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The electrical world is changing, are you keeping up?

As demand for high-performance smart buildings increases, the solutions needed to support that demand are evolving.  NFPA and our community of experienced professionals are working hard to make sure we educate the world on what is changing and how to safely and efficiently navigate these changes.

One of the ways we are doing this for the electrical industry is through our FREE ExpoPlus Electrical Experience in San Antonio from June 17-20, 2019. Come join us at our interactive expo where you’ll get hands-on experience with products from Cisco Systems, Eaton, Milwaukee Electric Tools, Oberon, and more. Check out our Emerging Technology Showcase, view in-depth product displays and participate in an immersive virtual reality tour of the building of tomorrow.

As an added bonus, part of this free show includes our ExpoPlus Education Sessions. Learn from professionals about the costs of shortcuts to safety and get updates on the NEC 2020 and what’s changed from the last edition. Are you interested in learning more about developing an electrical safety program? Then you won't want to miss our one-day "Developing an Electrical Safety Program Based on NFPA 70E" classroom training right here in San Antonio.

Want to get even more out of NFPA’s Conference & Expo? Purchase our All Access pass and experience everything that the conference has to offer. Over 140 education sessions covering code requirements and safety best practices.  

Make sure you are up to date; don’t get caught falling behind. Let NFPA help you take that next step forward in your career.  Join us in June! Register today.

May is National Electrical Safety Month and the theme this year is “Electrical Safety During Natural Disasters.” While this event is sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi), still so much of what we do here at NFPA is closely aligned with the mission of this campaign. We aim every day to keep everyone safe from electrical hazards during a natural disaster and all other times of the year.

 

Electrical safety during a natural disaster is often the last thing on the mind of those who are watching their entire lives floating away in flood waters. Often in this situation emotions are on high and the concern is with preserving and saving items within a home that represent far more than just physical objects. Think about how many items you might have in storage that hold a sort of sentimental value. Items that if lost in a flood would be devastating to give up. Personally, I can think of a few boxes that live in my basement that are 100% irreplaceable.

 

But what would I do if I suddenly found my basement full of water from a storm? Would I attempt to rescue the precious memories stored within those boxes? Are there any dangers to attempting such a daring rescue? Unfortunately, I would have to ride this one out. During a flood, there are often times where water will rise to above the receptacle height and can become energized. Combined with the fact that underneath this watery intruder lays numerous paths that provide a way for current to get back to the source. Flooded basements can often become a potential killer.

 

Entering flood waters in a basement for any reason can be fatal, but there are a few precautions that you can take to ensure that you don’t find yourself wading through water that you might never return from.

 

First, if you know the possibility of a flood exists or that an upcoming storm presents strong wind and lightning potential, it is a good idea to turn off all non-essential circuits. However, making the call on what is considered “essential” or not can be tough if you don’t know the ins and outs of how your house is wired. Therefore, many recommend turning off the main disconnect to the home to prevent damage to the wiring system that might occur due to line surges and high voltage crossovers. This also de-energizes any equipment that could lead to an electrical hazard if flooding occurs. If there is a back-up generator installed for the home, turning it off as well can help prevent electrified flood waters.

 

Second, if at all possible, move precious or important items to “higher ground.” If you know that a big storm is coming and the possibility of a flooded home is real, move your important items to an upper level of the home. This way you are not tempted to forge your way through potentially hazardous flood waters to save your things. In past flood disasters, there have been many instances where folks have been injured due to electrified water; being prepared for this kind of event can keep you from adding to the statistics.

 

Third, It is also important to ensure that all safety devices such as GFCI and surge protective devices are in good working order. The manufacturers of these items will spell out how to test and maintain this equipment. Keep in mind that most manufacturers have recommendations for regular testing and maintenance to make sure these devices will function when needed. So before putting your life on the line or assuming that your home theater is protected by that surge protection device, verify that these devices are in good working order by following the recommended testing procedure.

 

Lastly, DO NOT re-energize any electrical equipment that has been submerged in flood waters. It is impossible to know the extent of the damage without having a competent individual such as an electrician or inspector evaluate the equipment prior to turning it back on. Flood waters usually consist of more than just water and even though equipment might be completely dry, there is no telling what else could have been left behind. Often equipment that has been submerged in a flooded home will just need to be replaced. Some equipment might be able to be refurbished, however when you weigh the cost of refurbishing vs replacing, it is usually more cost effective and quicker to replace the damaged item.

 

These are just some high level items to help keep us all safe this storm season. While many of you are already on NFPA Xchange and regularly consume safety-related content like this, we all have family and friends who might have no idea what to do in a storm to protect their belongings and stay clear from danger zones that can be present after disaster strikes. Please share this blog and additional information that can be found on the NFPA Emergency Preparedness website. Until next time, be safe!


In March 2018, a fire on the set of the movie "Motherless Brooklyn," in Harlem, New York City, left one firefighter dead. (Newscom) 

Last week, a fire in the upstate New York town of Ellenville destroyed a car dealership where filming of an HBO miniseries staring Mark Ruffalo was taking place. The mayor of the town placed blame for the blaze squarely on the filming activity, according to a local newspaper

 

"They made it into a 1950s-1960s dealership, and something they did there caused the fire," he told the paper. Later articles have indicated an electrical problem sparked the fire but didn't elaborate on whether the dealership's electrical system was to blame or a piece of equipment brought in by the production company. No injuries were reported. 

 

The incident coincidentally occurred the same week an article I wrote for the May/June issue of NFPA Journal on fire and life safety on movie and television sets came out. The piece, "Ready for 'action!'?," details a fatal movie set fire that occurred in Harlem in March 2018, as well as the resources that currently exist to protect sets from fire and other life safety hazards. These resources include documents like NFPA 140, Standard on Motion Picture and Television Production Studio Soundstages, Approved Production Facilities, and Production Locations, and a training program developed by CAL FIRE. 

 

Read the full story and more from the new May/June issue at nfpa.org/journal, and listen to a podcast about the article here

May is National Electrical Safety Month and we are excited to have the opportunity to share some of the safety messaging NFPA has distributed throughout its lengthy history.

 

 

This week we are have a classic public service advertisement from 1964 warning the public to pay attention to the electrical.  Sparky’s message may be and old one, but it is still a valid and important one.

According to NFPA’s latest Home Electrical Fires report, “Aging electrical systems in older homes can be a source of arc faults, either through normal wear and tear or because the systems cannot accommodate the greater demands of modern appliances. Circuits can also be overloaded by providing electricity to too many appliances, often through power cords.

 

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. 

Photo Credit:
By Bill Dickinson (websites [2][3]) - [1], CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14815966

 

Generally when people walk into a building, they assume that the building will provide a reasonable degree of life safety. NFPA 101, along with other codes and standards, provide the road map to achieving the reasonable degree of life safety that is generally expected by the public. However, unless enforced, codes and standards do not have the ability to protect building occupants. The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) plays a vital role in enforcement of the code for the entire lifetime of a building; during construction, occupancy, and rehabilitation.

 

The term AHJ can apply to many different people and groups. A single building may have multiple AHJs which can include federal, state, and local agencies such as a fire marshal, electrical inspector, or health department inspector. In addition to the public sector, an AHJ might also include an insurance company, listing agency, corporate safety officer, and even a property owner.

 

4.6.1.1 The AHJ shall determine whether the provisions of this Code are met.

 

The role of the AHJ is to determine if a building, building component, or design meet the provisions and intent of the code. This can be a challenging task as the code has a very broad application including new and existing buildings and structures that can range from an existing single-family home to a new high-rise hospital. Paired with rapidly changing technology, innovation, operational needs, and design trends, it is not feasible to have the code address every possible design scenario. As a result, often times an AHJ is required to use the code requirements and their professional judgement on whether a design is code-compliant or meets the intent of the code.

 

In addition to determining compliance with the prescription requirements, there are many provisions which are left to discretion of the AHJ. For example, a hazardous area is defined as an area in a building that poses a degree of hazard greater than the general occupancy. The ambiguity to this definition is intentional to give the AHJ the ability to determine on a case-by-case basis if an area should be classified and protected as a hazardous area. While a storage room larger than 100 sq. ft. storing combustible materials would be required to be classified as a hazardous area in a new health care occupancy, the same storage room in an assembly occupancy would only be required to be classified as a hazardous area where the quantity of combustible supplies is “deemed hazardous” by the AHJ.

 

6.4.5 Modification Requirements for Existing Buildings. Where it is evident that a reasonable degree of safety is provided, the requirements for existing buildings shall be permitted to be modified if their application would be impractical in the judgement of the authority having jurisdiction.

 

The code also provides the AHJ with a degree of flexibility when applying the provisions of the code to existing buildings where “a reasonable degree of safety is provided.” It is not the intent of this section to make the requirements of NFPA 101 not applicable to existing buildings, but there are many times in existing buildings where modifications to the building would require significant effort and expense for minimal life safety benefit. For example, an AHJ may permit an existing non-compliant travel distance in an existing building that has been retrofitted with sprinklers, if they determine that a reasonable degree of life safety is provided.

 

Ultimately, the determination if a building, new or existing, is safe for occupancy is up to the AHJ. As NFPA 101 (4.6.9) indicates, a building shall be occupied only where “no serious life safety hazard exists as judged by the authority having jurisdiction.” It is also important to remember that each potential AHJ may have different goals and thresholds that they consider an acceptable level of life safety. For example, your local fire marshal may have a different goal than your insurance company, and so when enforcing the same code may have varying thresholds of what they consider acceptable.

 

To uphold the level of life safety that the public expects, it is important during the entire lifetime of a building, to understand the role and responsibilities of the AHJ, and their enforcement of the code in the interest of building occupant safety.

 

Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to www.nfpa.org/101 and click on “FREE ACCESS.”

 

Energy storage systems, community risk reduction, and important changes to the 2020 editions of NFPA 25 and the NEC—those are just some of the highlights of the new May/June NFPA Journal, which previews the upcoming NFPA Conference & Expo®, scheduled for June 17–20 in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Leading our feature package in this issue is a profile of Charles Hood, chief of the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD). Since arriving in San Antonio 12 years ago, Hood has overseen a dramatic transformation of the department that has put it among the best, most forward-looking fire departments in the country. Jesse Roman, Journal associate editor, offers an up-close look at Hood, his management style, and his vision for the department.

 

Our features also include a big-picture look at the theme of smart technology and how it will be addressed at the conference—Angelo Verzoni, Journal staff writer, takes a broad look at these emerging technologies and connects the dots on their myriad applications. Our feature on community risk reduction, or CRR, introduces readers to the important efforts underway at NFPA to develop CRR tools, and previews the variety of education sessions that will focus on this emerging concept.

 

Our code-related features include updates on the 2020 editions of the National Electrical Code® and NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. There’s also a story introducing readers to an important new standard: NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, or ESS, a topic that will be addressed in numerous education sessions and other events at the upcoming conference.

 

Our May/June departments include a “Perspectives” interview with Kris Hauschildt, whose parents died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in a North Carolina hotel. Hauschildt, an ed session presenter in San Antonio, is on a mission to raise awareness about carbon monoxide threats, and is working with a committee of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, to include new requirements for CO detectors in existing hotels. Our lead “Dispatches” story is a fascinating look at fire hazards on the sets of movies and television productions.

 

The issue also includes complete listings for product exhibitors at the upcoming conference & expo.

 

The May/June NFPA Journal is out now in print, as well as online at nfpa.org/journal. Mobile warriors can download our free apps for Apple and Android devices at nfpa.org/journalapps.

 

Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend includes lots of celebrations featuring cookouts and barbeques. But it also means the increased risk of grilling fires, as May is among the leading months for home grilling fires. The peak months for grilling fires are July, followed by June, May, and August.

 

On average each year (between 2013 and 2017), U.S. fire departments responded to 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques, including an average of 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $123 million in direct property damage, on average each year.

 

Leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks, and having a flammable object too close to the grill. Unattended cooking is a major cause of all types of cooking fires, including grill fires. Leaks and breaks are a particular problem with gas grills.

 

NFPA offers these tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season:

  • For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead. (Watch NFPA’s video on how to check for leaks.)
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
  • If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you a finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.

 

As the long weekend fast-approaches, take the time to inspect and test your grill, and make sure you have a safe location for using it!

The following nine proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 51B, Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work;  NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®; NFPA 1992, Standard on Liquid Splash-Protective Ensembles and Clothing for Hazardous Materials Emergencies; NFPA 1994, Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to Hazardous Materials Emergencies and CBRN Terrorism Incidents; and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 51B, proposed TIA No. 1456, referencing 5.6.1.1 of the 2019 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1405, referencing 7.2.12.1.1(4)(new) and 7.2.12.2.6(new) of the 2018 and proposed 2021 editions, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1992, proposed TIA No. 1428, referencing 8.4.12.3 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/18/2019
  • NFPA 1992, proposed TIA No. 1429, referencing 7.1.1.6(new) and 7.1.1.7(new) of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/18/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1431, referencing 7.6.2.8(new) and A.7.6.2.9.1 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1432, referencing 7.1.2.8(new), 7.1.2.9(new), 7.2.2.8(new), 7.3.2.8(new), 7.4.2.10(new), 7.5.2.10(new), 7.6.2.9(new), 7.7.2.9(new), 8.20.1.1, 8.20.11, 8.20.11.1, 8.20.11.2, and 8.20.11.3 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1433, referencing various sections in Chapters 6, 7. and 8 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 1994, proposed TIA No. 1434, referencing 7.2.1.2.5(new), 7.2.1.2.6(new), 7.3.1.2.3(new), 7.3.1.2.4(new), 7.4.1.2.5(new), 7.4.1.2.6(new), 7.5.1.2.5(new), and 7.5.1.2.6(new) of the 2018 edition, closing date: 6/20/2019
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1457, referencing 11.2.12.1.1(4)(new) and 11.2.12.2.6(new) of the 2018 and 2021 editions, closing date: 6/20/2019

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

Some significant changes are on the horizon for NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code. Although the changes that have been proposed so far in the code development process are not groundbreaking, they are worthy of your attention if the work you do is impacted by the requirements in this code.

One big change is still to be decided at an upcoming event. At the 2019 NFPA Technical Meeting in June, the 2020 edition of NFPA 58 will be up for any Certified Amending Motions (CAMs). This will be the second-to-last chance for any changes to be made to the document before it is issued by the NFPA Standards Council.

There is only one CAM on NFPA 58 and it’s on purging pipe systems to atmosphere. At the first draft meeting, the committee elected to change the procedures from what they are currently in the 2017 edition to the first draft language. This new language would require pipe purging of systems designed for 125 psig or less to be done in accordance with the requirements in NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code, and any systems of greater than 125 psig to be purged in accordance with NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems. The committee, however, at second draft changed the language to state that regardless of system operating pressure, the procedures of NFPA 54 must be followed. The CAM is looking to reject this change and send the document back to the same first draft language. What happens to the document next is up to the general body at the Technical Meeting.

There are a number of other changes that have happened to NFPA 58 that are almost finalized and are covered below. While none of these changes are groundbreaking for NFPA 58, they are significant enough to call out.

  • Chapter 12, which covers over-the-road motor vehicles fueled by LP-Gas, has been reorganized and revised to be more user-friendly.
  • Chapter 15, which covers operations and maintenance (O&M), has also been revised to be more user-friendly. Specifically, Chapter 15 has been revised to call out more O&M requirements in NFPA 58 rather than installation requirements as in previous editions. More importantly, Chapter 15 now excludes pipelines under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Transportation, as their O&M requirements are more stringent than the requirements of NFPA 58.
  • LP-Gas cylinders that are equipped with CGA 791 and CGA 793 connections are now required to have their valve face seal inspected before filling can occur, because it is possible that over time the face seal can become damaged from exposure to the weather or misuse. If any defects are found, then the cylinder is not permitted to be filled.
  • Fire extinguisher requirements in the 2017 edition were reorganized to be centrally located in Chapter 4. The 2020 edition has further revised the fire extinguisher requirements in order to bring them more in line with industry standards such as NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. Doing so allows the user to select the most appropriate fire extinguisher for the type of fire they are anticipating to fight.

These changes are only some, but not all, of the upcoming revisions to the 2020 edition of NFPA 58. For a more detailed list, visit nfpa.org/58news for a revisions fact sheet and information on how to get involved in the next cycle of NFPA 58.  

Standpipe systems are fixed piping systems with associated equipment that transports water from a reliable water supply to designated areas of buildings. Such systems are typically provided in tall and large-area buildings. 

These systems can significantly improve the efficiency of manual fire-fighting operations by eliminating the need for long and cumbersome hose lays from fire apparatus to a fire. Even in buildings that are protected by automatic sprinklers, standpipe systems can play an important role in building fire safety by serving as a backup for, and complement to, sprinklers.standpipe

 

So, how does this impact you as a fire inspector? As an inspector utilizing NFPA 1 you need to know three things about standpipes when determining if a building and system is compliant with the Code:  (1) Where are standpipes required, (2) What type of system is required and (3) Has the system been properly inspected, tested, and maintained.

 

Where are standpipes required?

The Code required standpipe systems, designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 14, in new buildings that meet any of the following conditions:

(1) More than three stories above grade where the building is protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system,

(2) More than two stories above grade where the building is not protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system,

(3) More than 50 ft (15 m) above grade and containing intermediate stories or balconies

(4) More than one story below grade

(5) More than 20 ft (6.1 m) below grade

 

In addition, standpipes are required in high-rise buildings and some stage areas in assembly occupancies.  Some occupancies also mandate the presence of standpipes, such as detention and correctional occupancies, airport terminals and piers, at certain thresholds.  As a fire inspector, you will be utilizing a number of codes and standards when inspecting buildings.  You might find that the standpipe thresholds vary in the codes. NFPA 1 might mandate the presence of standpipes where NFPA 101 does not, for example.  This is because the scope of a fire code, life safety code, and building code differ.  When enforcing the provisions for standpipes, the most restrictive provisions of the applicable codes apply.

 

Did you know that there are instances where the AHJ can permit the removal of existing occupant-use hose lines? Where (1) NFPA 1 does not require their installation, (2) The current building code does not require their installation, AND (3) The AHJ determines that the occupant-use hose line will not be utilized by trained personnel or the fire department, existing occupant-use hose lines can be removed per the AHJ.  This was added to the Code to place emphasis on the preference for untrained building occupants to evacuate rather than attempt to extinguish a fire using hose lines.

 

What type of system is required?

In addition to the Code mandating where standpipes are required it will also specify what class of system is required for a particular installation.  Standpipe systems are designated as Class I, Class II, and Class III.  Note that sprinkler systems with hose connections are not necessarily considered to be standpipe systems. Such systems are often regarded simply as sprinkler systems. The design of a combined system is similar to any other Class I or Class III system, except that the water supply and pipe sizes may be larger to accommodate the added sprinkler system demand.  The process of designing a standpipe system begins with determining the intended use, that is, whether it is for (1) full-scale fire fighting, (2) first-aid fire fighting, or (3) both. These three uses correspond with the three classes of standpipe systems. Most aspects of system design, such as the required water supply, layout, and system components, are also affected or dictated by the class of system.

 

Let’s look at a Class I system, as an example:  A Class I system provides 2½ in. (65 mm) hose connections at designated locations in a building for use by the fire department. A Class I system is typically required in buildings that have more than three stories above or below grade because of the time and difficulty involved in laying hose from fire apparatus directly to remote floors.  For these reasons, Class I standpipes are the required system in high-rise buildings.

 

Requirements for inspection, testing, and maintenance of standpipes systems

Finally, a standpipe system installed as required by NFPA 1 must be properly maintained to provide at least the same level of performance and protection as designed.  Specific details for inspection, testing, and maintenance of the system are found in NFPA 25. The owner is responsible for maintaining the standpipe system and keeping it in good working condition.

 

Are you required to inspect buildings with standpipe systems?  What types of buildings in your jurisdiction have standpipe systems?  Have you sited compliance issues?  Are there any resources you find could help you do your job better when enforcing standpipe or other building systems?  Comment below and join the discussion!

 

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

Thanks for reading!

One hundred years ago, a previously held belief that a dry-cell battery was practically non-hazardous and considered suitable for installing in dusty locations was disproved. During experimental work using six regular commercial type dry-cell batteries connected to each other in series, the batteries were inadvertently short-circuited and a peculiar fire hazard was discovered

Burning insulation on wiring of dry batteries after batteries were short-circuited.

 

 

From The NFPA Quarterly v.13, no.2, 1919:

There are three distinct phase of fire hazard introduced by dry-cell batteries of this type, any one of which might result in fire:

  • Are developed between carbon and wire or hot wire or molten copper igniting dust, inflammable vapors or combustible material;
  • Ignition of insulation;
  • Ignition of vapor due to volatilization of sealing compound by arc or heated wire.

The following is suggested:

  • Immediate inspection of all dry battery installations to make sure that all connections are in good condition and tightly secured;
  • Immediately remove such installations from locations where inflammable dust or vapors are or may be present;
  • Where facilities are available, top of carbon electrode might be covered with compound used for sealing batteries, leaving only copper connection or binding post exposed;
  • Enclosures containing dry cells of this type should be of metal, or have interior protected with asbestos.

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.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances;  NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code; and NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting; are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 13, proposed TIA No. 1415, referencing Table 22.5, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 24, proposed TIA No. 1425, referencing 2.3.1, 2.3.2, and Table 10.2.1.1, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 400, proposed TIA No. 1443, referencing Table 5.3.7, 2019 edition, closing date: 5/30/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1445, referencing 7.1.1.3, 7.1.3.2.2.1, 7.1.3.5.1, 7.2.2.1, and 7.2.2.5, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1446, referencing various paragraphs in Chapters 11 and 12, various new Annex A material, and B.1.2.4, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1447, referencing  A.12.2.4.3(1), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1448, referencing A.7.2.2.5 and A.9.1.6, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1449, referencing Table 11.3.9(c), 11.3.9.2.1 thru 11.3.9.2.4(new), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019
  • NFPA 1851, proposed TIA No. 1450, referencing  various sections in Chapters 1, 4, 6, 7, 11, and Annex A, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/10/2019

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

 

In my recent NFPA® Live I discussed the selection and location of audible fire alarm appliances to help meet the audibility requirements of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, 2019 edition. Participants learned the how to determine the minimum sound pressure level for the fire alarm system in a given space and how to account for the effects of hearing distance, wall configuration, and reverberation in the selection and location of audible notification appliances.

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 the Member'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!


Despite advances in various areas of science and technology, the act of firefighting is inherently dangerous. Over the past 10 years, an average of 81 U.S. firefighters have died each year in the line of duty, with nearly 30,000 injured during that span.

 

Dangers on the fire ground are a constant challenge. After being notified of an incident and dispatched, the incident commander and emergency responders make rapid fire ground decisions, based on the best information that they have at the time. They work to control the fire and ensure the life safety of building occupants; however, the tactics and strategies implemented rely on the following:

 

  1. The experience and judgement of the incident commander; 
  2. available, current, and accurate data (visually observed or determined from the operating environment); 
  3. and the standard operating procedures/guidelines of the responding fire department.

 

Situational awareness on the fire ground is paramount. Since the conditions of the fire scene are continually changing, it is common to lack some of the critical information that is needed to make optimal decisions about the stability of the structure, the health and status of firefighters, the location of victims, changing conditions on the fire scene, etc.

But what if emergency responders could be better informed via more accurate data? Can we improve firefighter safety by leveraging data captured thought sensor technologies?

 

To address this question, a research project led by the University of New Mexico in collaboration with the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, is exploring novel use cases for sensors that will improve the safety of firefighters on the fire ground. Funding for this effort is through a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

 

The goal of this research project is to make fundamental technical and algorithmic advances courtesy of connected and smart fire fighting technology. The proposed system will augment existing systems used by first responders by adding hardware and software components to the fire fighters’ existing equipment. This initiative will provide predictive modeling capabilities to support incident command evaluation of best approaches, based on experience and available resources.

 

This project addresses the following five key topic areas:

 

  1. Fire ground PAN/LAN Data Communication System. Establishment of a practical Personal-Area Network (PAN) using a PPE Sensor Network, and a Local-Area-Network (LAN) involving a Fire ground Local Area Data Communication System. The backbone of this project will consist of a mesh structure for communications that, based on the experimental approach, will exist in Wifi communications and can be extended to other communication methods. This will provide an important baseline structure that supports other key topic areas.
  2. Fire Ground Sound Discrimination. The capture and identification of critical fire ground sounds (e.g., PASS device or “Mayday”), with discrimination and filtering of these sounds from other fire ground noise will be considered. Algorithms will help support machine learning and help to implement specific fire ground actions.
  3. Prediction of Firefighter Exhaustion. Speech features will be included, identified, captured, and processed through the central computer in order to determine the level of stress and exhaustion of firefighters. This combined with respiration estimation procedures, will be used for actionable measures, such as assessing the remaining quantities of SCBA air or to supplement other physiological indicators.
  4. Human/Object/Event Recognition with Thermal Imaging. Algorithms will identify specific target entities using thermal imaging. With support from machine learning, the recognized objects will be transformed into knowledge-based actions for firefighters.
  5. Navigational Image Search Techniques. The imaging techniques within supported by machine learning will also be adapted to support firefighter locator navigation. This will ultimately benefit key fire ground activities dependent on locator technology such as search and rescue or RIT.

 

The proposed smart mesh communications structure combined with situational awareness will provide enhanced location and search capabilities. The communications backbone, in addition to the voice channel, will be enhanced and extended to enable increased data flow from various sensors collected locally but not yet fully integrated into the command infrastructure.

 

This project is on schedule to be completed in 2019, and we are looking forward to enabling new technology that supports firefighter situational awareness and ultimately improves the safety of our first responders.

At its April 2019 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs). The following six TIAs on NFPA NFPA 31, NFPA 58, NFPA 130, NFPA 291, and NFPA 1994 were issued by the Council on April 5, 2019:

  • NFPA 31, TIA 16-2, referencing 5.4.3.2 and 5.4.3.3(new), 2016 edition
  • NFPA 58, TIA 17-3, referencing 6.4.3, 2017 edition
  • NFPA 130, TIA 17-2, referencing A.6.3.2.1, 2017 edition
  • NFPA 291, TIA 19-2, referencing Table 4.10.1(b), 2019 edition
  • NFPA 1994, TIA 18-13, 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), 2018 edition
  • NFPA 1994, TIA 18-14, referencing 8.29.4.5(1), 8.29.5, and 8.29.7.4, 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.

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