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With historic flooding in the Missouri River and Mississippi River basins that have plagued the Midwest in the past few days, NFPA offers a timely resource in its hybrid/electric vehicle safety bulletin. The bulletin is designed to ensure that emergency responders and public safety officers are informed and safe when dealing with vehicles that are submerged or have been submerged in water. It was first introduced in response to the devastating floods and coastal surges that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma produced in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in 2017.

 

NFPA's Alternative Fuel Vehicles Safety Training Program is the internationally recognized leader in emergency responder alternative fuel vehicle safety information and knowledge. NFPA maintains a collection of emergency response guides from more than 30 alternative fuel vehicle manufacturers, and offers emergency responders a best practices Emergency Field Guide, alternative fuel vehicle safety training information, relevant content, toolkits and videos like the one below.

 

 

 

Additional, related information can be found on NFPA's alternative fuel vehicle safety training webpage.

 

In December, several NFPA staff members got together to discuss a trend that's been making headlines in the construction industry: modular construction. From hotels to high-rise residential buildings, modular construction is becoming increasingly popular in the United States (it's been popular for a while in Europe). 

 

But the method—which entails prefabricating units, or modules, in a factory before shipping them to a construction site, where they're stacked together to form a full-sized building—caused folks at NFPA to take pause, and questions about modular construction safety and regulation swirled. How do inspections work? How are codes enforced across state or even country lines?

 

After the meeting, I and other NFPA staff members embarked on a mission to get to the bottom of things, and out of that work came a new feature article in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal, "Outside the Box," as well as a new video produced by NFPA Journal.

 

The video, titled "What is modular construction?," is the first in a series of planned videos called Learn Something New (LSN), which will run on the second Wednesday of every month on NFPA's YouTube channel and explore topics related to fire, electrical, and life safety hazards. LSN is targeted toward a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) student audience.

 

Essentially, the modular construction industry is regulated through a combination of language incorporated into state or local building codes, as well as self-inspection by the companies who fabricate modules.

 

Watch the video below, and learn more at nfpa.org/modular

 

Historic flooding in the Missouri River and Mississippi River basins has plagued the Midwest in recent days. While Nebraska and Iowa are seeing the worst of the flooding, still more rivers in six states at over 40 different locations have reached record levels.

 

In response to this crisis, NFPA is offering a timely video resource to help contractors in these areas assess electrical equipment that has been exposed to water through flooding. The video is part of NFPA’s popular and ongoing NFPA Live series and appeared in September 2017. During this live video event, host Gil Moniz, a former Senior Electrical Specialist at NFPA, answered follow-up questions submitted through the commenting tool.

 

The presentation provides information on how to assess electrical equipment that has been exposed to water through flooding. Moisture from flood water or contaminates in the water may affect the reliability and functionality of electrical equipment. Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely hazardous and must be properly assessed before it can be put back into service.

 


 

NFPA has additional, related information on this topic including NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, which provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster.

 

This NFPA Live has now ended. If you have further questions on this topic please submit a question through our Members' Only Technical Question service. If you are having trouble viewing this video there is an alternative version here.

 

Hazardous areas in buildings aren’t just those with high-hazard contents—a building’s areas, the materials stored in those areas, and the hazard of those materials are all factors in determining the level of protection according to NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®.

 

That’s one of a handful of timely code-related topics covered in the “In Compliance” department of the new March/April 2019 NFPA Journal, out now.

 

“Evaluating a hazardous area is relative and situational,” writes Kristin Bigda, P.E., a principal fire protection engineer at NFPA. “What constitutes a hazardous area in one occupancy may not be considered a hazardous area in another … The confusion often lies with the concept that a hazardous area is determined not just by the contents or materials in it, by also by the relative hazard of the space compared to the overall hazard of the occupancy. Understanding this distinction is critical to properly applying the code and isolating a fire within that space.”

 

The new “In Compliance” also includes a look at how new fire alarm systems must meet requirements contained throughout the entire NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, not just pieces of the code. Our article on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, helps readers understand when they need to replace sprinklers and what their sprinkler cabinets should contain. And our piece on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®, looks at the issue of electrical load calculations in the 2020 edition of the NEC®.

 

The March/April issue of NFPA Journal is available in print, online, and through our NFPA Journal mobile apps for Apple and Android devices.

 

The NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of a proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) on NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®; NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants; and NFPA 1964, Standard for Spray Nozzles and Appliances.  These three TIAs were issued by the Council on February 28, 2019:

  • NFPA 72, TIA 19-2, referencing 2.3.2, I.1.2.2, and various other sections, 2019 edition
  • NFPA 291, TIA 19-1, referencing Equations a and b, 2019 edition
  • NFPA 1964, TIA 18-1, referencing Title, 4.7(title, 4.15(title), 5.5.(title), and 5.5.1, 2018 edition

Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA Standard processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards. They have not gone through the entire standards development process of being published in a First Draft Report and Second Draft Report for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the Standard. A TIA automatically becomes a public input for the next edition of the Standard, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process.  TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the Standard after being issued by the Standards Council.

On March 21, 1934, the city of Hakodate, Japan was overwhelmed by a conflagration that destroyed more than half of the city’s buildings and caused the loss of more than two thousand lives.

While fires and conflagrations were not unusual in the seaside community, the weather conditions that occurred on this particular date made this incident particularly tragic. There was a heavy rain that day that later changed to snow. As the afternoon progressed the snow was accompanied by a gradually increasing southwest wind which reached more than 60 miles per hour by 6pm. Added to these conditions were short circuits in the city lighting system.

From NFPA Quarterly v. 28, no. 2 (1934):

“The fire had its origin on the second floor of a two-story wooden building occupied by a Shinto priest in the southeastern part of the city. It is supposed to have been caused by burning embers from an open fireplace, which was exposed when the roof of the house was blown off by the wind. This section of the city is in a low place and the fire was first observed from the fire tower at the fire brigade headquarters more than a mile away, although there were street fire alarm boxes installed in the immediate vicinity. Three engines and three hose trucks were dispatched to the scene of the fire as promptly as possible. Some delay was experienced, however, due to the fact that most of the men and equipment of the brigade were engaged at fires caused by the short circuiting of electric wires in various other parts of the city…

Because of the direction of the wind at the start of the fire many people made their escape to Omori Beach, where they were trapped when the wind suddenly shifted toward the west. About 550 persons were burned, drowned or frozen when the fire overtook them at this point.

The greatest loss of life occurred at Shinkawa when the three bridges which spanned the Shinkawa River burned or broke under the weight of the panic-striken throngs. This cut off all escape to the north and 600 persons burned to death in this areas. Severe loss of life also occurred in the section burned at Takamori-cho, at Sunayama-cho some 400 persons who could not pass the mountain were all burned to death and at Shinkawa Beach 120 were burned, drowned, or frozen to death.”

 

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA 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. 

 

Stay up to date by signing up for NFPA Newsletters.

One of the most notable features about NFPA’s standards development process is that it is a full, open, consensus-based process that encourages public participation in the development of its standards. A great way for your voice to be heard is to submit a Public Input (a suggested revision to a new or existing NFPA standard) during a Standard’s revision cycle. It is 100% free, easy, and done through our online submission system.


The following Standards are accepting public input for their next revision cycle:

  • NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems
  • NFPA 45, Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
  • NFPA 52, Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code
  • NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
  • NFPA 67, Guide on Explosion Protection for Gaseous Mixtures in Pipe Systems
  • NFPA 69, Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
  • NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
  • NFPA 82, Standard on Incinerators and Waste and Linen Handling Systems and Equipment
  • NFPA 85, Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code
  • NFPA 211, Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances
  • NFPA 253, Standard Method of Test for Critical Radiant Flux of Floor Covering Systems Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source
  • NFPA 262, Standard Method of Test for Flame Travel and Smoke of Wires and Cables for Use in Air-Handling Spaces
  • NFPA 265, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Room Fire Growth Contribution of Textile or Expanded Vinyl Wall Coverings on Full Height Panels and Walls
  • NFPA 276, Standard Method of Fire Test for Determining the Heat Release Rate of Roofing Assemblies with Combustible Above-Deck Roofing Components
  • NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components
  • NFPA 350, Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work
  • NFPA 402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations
  • NFPA 701, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films
  • NFPA 900, Building Energy Code
  • NFPA 914, Code for the Protection of Historic Structures
  • NFPA 1003, Standard for Airport Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1005, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Marine Fire Fighting for Land-Based Fire Fighters
  • NFPA 1041, Standard for Fire and Emergency Services Instructor Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1091, Standard for Traffic Incident Management Personnel Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1402, Standard on Facilities for Fire Training and Associated Props
  • NFPA 1600, Standard on Continuity, Emergency, and Crisis Management
  • NFPA 1963, Standard for Fire Hose Connections
  • NFPA 1975, Standard on Emergency Services Work Apparel
  • NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations 


To submit a public input using the online submission system, go directly to the specific document information page by selecting the links above or by using the search feature on the List of NFPA codes & standards. Once on the document page, select the link "Submit a Public Input" to begin the process. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using this system.


We are here to assist! If you have any questions when using the system, a chat feature is available or contact us by email or phone at 1-800-344-3555.

 

Public input is a suggested revision to a proposed new or existing NFPA Standard submitted during the Input stage in accordance with Section 4.3 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

The March 2019 issue of NFPA News, our free monthly codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

In this issue:

  • New project on Fire Service Analysts and Informational Technical Specialists Professional Qualifications
  • 2019 edition of the Glossary of Terms
  • Proposed Tentative Interim Amendments seeking comments on NFPA 13, NFPA 14, NFPA 58, NFPA 101, and NFPA 1981
  • NFPA 35 and NFPA 36
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees seeking public input and public comment
  • Committee meetings calendar

Subscribe today! NFPA News is a free, monthly codes and standards newsletter that includes special announcements, notification of public input and comment closing dates, requests for comments, notices on the availability of Standards Council minutes, and other important news about NFPA’s standards development process.

As you know, NFPA 70E®Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® does not determine what normal operation of your equipment entails. NFPA 70E details the normal operating conditions necessary before someone can safely operate that equipment. So, in that regard, which of these do you consider to be normal operation of the equipment?

  1. Flipping a light switch in an office.
  2. Placing a light bulb into a socket.
  3. Opening a motor disconnect.
  4. Placing an ammeter into a circuit to measure current.
  5. Operating a circuit breaker in a panelboard after opening the hinged cover.
  6. Placing a fuse into a fuse holder.
  7. Replacing a ballast in a luminaire.
  8. Placing an appliance plug into a receptacle.
  9. Pushing an emergency stop on equipment.
  10. Racking a circuit breaker out of a cabinet.
  11. Plugging a circuit breaker into a panelboard.
  12. Replacing a damaged receptacle.
  13. Pulling conductors through rigid metal conduit.
  14. Programming a variable frequency drive.

Remember that the tasks you consider to be “normal operation” of the equipment should be able to be done while energized and without the need to use personal protective equipment (PPE). If you are required to use PPE it generally means that the equipment is not under normal operating conditions and therefore, the task is not normal operation. Opting not to wear PPE while performing a task does not make the task “normal operation.” Here in the United States of America, it is not believed that equipment meeting the normal operating condition requirements is inherently unsafe to the person properly operating the equipment. No interaction would be permitted with any electrical equipment if it were. Pulling the trigger on a hand tool, using a computer, charging a cell phone, or playing a video game would pose risks and hazards that could cause injury. Such a condition would require PPE for all of those tasks. Only qualified persons could perform those tasks. Luckily, society has agreed that such precautions are not necessary. 

All the tasks listed are necessary for the equipment to function as designed. I am pretty sure you will find manufacturer’s instructions that include the above tasks or the equipment is specifically designed to permit performance of the task. And if it is in the instructions or if the equipment is designed to do it, does that make the task normal operation of that equipment? Your decision to deem something to be “normal operation” plays a big part in protecting employees from injury. I am not going to state which of the above tasks are normal operation. That is not my call. That is not NFPA 70E’s call. It is your call.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange

Want to keep track of what is happening with the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) Subscribe to the NEC Connect newsletter to stay informed of new content. The newsletter also includes NFPA 70E information such as my blogs.

Next time: Elimination of an electrical hazard.

Please Note: Any comments, suggested text changes, or technical issues related to NFPA Standards posted or raised in this communication are not submissions to the NFPA standards development process and therefore will not be considered by the technical committee(s) responsible for NFPA Standards development.  To learn how to participate in the NFPA standards development process and submit proposed text for consideration by the responsible technical committee(s), please go to www.nfpa.org/submitpi for instructions.

 

What is Integrated System Testing for Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems? Why is it so critical now?

In my recent NFPA Live I identified various codes and standards that now require integrated system testing and review the types of buildings that are affected by these requirements. I received this follow-up question from a member. 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 theMember's Only Technical Question service. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this linkIf you're not currently a member, join today!

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems; NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code; and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®; are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 13, proposed TIA No. 1416, referencing Table 14.2.8.2.1, of the 2019 edition, closing date: 4/10/2019
  • NFPA 14, proposed TIA No. 1437, referencing 13.10 and 14.10(new) of the 2019 edition, closing date: 4/16/2019
  • NFPA 58, proposed TIA No. 1424, referencing 6.13.4.2 of the 2017 edition and proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 4/18/2019
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1436, referencing 15.2.2.2.4(3)(new) of the 2018 edition, closing date: 4/16/2019

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 closing date.

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, and on that day in New York City 120 years ago, tragedy struck at the Windsor Hotel. After one careless guest attempted to flick a still-flaming match out of a window, a massive blaze engulfed the luxury hotel, killing 45 people. I wrote about the fire for the "Looking Back" article in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal

 

A number of disastrous conditions collided to drive up the death toll in the fire. The noise of the St. Patrick's Day parade occurring outside of the hotel made warning guests and authorities of the danger difficult. Outdated construction methods used to build the hotel, at the time 26 years old, contributed to rapid fire spread. The building lacked fire escapes. And the fire hydrant water supply in the city was inadequate.

 

Read the full article, which includes quotes from a 1930 NFPA Quarterly article, or listen to an audio version of the story here.

 

On March 21, 1929 an explosion and fire occurred at the Kinloch Mine in Parnassus, PA. The origin of this explosion was underground and forty-six lives were lost when the incident occurred. At the time of the explosion, there were two hundred and fifty-eight men underground. Fortunately, the explosion was limited due to partial rock dusting and 213 people were able to escape.

From NFPA Quarterly v. 23, no. 1 (1929):

“The explosion traveled up the slope to the Tipple Building, which was ignited and burned for three or four hours. One man was burned to death here and four were injured. This structure, as shown by the accompanying illustration, was entirely of steel construction, with no combustible material except coal dust and pieces of coal, some wooden flooring, and the paint on the corrugated iron walls. The damage to this structure was largely due to the fire rather than to the explosion, which presumably did not have great force when it propagated outside the mine and into the Tipple Building, the floor of which was 25 to 30 ft. above the ground.

It would appear from the description that this fire might have been controlled with a minimum of damage by an automatic sprinkler system if sprinklers had been installed. Automatic sprinkler protection is not usual in this class of property; this case indicates the potential value of such protection.”

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA 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. 

 

Stay up to date by signing up for NFPA Newsletters.

The Foundation has previously completed work on the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinklers in storage occupancies. Similar research is needed related to spray sprinklers and obstructions.  There is a need to assess the current rules related to spray sprinklers, including the beam rule, four-foot rule, group obstructions, etc., along with the technical justifications and available research to determine the knowledge gaps.  This effort focuses on that review.  It is expected that future efforts would focus on filling in the knowledge gaps and developing the technical basis for any new requirements or guidance in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems

The Foundation has issued an RFP for a project contractor for this project on “Impact of Obstructions on Spray Sprinklers.” You can find the RFP on the Foundation website. The deadline for proposals is March 29, 2019 at 5 pm EST. 

 

Stay up to date by signing up for one of NFPA's Newsletters.

The Call for Papers deadline is quickly approaching for SUPDET® 2019, which will be held September 17-20, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Denver City Center in Denver, CO! Since 1997, the Research Foundation has organized SUPDET (Suppression, Detection, and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium), an annual symposium that brings together leading experts in the field of fire protection engineering for the purpose of sharing recent research and development on techniques used for fire suppression, detection, and signaling. These events are generally attended by a variety of fire protection professionals, such as engineers, researchers, insurers, designers, manufacturers, installers and AHJs.

 

Please submit your abstracts on new developments in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community including the following topics. Case studies are always welcome.

 

Detection and Signaling:

 

  • Multiple Sensor and Multiple Criteria Based Fire Detection
  • Power over Ethernet and Emerging Technologies
  • Home Smoke Alarm Applications
  • Use of Data to Improve Performance/Effectiveness
  • Wildfire Applications

 

Suppression:

 

  • Advancements in Protection of High Hazard Commodities

  • Developments to Address Environmental Concerns

  • Protection of Li-Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems

  • Reliability and Maintenance of Systems (including remote maintenance)

  • Advancements with Gaseous and Clean Agents

     

Please submit your abstracts by email no later than March 15, 2019 to epeterson@nfpa.org. Abstracts should be absent of commercial overtones, be based on good science, present objective and credible results, and be without inherent bias. Abstracts that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted.

 

Abstracts will be reviewed by a program committee. If selected, presenters will be asked to submit an extended abstract, at most 3 pages, for publication in the meeting program or, at the author’s option, a full paper.

For more information on SUPDET - please visit our website: www.nfpa.org/supdet.

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