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Our attendees have arrived, exhibitors have set up, our presenters are standing by, and we're gearing up to make the next few days as interesting and impactful as possible for the fire and life safety professionals who have gathered here in San Antonio, Texas to enhance their code-related knowledge and develop new skills.

 

We'll be offering more than 120 educational sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, followed by the annual NFPA Technical Meeting on Thursday. We also couldn’t forget to mention the hundreds of exhibitors on the show floor that bring to life the products and services needed to meet and maintain compliance with prevailing codes and standards in the design, construction and operation of buildings and facilities of every kind, as well as many special events and activities!

 

If you weren’t able to make it down to Texas this year, be sure to follow along with this blog, and on social media using our hashtag #NFPAConf for updates throughout the show. Plus, you can start planning your trip to Orlando in 2020!

We also want to take a moment as NFPA Conference & Expo kicks off, to thank all of our generous sponsors who helped make this week's event happen. If you are an attendee, you won't want to miss stopping by these sponsors' booths in the Expo hall to see all of the new things they are up to!

 

 

We hope everyone has a great week here in San Antonio!

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the deployment of lithium ion batteries in energy storage systems (ESS) in commercial occupancies.  Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) along with the ESS integrators and installers are challenged by the lack of clear direction on fire protection and suppression in these installations. 

The 2016 Fire Protection Research Foundation project “Fire Hazard Assessment of Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems” identified gaps and research needs to further understand the fire hazards of lithium ion battery energy storage systems. There is currently limited data available on the fire hazard of energy storage systems (ESS) including two full-scale open-air tests from the 2016 Foundation project and a separate project that included intermediate scale fire testing conducted at the module level to evaluate the performance of fire suppressants. The fire protection and fire service communities need guidance on protection requirements for these systems in a building.lithium ion battery

The Research Foundation initiated this second phase project, which was supported by the Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG), NEC Solutions, and Retriev Technologies, to determine sprinkler protection guidance for grid-connected lithium-ion battery based ESS for commercial occupancies.  As part of the study, FM Global conducted small-scale and large-scale free burn tests and large-scale sprinkler protected tests in order to develop sprinkler protection recommendations.  There are two reports published for this effort, the test report by FM Global and available on their website and the second summary report by Exponent and available through the Foundation.

Based on testing at the module level by others to evaluate the performance of various fire suppressants, including water, and supported by the large-scale testing completed by FM Global, it was concluded that water is the most effective fire suppressant.  All tests in this study were performed on donated battery modules of two different chemistries; lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC).  While it is not possible to test every type of battery, testing two different chemistries provides useful information on how they each react and behave.  The predominant difference in the hazard was the battery chemistry and energy density. 

Read the report on the Foundation website to get details on the tests and the resulting guidance for general protection for lithium-ion battery based ESS located in commercial occupancies.  In addition, there will be a presentation at NFPA C&E on Tuesday, June 17 at 5pm Central and a sponsored Foundation webinar on Thursday, June 27 from 12:30 to 2pm Eastern.

Image: Reprinted with permission from FM Global. Source: Research Technical Report Development of Sprinkler Protection Guidance for Lithium Ion Based Energy Storage Systems, © 2019 FM Global. All rights reserved.

In Texas, the State Fire Marshal's Office has adopted the 2015 editions of both NFPA 101 and NFPA 1, with some noted exceptions. From their website, “The Life Safety Code® determines the design, construction and operation of occupied buildings. When other codes are utilized for building design elements, the standards of the Life Safety Code® prevail…. NFPA 1 is used by the State Fire Marshal’s Office staff when conducting inspections within their authority.”

 

Attendees Talking at NFPA Conference & Expo

 

Fortunately, inspectors from Texas don’t have to travel far to further their knowledge of the fire code and how to inspect for current code requirements as well as learn about upcoming, emerging code issues that will very soon be impacting the fire code community. Next week is NFPA’s flagship event, the Conference & Expo and is being held this year in San Antonio, TX. There will be over 130 educational sessions offered for the week along with other special events highlighting areas of fire protection, life safety, building construction and public education. To see the full details of the event (not too late to make last minute plans, regardless of where you are traveling from!), check out the Conference & Expo page.

 

If you plan to be at the event here is a list of some educational sessions (and their relationship to NFPA 1) that may be of interest to you as a fire inspector to further your knowledge about Fire Code related issues, use and enforcement. To see a full description of each session you can visit the Conference & Expo page or click on the individual links below.    

Hazardous Materials and Processes:

X09. NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code — Production Facility Compliance (NFPA 30 is second only to NFPA 101 with the number of sections extracted into NFPA 1. The Code extracts over 1400 sections from NFPA 30 including definitions, mandated provisions and explanatory Annex sections)

T68. When Uber Meets Octane: Fire Code Requirements for On-Demand Fueling (NFPA 1 added requirements for on-demand mobile fueling via a Tentative Interim Amendment to the 2018 edition of the Code?)

T69. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) — Safety Considerations (NFPA 1 added a new chapter on additive manufacturing to the First Draft and will continue to discuss the topic throughout the remainder of the 2021 Code revision cycle)

W02. Flammable Refrigerants Regulations: Past, Present, and Future (Flammable refrigerants have been a topic of discussion by the technical committee for the last couple of Code revision cycles. The Code currently addresses these in Chapter 53.)

W16. NFPA 33 Spray Finishing Requirements — Practical Application from Autobody Shops to Yachts (Chapter 43 of NFPA 1 addresses operations involving the spray application of flammable and combustible materials and required compliance with NFPA 33. The Code extracts about 17 pages of material from NFPA 33 so it is important for fire inspectors to be aware of process that can occur in a number of different occupancies. )

 

W18. NFPA 30A and NFPA 58: Safe Refueling of Propane Autogas Vehicles (The Code extracts extensive requirements from both NFPA 30A and NFPA 58 that related to this topic.)

Fire Protection Systems:

T16. NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems — Test Your Knowledge (NFPA 1 extracts from NFPA 13 and requires fire inspectors to be familiar with automatic sprinkler system operation.)

X10. What’s Wrong with This Picture? Identifying Water-Based System Deficiencies (NFPA 25 is the governing document for the inspection of water-based fire protection systems and is also extracted into NFPA 1.)

X17. Sprinkler System FAQs and Q&A (See notes above.)

Building and Life Safety:

M06. Enforcing the Extraordinary: Codes, Standards, and Best Practices for the Entertainment Industry (The Fire Code addresses all occupancies and special uses. Various sections throughout the Code will be needed to ensure building and occupant safety for entertainment events.)

P09. NFPA 241—Setting the Standard for Safeguarding Construction Operations (Chapter 16 of the Code addresses safeguarding construction and demolition operations and extracts from NFPA 241.)

P10. ASHER: A Public Session on Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (NFPA 1 along with other model codes such as life safety and building codes will be addressing the balance of fire and life safety with security from non-fire events for years to come. Compliance with both NFPA 3000 as well as model codes will no doubt overlap and working together as a community is critical for occupant safety.)

T59. NFPA 3000™ (PS): Community Threat Assessment and Response Preparedness (See note above.)

W49. Fire and Life Safety for Large Festivals (Large festivals are likely classified as assembly occupancies and can present unique challenges to a fire inspectors. With festival season upon us, NFPA 1 and the inspector play a critical role in keeping people safe during these events.)

Other:

M14 - NFPA 1 - Requisitos de Ocupaciones Especiales (Special Occupancy Requirements) (NFPA 1 addresses occupancy specific provisions for fire protection systems, egress requirements, interior finish, and other processes and operations that can be found in many occupancies.)

M18. Consumer Fireworks — A Review of Recent Large-Scale Fire Tests (In August 2014, a TIA was issued in conjunction with a Standards Council decision to temporarily withdraw NFPA 1124 and end all NFPA standards development activities relating to the storage and retail sales of consumer fireworks. Since then, a 2017 edition of the standard was issued but without any provisions related to consumer fireworks in its scope.)

 

M19. A New Standard for Energy Storage Systems: NFPA 855 (NFPA 1 will extract from NFPA 855 if it is issued by the Standards Council this summer. Critical and necessary requirements for fire inspectors related to energy storage systems will be added to the 2021 edition.)

X16 - The NFPA® Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem (The Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem cannot function effectively without an effective regulatory environment, use of referenced codes and standards, and effective code compliance, all cogs where fire inspectors can play a critical role in the safety of buildings, occupants and responders.)

 

We want to hear from you. Are you planning to attend the Conference next week in San Antonio? If this is your first NFPA Conference & Expo, what are you looking forward to the most? What educational sessions do you believe will bring you the most value as a Fire Inspector? Check back in here after the Conference and let us know what you thought and how we can further help you do your job.

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!

On June 9th, 1946 a fire at the Canfield Hotel in Dubuque, Iowa captured national attention when 19 people died and 20 others were injured.

 

The Canfield Hotel consisted of two buildings: the original four story brick joisted section and the six story fire resistive annex that was built in 1925. The original building did not have a sprinkler system and had installed a wooden stairway to connect the original building to the three upper floors of the annex. The annex had a closed non-combustible stairwell with automatic fire doors that lead to an exit on the ground floor.

 

Guests accessed the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the annex from a sub-standard elevator or the open stairway from the first floor of the original building. Additionally, corridors between the original building to the annex continued across all floors but were protected with automatic fire doors. Guests accessed the fifth and sixth floors of the annex from an elevator.

 

The fire started in a small closet in the Red Lounge on the first floor of the hotel. Waitresses were instructed to put cigarette butts in paper napkins and place them in a paper trash can in the closet. At 12:10 am, four guests had gone to play the juke box and heard a crackling noise and smelled smoke, went to investigate, and discovered that the wall in the closet was on fire. The guests and the hotel manager tried to extinguish the fire with a wet towel and a fire extinguisher but their attempts were unsuccessful. The fire quickly spread to the combustible finish on the walls of the bar. Fifteen minutes after the fire began, the hotel manager tried to warn guests on the upper floors. The night clerk notified the fire department at 12:39 am. Many escaped by using the fire escape on the annex.

 

When the fire department arrived, the fire had encompassed the lounge and the lobby. The fire department did not have enough staff to simultaneously fight the fire and save lives so they made the decision that life-saving took priority over fighting the fire at the time. At 12:42 am, another alarm was sent out by police radio to call for additional help. Civilians, the police department, and National Guardsmen assisted the fire department. They were able to rescue 35 people using ladders and 27 people jumped into life nets. It took the fire department 2.5 hours with six pumping engines, an aerial, and two ladder companies to extinguish the fire.

 

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.

This year's NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session) will be held at the Henry B. Gonzàlez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, on June 20, 2019, starting at 8:00 a.m. in the Stars at Night Ballroom.  NFPA will be providing wireless internet access during the Tech Session so attendees have the option of downloading the agenda prior to or during the Tech Session.  Also, documentation such as First Draft Reports and Second Draft Reports can be viewed on the Next Edition tab of each specific document information page.

The Tech Session is an important step in developing a complete record to assist the Standards Council in determining the degree of consensus achieved on proposed changes to NFPA Standards. During this meeting, NFPA members are given an opportunity to vote on proposed changes and members of the public can voice their opinions on these actions. Only NFPA members of record as of December 22, 2018 who are currently in good standing are eligible to vote at this meeting.

Below is the order of the NFPA Standards with motions eligible for presentation and action at the Tech Session:

  • NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 302, Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft
  • NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
  • NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
  • NFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways
  • NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose
  • NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting
  • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
  • NFPA 801, Standard for Fire Protection for Facilities Handling Radioactive Materials
  • NFPA 855, Standard for Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems
  • NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®

 

The NFPA Technical Meeting, also known as "Tech Session," is an important element in the standards development process, ensuring that consensus is achieved on proposed changes to NFPA Standards prior to Standards Council review. During this meeting, supporters and opponents of certified motions voice their opinions and qualified NFPA members vote on proposed changes. 

Certificación de Especialista en Inspección, Prueba y Mantenimiento de Sistemas de RociadoresCuando los sistemas de protección contra incendios a base de agua funcionan correctamente, reducen significativamente la probabilidad de pérdida de vida y lesiones en caso de un incendio. Como tal, es crítico que las personas responsables por la inspección, prueba y mantenimiento de las condiciones de estos rociadores tengan un conocimiento práctico de los materiales cubiertos en NFPA 25, Norma para la Inspección, Prueba y Mantenimientos de Sistemas de Protección contra Incendios a Base de Agua.

La Certificación de Especialistas en Inspección, Prueba y Mantenimiento de Sistemas de Rociadores (CEIPMSR) fue creada con motivo de proveer un proceso consistente e imparcial para validar competencia professional en inspección, prueba y mantenimiento de sistemas de rociadores. Esta certificación es una oportunidad de demostrar la habilidad de manejar el cumplimiento de instalaciones para eliminar peligros, maximizar integridad de sistemas, y asegurar la rápida y eficiente respuesta a una emergencia de incendio.

Este programa fue desarrollado con la ayuda de un Grupo Consultivo de Certificación (GCC) compuesto de expertos en la industria representando un amplio rango de países (6 diferentes países en Latinoamérica), años de experiencia, y áreas de experticia. El GCC trabajó a lo largo de varios meses para completar un análisis de los criterios ponderados del examen, la evaluación de cientos de preguntas para el examen, y finalmente, para llevar a cabo un estudio para determinar la nota de aprobación para el examen.

Esta nueva certificación ha generado interés por adelantado en profesionales de la industria. Ayudará a cubrir una necesidad identificada por ustedes y le permitirá a autoridades, empleadores, y clientes a reconocer profesionales con el conocimiento requerido de los retos asociados con un programa adecuado de IPM, y que son capaces de mantener a las instalaciones en cumplimiento con NFPA 25.

Obtenga el reconocimiento que se merece como un experto en su campo con esta certificación de especialista. 

Visítenos en www.nfpa.org/ceipmsr para obtener más información, incluyendo el Manual de Candidatos, la tabla de criterios ponderados, formularios de registro y fechas agendadas.

Talk about stirring up a hornet nest. A few blogs ago, the most frequently asked question was discussed. That blog concluded by stating: I will only provide one answer in order to ensure protection of your employee. That answer is; yes, PPE is necessary for every task you authorize an employee to perform, including operating a circuit breaker or using a switch to turn a light on in an office. If you want a different answer train your employees and perform risk assessments. Many took offense to the need for PPE to turn on a light. However, if you read the blog, it states that without a risk assessment, I must make the determination that PPE is necessary to operate a light switch. This does not mean that a risk assessment is necessary every time a light switch is operated within your facility. It does not mean that PPE is necessary to turn on any light switch nor does it mean that normal operation of a light switch is not possible. It does not mean that only qualified persons can perform that task. There are many other things that statement does not mean. I have stated several times that something may be presented to prove a point in a blog. So what was the point in that blog? The point was that I have no way of knowing what is happening in your facility.

Look at the normal operating conditions that permit operation of a piece of equipment. Now consider what could be happening on-site. There is no one verifying compliance with National Electrical Code® (NEC®) installation requirements. Installations are done with materials available in-house to quickly get the job done whether the material was specified or not. The 15-ampere switch is used beyond its ratings and is protected by a 30-ampere fuse. The conductors are 14 AWG and are improperly installed to the switch box. The switch is also inappropriately used as a motor controller. The switch is improperly installed so that the yoke is not grounded. The faceplate is damaged thereby exposing energized parts. The metal box for the switch is not grounded. There is visible arcing when the switch is operated. With the misuse of the switch, there is visible discoloration. The employee has not been trained to understand normal operating conditions or to recognize signs of impending failure. An employee is at risk of injury by simply flipping that switch. Although an arc flash is not likely to occur there are several signs that a shock hazard may be present. Even though the restricted approach boundary is avoid contact, the employee is required to make contact with the switch. The yoke, the faceplate screw (or faceplate itself if metal) or the box could be energized. The employee does not know to avoid contact with any metal part and is put at risk of electrocution

My answer is for conditions that I do not personally verify. When pushed to provide an answer to the question; is PPE necessary for a specific task to be conducted on specific equipment, my answer will always be; yes, PPE is required unless YOU determine otherwise. I will always consider that an employee is exposed to a hazard. For me to do otherwise may put that employee at risk of injury. You may determine that the normal operation of light switches or anything else in your facility does not require the use of PPE. It is not typical for such tasks to require PPE. This is true at our facility. Hopefully, it is true at yours as well. 

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®)? Subscribeto the NEC Connect newsletter to stay informed of new content. The newsletter also includes NFPA 70E information such as my blogs.

Next time: Impending equipment failure.

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.

 

Electric sprinklers, automated inspection and testing, energized controllers, and much more: those are just a few of the topics addressed in a new feature story on the important changes to the 2020 edition of NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. The story appears in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, out now.

 

In the story, “Keeping Up With Technology,” author Chad Duffy, a principal fire protection engineer at NFPA and staff liaison for NFPA 25, looks at an array of changes to the code precipitated by “new technologies in sprinkler design and inspection methods that have kept the technical committee for NFPA 25 busy throughout the last revision cycle,” Duffy writes. “It’s important to stay on top of key changes in the field. The most up-to-date edition of NFPA 25 should be used for all inspection, testing, and maintenance activities.”

 

The article, part of the NFPA Journal coverage of the upcoming 2019 Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas, includes a listing of related education sessions and other events.

 

The May/June issue of NFPA Journal includes a comprehensive preview of this year’s Conference & Expo and is available in print, online, and through our free app, which can be downloaded at nfpa.org/journalapps.

 

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for the 2018 edition of NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the July 9, 2019 comment closing date.  Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1426, referencing 600.5(D)(2), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1438, referencing 725.121(C), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1442, referencing 210.52(C)(2), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1444, referencing 725.121(C), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1451, referencing 240.67(C) and Informational Note (new), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1452, referencing 240.87(C) and Informational Note (new), proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1453, referencing 210.8 and Informational Note No. 3 (new), 2017 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1455, referencing Annex D3, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1458, referencing 334.10(2) and (3), 2017 edition and proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 6/27/2019
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1462, referencing 430.252, proposed 2020 edition, closing date: 7/9/2019


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.

From The NFPA Quarterly v.43, no.1, 1949:

On Saturday afternoon, June 4, 1949, two employees under the direction of a foreman were unpacking goods in the Montgomery Ward warehouse in San Rafael, California, -- an innocuous operation from a fire hazard standpoint as long as somebody saw to it that the packing materials were properly disposed of. This foreman undertook to do when he detailed one of his men to burn the rubbish. Being new on the job and not having previously had the rubbish detail, the employee was instructed to proceed to the end of a certain corridor, go through a doorway and there he would find a place to burn. The employee was successful in “finding a place to burn”; when next he was seen racing back up the corridor closely pursued by a fast spreading fire that caused $350,000 damage before being controlled.

There were two doors at the end of the corridor, one to the outside where the incinerator was located, and the other a fire door to a paint spray room. As luck would have it, the latter was blocked open, so in he went, deposited the rubbish in a convenient metal enclosure with what looked like a smoke pipe in the back, and touched a match to it.

Fire apparatus arrived promptly in answer to an automatic alarm, but the unsprinklered one- and two-story wood frame structure was already beyond saving.

 

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 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape™!” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, 2019. This year’s campaign focuses on the importance of home escape planning and practice. It also recognizes everyday people who motivate their households to develop and practice an escape plan; these seemingly simple, basic actions can have life-saving impact!

 

Home escape planning and practice is more important than ever, particularly because today’s homes burn faster than ever. Synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, are all contributing factors.

 

The true value of home escape planning and practice is often underestimated. “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” works to remind the public just how impactful home escape planning can be, and to celebrate young students, parents, caregivers, and beyond, who learn about home fire escape planning and practice, bring that information home, and spur their households to action

 

A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home. Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household.

 

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!,” along with a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit fpw.org.

Are you responsible for enforcing apartment buildings where residents want to use grills?  Have you been faced with landlords or condo associations who are seeking education on the risk of grills and cooking appliances?  Do you see office buildings with grilling/patio areas located too close to the building? Why does a Fire Code care about the occupant use of grills? NFPA 1 provides limitations for the use of grills, hibachi, and similar devices used for cooking and heating to ensure both the safety of occupants and protection of property.

 

grilling safety

For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose is to be used or ignited on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure.  This keeps the ignition source a safe distance from the structure, such as an apartment building or dormitory, and away from exterior areas.  In addition, these grills/hibachi cannot be stored on balconies.  Where grills are stored on balconies, the probability is high they will be used there as well.

 

With regard to the application and enforcement of this provision in the Code, a frequently asked question to NFPA staff is whether electric grills are including in this provisions.  The answer is yes, they must follow the same rule as other fuel fired grills noted above.  In 2006 the Code read as follows:

10.11.7 For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, gas-fired grill, charcoal grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure. Listed electric ranges, grills, or similar electrical apparatus shall be permitted.

 

However, the underlined sentence was removed in the 2009 edition and all subsequent editions.  From 2009 on, the requirement as stated in Section 10.11.6 is intended to include electric devices when enforcing this requirement. Listed equipment permanently installed in accordance with its listing, applicable codes and manufacturer’s instructions is permitted, however. 

 

We understand the challenges you may face in your role as a fire inspector when enforcing this provision.  The inspection of every balcony of every multifamily dwelling is an impractical enforcement task. Compliance through public education is more readily achievable. As an AHJ, you can provide written notification of these requirements to condominium associations, property management agencies, and others who are affected. When the potential danger posed by grills is understood, voluntary compliance is easier to obtain. Landlords can also include this prohibition in leases to ensure that tenants are aware of the restrictions. 

 

NFPA also offers safe grilling tips and other resources for grilling safety.  Here you will find a safe grilling tip sheet, grilling statistics infographic, a video with grilling safety tips, and also a video to show how to check your gas grill for leaks.  In addition, you can check out this recent blog highlighting other safety information regarding grilling. All important information for consumers and enforcers alike.  Who says grilling is only for the summer?  If you grill year-round you should stay safe year-round.

 

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!


In just a few weeks, on June 20, NFPA members will convene in San Antonio, Texas, for the annual NFPA Technical Meeting to cap off the 2019 NFPA Conference & Expo. NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, is among several NFPA documents that will take center stage at the meeting. In a video released yesterday, NFPA's Brian O'Connor highlights three key aspects of the new standard, which is scheduled to come out in September. 

 

One key aspect of NFPA 855, for example, will be how it addresses the location of energy storage systems (ESS). "When energy storage systems are located in a remote location ... there will be less stringent requirements than if that energy storage system were located in a building with other uses," O'Connor says in the video. 

 

O'Connor further explains these three key aspects of the standard and more in an article titled "Juice Box," which appears in the May/June 2019 issue of NFPA Journal. Another NFPA document that will be subject to a vote at the 2019 Technical Meeting is NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®). Watch a similar video featuring NFPA's Derek Vigstol on key changes slated for the 2020 edition of the NEC here

Rio de Janeiro and Nowata County, Oklahoma—worlds away but not that far apart.  One a city of over six million people, the other, a rural county of less than ten thousand people northeast of Tulsa.  Two places, worlds apart, but ultimately caught in the same net: Under investment in safety and neglect of the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem.

As was reported recently, it was likely a faulty air conditioning unit that sparked the devastating fire in Brazil’s National Museum that destroyed objects “beyond value”—irreplaceable artifacts of thousands of years of Latin American history.  But before that spark, the continued neglect of maintenance and lack of investment in any fire safety systems enabled a catastrophe for the people of Brazil.            

Nowata County has not yet had its spark but officials there seem to be lying in wait for a rhyming tragedy, though here, the irreplaceables are people, not objects.  In March, county Sheriff Terry Sue Barnett made national headlines when she resigned in protest.  The county jail, which was under evacuation after elevated carbon monoxide levels sent four people to the hospital, is in such a state of disrepair that Sheriff Barnett felt she could not conscionably obey a judge’s order to return the inmates to the facility.  In her resignation letter, which was joined by a number of her colleagues, the sheriff provided a list of dangerous conditions faced by inmates and staff, including that the cause of the CO leak had not yet been identified, the fire alarm system does not work, there are exposed wires throughout the facility and reports of inmates receiving electric shocks in the showers.  

Hopefully, Sheriff Barnett stopped a tragedy in its tracks, but the inmates may yet be moved back into the facility despite the fact Nowata County has offered no money to address the glaring life safety risks.  

While both fires and acts of defiance like Sheriff Barnett’s attract media attention, the public has few tools to proactively assess how strong fire and safety protections are in their communities and little sustained visibility into where the next accidents might be waiting to happen.  NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem could be used to fill that gap.  The Ecosystem illustrates all of the interdependent components necessary for minimizing safety risks and preventing loss, injuries, and deaths from fire, electrical, and other hazards. This Ecosystem framework could help identify the policies and resources needed to support safety in a community.  And this framework could enable policymakers and safety advocates to gauge the performance of their community.    

The Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem gives us a tool to exercise foresight. It is now up to all of us to exercise it. For information about the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, please visit www.nfpa.org/ecosystem.

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