifically mandate to enforce those agencies’ regulations. Where additional permits, approvals, certificates, or licenses are required by these other organizations, they must be obtained by the applicant before work on the activity can begin. The fire inspector/AHJ serves an invaluable role in the permitting process. Many activities and operations cannot start or continue without issuance of a permit, and without an AHJ approval there is no permit. 

 

Those serving in a fire inspector role are required to meet the minimum professional qualifications established in NFPA 1031, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner. One way to accomplish this is with a Certified Fire Inspector (CFI) certification. These programs were created back in 1998 in response from local jurisdictions for a certification program based on the competencies in NFPA 1031. Starting in NFPA 1, 2018 edition, compliance with NFPA 1031 is mandated for all fire inspectors and plans examiners. The NFPA CFI I and CFI II certification programs are one way to demonstrate compliance with this requirement, promote professionalism in the role of a fire inspector, help demonstrate and understanding of the application and use of codes and standards, and improve job performance. For more information on these programs and how to enroll, visit their page.

 

Thanks for reading, stay safe!

 

Don't miss another #FireCodefridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA

With a few local exceptions, certification of fire and emergency services personnel is conducted on a voluntary basis by public sector or government agencies. Present NFPA Professional Qualification System Standards, upon which are based the international certification systems (e.g., accredited by the Pro Board®), do not contain a requirement for maintaining proficiency on a stated interval. Due to the criticality of credentialing of emergency services personnel, and the fact that the Standards upon which certification is based change on a regular basis, there is a need to determine if fire and emergency services personnel need and/or should be required to undergo some other process to demonstrate continued knowledge and skills proficiency on a stated interval so as to maintain the proficiency.

 

To this end The Research Foundation has issued an RFP for a project contractor for the Fire and Emergency Service Personnel Knowledge and Skills Proficiency research project.

 

The goal of this research project is to identify, clarify and evaluate the characteristics of a transitional process for Fire and Emergency Services personnel, designed to ensure continued demonstration of knowledge and skill proficiency against a given level of credentialing, including an impact assessment of implementation.

 

This research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Research Foundation in accordance with Foundation Policies and will be guided by a Project Technical Panel who will provide input to the project, review periodic reports of progress and research results, and review the final project report. The Research Foundation will engage a contractor with appropriate technical expertise to conduct the project.

 

You can find the RFP on the Foundation website. The deadline for proposals is 7 February 2019 at 5pm Eastern time.

While fire is never an easy element to deal with, cold climates and wintery weather can make for especially difficult conditions. On the evening of January 22nd, 1922 a fire broke out in the Notre Dame de Grace section of Montreal, Canada. As a result of this fire, two firefighters lost their lives.
montreal
From NFPA Quarterly v. 15, no. 4 (1922):
“The fire was discovered just before seven o’clock by a tenant. It was issuing from a Chinese laundry on the ground floor. An alarm brought the nearest station apparatus in a few moments and streams were promptly turned on the fire although the zero [degree] weather hampered the firemen… A group of firemen entered the laundry to get at the fire. An explosion followed, throwing the front of the building into the street. Two firemen were buried in the ruins. A general alarm brought most of the city apparatus but it was midnight before the fire was under control.
The cause of the fire is not known. It is thought that the explosion was caused by gasoline in the laundry or in a clothes-cleaning establishment in the basement. The two large apartment houses which were gutted comprised between them thirty-three apartments. Some twenty dwellings and business premises were also burned.”
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to theNFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.

The following four proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components; NFPA 701, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films; and NFPA 1994, Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to Hazardous Materials Emergencies and CBRN Terrorism Incidents; are being published for public review and comment:

 

  • NFPA 285, proposed TIA No. 1398, referencing A.1.1.1 and Annex B.1.2.4 of the 2019 edition, closing date: February 27, 2019
  • NFPA 701, proposed TIA No. 1421, referencing D.2.2, E.1.1 and E.1.2.1 of the 2019 edition, closing date: February 27, 2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1406, referencing Table 5.3.2(a), 7.2.3.7.1(new), 7.3.3.7.1(new), 7.4.3.3.1(new), 7.5.3.3.1(new), 7.6.3.2.1(new), 7.7.3.2, 7.7.3.2.1(new), 7.7.4.2, 8.20 and 8.34(new) of the 2018 edition, closing date: 3/1/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1417, referencing 8.29.4.5(1), 8.29.5 and 8.29.7.4, of the 2018 edition, closing date: 3/1/2019


Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the closing dates listed above. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the specific closing date.

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 www.nfpa.org/72.

The revision process for the 2021 edition of NFPA 101 is currently underway. In my recent NFPA live, I offered viewers a preview of some of the key subjects for which revisions are being considered in advance of the posting of the First Draft, on which the public will have the opportunity to submit public comments.
I provided a brief overview of the revision process for NFPA 101, a synopsis of some of the key first revisions to be included in the First Draft, how to get more involved in the NFPA 101 revision process, and an overview of how to stay on top of potential revisions. I received a follow-up question from a member and included it in the video below. I hope you find some value in it.
NFPA Live is an interactive video series in which members of NFPA staff address some of the most frequent topics they receive through the Member's Only Technical Questionservice. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this link. If you're not currently a member, join today!

Associated Press

The opening image of "Cutting Edge," a feature article in the current issue of NFPA Journal, might look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but in actuality, the photo shows a woman undergoing an increasingly common form of cancer treatment: proton therapy. 
The construction of proton therapy centers is one of three emerging health care trends the article identifies as topics fire and life safety professionals should be aware of. The other two are microhospitals and acuity-adaptable patient rooms. While all three promise something beneficial to patients, they also have the potential to affect the application of codes and standards, the design and construction process, and emergency response. 
Microhospitals, for example, may look like urgent care facilities on the outside, but building code officials should know they need to be treated like a traditional hospital and have the same safety measures in place, such as robust backup electrical power systems. "They should still be treated like an inpatient facility where patients are expected to be incapable of self-preservation and where they would stay for more than 24 hours," said Jon Hart, the NFPA staff liaison to NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code
Read the full article here.

Can classroom doors be locked to prevent an intruder from entering? Can a fire alarm system be disabled to prevent it from being used to draw people outside? These are among the more frequently asked questions we’ve received from school administrators and community officials working to protect their schools from acts of targeted violence.

 

While the response to these types of questions is fairly straightforward and direct from the code perspective, the answers don’t easily translate to those who aren’t familiar with fire and life safety codes. The approach to retrofitting a class room door with a lock, for example, is more complex and nuanced. This can be particularly frustrating to school administrators who are reaching beyond their traditional roles to ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff.

 

In an effort to give schools the guidance and direction they need and help clarify the challenges around these issues, we developed a new resource to help them effectively, reasonably, and cost-effectively move forward. This document also works to keep schools from making well-intentioned but misguided decisions, particularly as they continue to receive calls from businesses and organizations selling products, resources, and strategies for keeping everyone safe.

 

We’ll be doing our best to get this document directly into the hands of schools, but your support in distributing it will help ensure that it gets to the people who need it most. Please share this document with school administrators and local officials in your communities and jurisdictions to help them make informed decisions. If you have any questions about the information addressed in this document, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section of this blog.

 

What constitutes equivalencies in NFPA 101â, Life Safety Codeâ, for the open kitchens found in today's health care facilities? And what is the role of NFPA and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) when it comes to applying code requirements?

 

Those questions are at the heart of the lead "In Compliance" item in our new January/February issue of NFPA Journalâ, out now.

 

Other topics addressed in this issue's "In Compliance" include a preview of important issues related to the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Codeâ;new changes to NFPA 72â, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Codeâ, for occupant evacuation elevators; and how issues related to smoke compartments in health care occupancies are addressed in NFPA 101 and NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems.

 

The lead item, by Robert Solomon, director of Building Fire Protection & Fire Protection Systems at NFPA, begins with an account of a question received by NFPA’s technical questions service (TQS) and expands into a fundamental explanation of how NFPA codes are applied and what constitutes an AHJ. The question, from a user of NFPA 101, involved a health care occupancy open-kitchen equivalency that had been accepted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CSM. The equivalency did not strictly follow the requirements of the 2012 edition of NFPA 101, however, and the user raised further questions about whether they had to follow the letter of the code, or if the CMS ruling was sufficient.

 

“In this particular case, CMS is the AHJ, and it is ultimately the prerogative of CMS to apply and interpret the code as they see fit,” Solomon writes. “While the TQS offered by NFPA can assist AHJs, designers, installers, and others who rely on the code contents to apply and understand the requirements, [NFPA has] no regulatory authority to make final decisions, override judgments of others, or offer opinions that are contrary to what our codes and standards require.”

 

“In Compliance,” along with all other NFPA Journal departments, columns, and features, is available online and through our free mobile apps.

 

The NFPA Standards Council is in receipt of a New Project Initiation Request for the development of an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish requirements for a professional qualification standard for Fire Service Analysts and Informational Technical Specialists.  Specifically, this standard request seeks a holistic standard which address the complex and emerging areas of planning, managing and executing analyses and technology infrastructure within fire service organizations. If standards development is approved by the Standards Council, the standard may additionally address related topics as the Standard Council directs.
To assist the Standards Council in evaluating the proposal for new standards, NFPA is currently soliciting comments to gauge whether support exists for Fire Service Analysts and Informational Technical Specialists’ professional qualification standards development. NFPA specifically seeks input on the following:
  1. Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of a new standard establishing standards for professional qualification for Fire Service Analysts and Informational Technical Specialists?
  2. Please state your reason(s) for supporting or opposing the proposed Fire Service Analysts and Informational Technical Specialists standards development.
Please note:  You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using the online application submission system.
Additionally, NFPA would like to know if you or your organization is interested in applying for membership on the Technical Committee if standards development is approved by the Standards Council. If you are interested in participating in standards development as a technical committee member, please submit an application in addition to your comments. Applications may be submitted online at:   Submit online application*.         
Please note: You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using the online application submission system.
*Applications being accepted for purposes of documenting applicant interest in committee participation. Acceptance of applications by NFPA does not guarantee or imply the Standards Council will ultimately approve standards development activity on this proposed subject matter.
The NFPA Standards Council approved a new project to develop requirements for privately operated spaceports.  After a review of all information provided, the Council voted to approve the development of a new technical committee and directed that a call for members be published.  Staff will return to the Council meeting in April, with a proposed start-up roster and a scope for the committee. 
This new standard will establish guidance on the construction and operation of facilities used to house, maintain, and deploy rockets (solid and liquid), space planes, and other similar craft.  It will also provide recommendations on static stands used for testing and the development of rockets and space planes, among others.
If interested in participating in standards development regarding spaceports as a technical committee member, please submit an application by February 27, 2019.  Submit online application.

The image above was sent to the NFPA offices back in 1922, by member A. H. Appearson of Richmond, Virginia.
According to Mr. Appearson, the electric heater shown above was situated in a pattern room of a foundry. A workman had left a bucket of water to heat at about 6:00PM before walking away. The fire occurred around 3:00AM. At the time, the losses from the damages were estimated at $4500.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to theNFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.
The NFPA Standards Council approved a new project to develop requirements for the performance and use of remote methodologies, systems and components (including digital video, digital images, digital audio, among others) whether live or submitted as an electronic file for subsequent review to conduct remote inspections of buildings, structures, systems (e.g. electrical, HVAC, fire protection, etc.) and premises including underground spaces and aerial areas. Requirements for collection, custody and maintenance of data available from remote inspections shall also be the responsibility of this Technical Committee.
The Council further directed that a call for members interested in serving on the new technical committee on remote inspections be published.  Staff will return to the Council, in April, with a proposed start-up roster.  
If interested in participating in standards development regarding remote inspections as a technical committee member, please submit an application by February 27, 2019.  Submit online application

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