Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog
3 4 5 6 7 Previous Next

NFPA Today

5,005 posts

pool safety

Summer is finally here! Drive through any neighborhood and it is nearly impossible to miss the signs. The smell of burgers on the grill and fresh cut grass permeates the landscape and perfectly accompanies the sound of children laughing and playing in backyards everywhere. And with summer, comes swimming. Whether it is swimming in a pool, lake, ocean, or even just playing in a puddle, children of all ages jump at the chance to head to water when the temperatures rise.  But before we do, it is important for all of us to take a moment and consider the safety measures that have been put in place to ensure that an epic cannonball off the diving board does not turn into a tragic electrical accident.

 

In case you didn’t know, submerging our bodies in water makes us more susceptible to electric shock and reduces resistance of our skin. This in turn permits lower voltage levels to cause a sufficient amount of current to flow through our bodies, which is extremely dangerous, and possibly even deadly. For this reason, NFPA 70®: National Electrical Code® (NEC®) contains many requirements to minimize shock hazards in and around pools and hot tubs and protect us from harm. With this in mind, there are essentially two methods of protection that are employed in the pool and hot tub safety requirements of the NEC®:

 

  • Eliminate voltage gradients in the water and surrounding areas
  • Interrupt power if and when there is a problem

 

The first method of protection, eliminating voltage gradients, deals less with protection from faulty electrical equipment itself and more so with taking measures to electrically connect conductive surfaces and items in the area around the pool, including measures to bond the water itself to the conductive surfaces and equipment. This concept is referred to as "equipotential bonding," meaning, bonding things together in order to keep everything at the same or equal potential or voltage. The NEC requires all of the following to be bonded together with a minimum of an 8 AWG solid, copper conductor or with rigid metal conduit made of brass or other corrosion resistant material:

 

  • Conductive pool shells, such as concrete poured or sprayed over rebar or a copper conductor grid
  • Perimeter surfaces up to 3 feet measured horizontally from the inside wall of the pool
  • Metal fittings
  • Electrical equipment associated with the circulation system or pool cover
  • Metallic components
  • Fixed metal parts like ladders and handrails
  • Underwater lighting

 

Lastly, if none of these components to the system are in contact with the actual water itself, means must be provided to expose a minimum of 9 square inches of a corrosion-resistant and conductive material to the water. By connecting all of these items together, the chance that any one of them develops a difference in potential from any of the other items or the water itself is now reduced.

 

The other main method for protecting people from electrical hazards in and around pools and hot tubs involves turning the power off when there is a fault or other problem. There are also two main vehicles in which this level of protection can be provided:

 

  • An effective ground-fault current path to facilitate the opening of the overcurrent protective device (OCPD)
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter protection that monitors the current on the circuit and interrupts power when the difference between what goes out and comes back in exceeds 4-6 mA

 

Combined, these two methods protect pool goers by removing the electricity from the environment when there is a problem. For instance, often the area surrounding a pool is very corrosive and harsh with respect to electrical equipment and can cause conductors to loosen up or break off from their terminals. This could lead to a conductor contacting the frame of a motor or a metal raceway or side of a box increasing the chances of someone being electrocuted. Having an effective ground-fault current path like an equipment grounding conductor will help the overcurrent protective device supplying the circuit open quickly by providing a low impedance pathway and spiking the fault current high above the trip setting or rating of the OCPD. For instances where a human might come in contact with this faulty equipment, GFCI protection is required. This protection helps to interrupt the power even when the fault current isn’t high enough to trip the OCPD, which might be the case in the event that the EGC or bonding conductor has been broken or otherwise disconnected.

 

All these measures are aimed at protecting us in an environment we often view as recreational and relaxing. However, due to the chemicals and moisture and nature of activities that take place in and around a pool, a certain level of maintenance and care must be done to ensure that these protective measure continue to function and provide the intended level of safety. This is where both qualified electricians and pool owners can work together. Regular testing of GFCI receptacles and circuit breakers is needed to verify that these devices will operate when the need arises. Regular inspection of grounding and bonding conductors is also a must to make sure that these needed pathways are still in place both to open the OCPD when equipment fails and to eliminate dangerous voltage gradients that could lead to electric shock drowning or electrocution.

 

Staying safe in and around pools from electricity is often not the first thought on our minds when the temperature climbs and we head poolside to relax and unwind. But with a little attention to maintenance and inspection of the measures put in place at the time of installation, we can do that cannonball without a second thought. 

 

So now that you’re aware of how pools are built to protect you from electricity (even if you don’t understand all of the requirements) remember to work together with a local qualified electrical who can help you with maintenance and inspections, and can answer any questions you may have. Then kick back and enjoy your time around the pool this summer knowing you’ve put safety first!

 

 For additional pool safety tips, resources and information, check out NFPA’s website.

Solid and open metal grate walkways are often installed in aisles as part of rack storage.  Further, open metal grates are also used as mezzanine levels above storage.  There is little information on how these walkway and mezzanine installations impact current storage protection requirements.  When is this type of installation considered a problem from a sprinkler protection standpoint?  At what point do walkways interfere with pre-wetting of adjacent arrays?  There is a need to compile available information and develop a research plan on this topic.

To address this, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has issued an RFP to conduct a literature review and develop a research plan on  the impact of elevated walkways in storage on sprinkler protection.  This research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Research Foundation in accordance with Foundation Policies and will be guided by a Project Technical Panel who will provide input to the project, review periodic reports of progress and research results, and review the final project report. The Research Foundation will engage a contractor with appropriate technical expertise to conduct the project.

You can find the Request for Proposals (RFP) on the Foundation website. The deadline for proposals is July 22, 2019 at 5pm Eastern time.

Early bird registration is open until August 28 for the Foundation's 2019 SUPDET®  symposium, which will be held at the Crowne Plaza Denver Downtown from September 11-20, 2019.  This year's program features almost 30 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications.  

 

The detection and signaling section will take place September 17-18 and includes research on residential smoke alarms, life safety and emerging technologies in buildings, data and modeling, and more.  The suppression session, which runs from September 19-20, will feature presentations on the latest applications and research on warehouse storage protection, research on the protection of lithium-ion batteries, advancements in gaseous and clean agent systems, and more.

 

Don't miss out - register today for the full symposium, or choose either the Suppression Program or the Detection Program.  For additional details and the full program visit: www.nfpa.org/supdet

This week’s post comes from Alex Ing, Associate Engineer in NFPA’s Hazardous Chemicals and Materials group and Staff Liaison to NFPA’s Special Effects Technical Committee responsible for the development of NFPA 1126.   Thanks to Alex for sharing his knowledge of this important issue in the Fire Code!

 

What is the first image that pops into your head when you say “4th of July”? If you imagined a fireworks display you would not be alone. The 4th of July, is the pinnacle fireworks holiday in the United States with cities and towns all over the country putting on their own displays. As the holiday approaches not only does the firework community get extraordinarily busy, but those fire inspectors tasked with permitting and approving these displays also get busy. NFPA produces two standards covering the safe display of fireworks and pyrotechnics, NFPA 1123 Code for Fireworks Display 2018 Edition, and NFPA 1126 Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience 2016 Edition.

 

The main difference between the two standards is distance from the audience watching. NFPA 1123 sets the appropriate display distance for fireworks and pyrotechnics, and NFPA 1126 provides requirements for displays using pyrotechnics at distances closer than those required in NFPA 1123. There is a difference between fireworks and pyrotechnics, based on the fact that manufacture of fireworks is dictated by federal regulation. While most of the celebrations going on this 4th of July will be in accordance to NFPA 1123 some will also be in accordance with NFPA 1126. Additionally, NFPA 1126 will also be used for pyrotechnic displays at concerts and other similar events.

 

One issue that has been arising lately in the NFPA 1126 world has been the use of pyrotechnic effect simulation equipment. What pyrotechnic effect simulation equipment is, is equipment that is uses a chemical mixture, heat source, and the introduction of oxygen to initiate or maintain combustion and is used to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration, or detonation. The most common form that pyrotechnic effect simulation equipment takes are machines that imitate gerbs, the pyrotechnics that produce a spray of sparks in of a predictable duration, height, and diameter. These new simulation equipment, will take a chemical mixture (typically a metal mixture) heat it up, and then use a blower to produce a shower of sparks similar to gerbs. Traditional gerbs on the other hand contain a propellant in the mixture which will instead ignite the pyrotechnic material inside and propel it. Both of these pieces of equipment are considered pyrotechnic devices and fall under the scope of NFPA 1126. (see TIA- 16-1, TIA Log #1317) Therefore it is necessary that anytime pyrotechnic effect simulation equipment is used it follows all the same requirements as any other pyrotechnic devices under NFPA 1126. The 2021 Edition of NFPA 1126 will include more requirements specific to pyrotechnic effect simulation equipment such as requiring specific fuel based fire extinguishers, however for the 2016 edition there are no specific requirements for these devices.

 

Both NFPA 1123 and NFPA 1126 are referenced by NFPA 1 in Chapter 65.  Chapter 65 contains general provisions for regulating the storage, use, and manufacture of explosives, display fireworks, and pyrotechnical before a proximate audience; flame effects before a proximate audience; fireworks manufacturing; and model and high power rocketry.  This chapter covers the wide range of hazards, like those described above and addressed by NFPA 1126, and associated with the use of materials that potentially can have disastrous consequences if not applied and enforced properly. Adoption of NFPA 1 your jurisdiction also mandates compliance with NFPA’s suite of pyrotechnic documents all referenced in Chapter 65 unless amended locally by your jurisdiction. 

 

Do you have events in your jurisdiction where pyrotechnics will be used?  Comment below and share your stories of Code enforcement or compliance issues. 

 

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

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s master magician, Mark Wilson toured the United States with a jovial talking steam pump engine named Snuffy.

There were two versions of Snuffy used as part of the national radio and television tour promoting fire safety for children. Little Snuffy was designed and built by Doug Beswick and Carl Jablonski. He had moving headlights, a mouth, and a hat that “tipped.” It drove and did everything by remote control. Big Snuffy was created by John Gaughn, the master illusion builder, and was built on a golf cart chassis. The driver “magically” controlled it from inside the boiler.

 

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 student reception held at this week’s NFPA Conference & Expo was an opportunity for NFPA student members and student conference attendees to learn more about career development and connect with other professionals and potential employers.

 

During the event, students heard from NFPA President and CEO, Jim Pauley, and NFPA Vice President of Outreach & Advocacy, Lorraine Carli, who shared their own career journeys and words of wisdom for these rising stars.

 

 

Using an interactive format, Lorraine and the students then discussed the importance of personal branding. “It’s who you are, what values you have, and how you want to be perceived,” shared Lorraine. The group talked about the ways one’s personal brand comes to life, both through in-person interactions as well as online through social media.

 

Following the interactive discussion, attendees participated in roundtable discussions with members of NFPA Women in STEM group and networked with FM Global, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, and Viking.

 

This week, NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, was released as a resource to help authorities determine what kind of emergencies are occurring in their communities, where they’re happening, and to whom.

NFPA 1300 provides guidance on conducting a community risk assessment (CRA), creating and implementing a Community Risk Reduction (CRR) plan, and establishing ongoing evaluation of that plan. The new standard also provides the framework for building a CRR team, fostering strategic partnerships, and applying data to conduct both a CRA and CRR activities.

CRR is defined a process that helps identify and prioritize all types of risks, and emphasizes the integrated and strategic investment of resources to reduce their occurrence and impact. While CRR is often understood and valued by fire departments, full implementation is frequently hindered by challenges. NFPA hosted a series of educational sessions and workshops at this week's C&E, which worked to help attendees address potential roadblocks, and to provide support and guidance as they develop and implement CRR strategies in their communities.

In addition, NFPA is developing a digital tool to help communities conduct a community risk assessment (CRA). In a dedicated effort to make this tool as effective as possible, NFPA is looking for 50 fire departments to participate in a pilot program where participants will be awarded access to the tool for one year free of charge in exchange for frequent feedback. The pilot will be deployed in two groups over the next 12 months.

For fire departments interested in participating in this pilot program, more information and applications can be found at www.nfpa.org/crr.

 

 

Above photo: Karen Berard-Reed, a public education program manager at NFPA, leading an interactive CRR workshop yesterday at C&E.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems

  • 25-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 49 failed.
  • 25-2 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 42 failed.
  • 25-3 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 63 was not pursued. 
  • 25-4 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 40 passed. 
  • 25-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 60 passed. 

 

NFPA 25 was passed with 2 amending motions. NFPA 25 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 302, Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft

 

  • 302-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 3 passed.
  • 302-2 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 4 passed.
  • 302-3 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 5 passed.
  • 302-4 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 5 passed.
  • 302-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 6 passed.
  • 302-6 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 7 passed.
  • 302-7 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 7 passed.

 

NFPA 302 was passed with 7 amending motions. NFPA 302 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids

 

  • 654-1 Group Amending Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No 11 and Accept Public Comment Nos. 11 and 9 failed. 

 

NFPA 654 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 654 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems

 

  • 130-1 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 23 failed.
  • 130-2 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 19 failed.

 

NFPA 130 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 130 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways

 

  • 502-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1 failed. 
  • 502-2 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 6 failed. 

 

NFPA 502 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 502 COMPLETED.

 

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose

 

  • 1961-1 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 9 was not pursued. 

 

NFPA 1961 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 1961 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting

 

  • 1851-1 Motion to Reject a Second Revision No. 37 passed. 

 

NFPA 1851 was passed with 1 amending motion. NFPA 1851 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code

 

  • 58-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 69 passed. 

 

NFPA 58 was passed with 1 amending motion. NFPA 58 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 801, Standard for Fire Protection for Facilities Handling Radioactive Materials

 

  • 801-1 Motion to Reject a Second Revision No. 1 failed. 

 

NFPA 801 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 801 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 855, Standard for Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems

 

  • 855-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 912 and 454 passed. 
  • 855-2 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 458 failed. 
  • 855-3 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 9 was not pursued. 
  • 855-4 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 462 and 206 was not pursued. 
  • 855-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 180 was not pursued.
  • 855-6 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 410 was not pursued. 
  • 855-7 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 138 failed.
  • 855-8 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 75 failed. 
  • 855-9 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 283 failed. 
  • 855-10 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 100 was not pursued. 
  • 855-11 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 173 failed. 
  • 855-12 Motion to Return Entire NFPA Standard failed. 

 

NFPA 855 was passed with 1 amending motion. NFPA 855 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in San Antonio, the following action has taken place on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®

 

Note: 70-2 was changed to be heard after 70-36, 70-3 was changed to be heard after 7-40 and

70-20 through 70-24 were changed to be heard in the following order: 70-21, 70-22, 70-24, 70-

23 and 70-20.

 

  • 70-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7891 failed.
  • 70-4 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8072 failed.
  • 70-5 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 71 failed.
  • 70-6 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 71 was not pursued.
  • 70-7 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 8104 failed.
  • 70-8 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7697 including any Related Portions of First Revision Nos. 8119 and 7705 failed.
  • 70-9 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7697 including any Related Portions of First Revision Nos. 8120 and 7705 failed.
  • 70-10 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7676 failed.
  • 70-11 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1381 passed.
  • 70-12 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7657 failed.
  • 70-13 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7657 failed.
  • 70-14 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8074 passed.
  • 70-15 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7974 failed.
  • 70-16 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8048 failed.
  • 70-17 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 808 failed.
  • 70-18 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 444 failed.
  • 70-19 Group Amending Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 1470 and 445 failed.
  • 70-21 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1406 failed.
  • 70-22 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1406 passed.
  • 70-24 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1382 failed.
  • 70-23 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1382 failed.
  • 70-20 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 1402 was not pursued.
  • 70-25 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 700 was not pursued.
  • 70-26 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1502 failed.
  • 70-27 Group Amending Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8187 failed.
  • 70-28 Group Amending Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8189 failed.
  • 70-29 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1123 failed.
  • 70-30 Group Amending Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8172 failed.
  • 70-31 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8162 was not pursued.
  • 70-32 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8164 was not pursued.
  • 70-33 Group Amending Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8222 failed.
  • 70-34 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7979 passed.
  • 70-35 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7916 was not pursued.
  • 70-36 Group Amending Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 30 passed.
  • 70-2 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7776 failed.
  • 70-37 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7783 including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 8597 failed.
  • 70-38 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1590 failed.
  • 70-39 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 21 was not pursued.
  • 70-40 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1480 was not pursued.
  • 70-3 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 1482 failed.
  • 70-41 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7522 failed.
  • 70-42 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7584 failed.
  • 70-43 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7586 failed.
  • 70-44 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 7588 failed.
  • 70-45 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 8159 and any Related Portions of First Revision No. 8608 passed.
  • 70-46 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 315 passed.
  • 70-47 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7517 failed.
  • 70-48 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 501 passed.
  • 70-49 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 500 passed.
  • 70-50 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7509 failed.
  • 70-51 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 516 passed. 
  • 70-52 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 2147 failed. 

 

NFPA 70 was passed with 10 amending motions. NFPA 70 COMPLETED.

 

 

 

Vendome

From Fire Command vol.39, no.9 (1972):

“On June 17, a four-alarm fire in the former Hotel Vendome became the worst tragedy in Boston Fire Department history when a portion of the building collapsed, killing nine fire fighters. The old hotel was being converted into apartments when the fire occurred.”

 

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. 

 

NFPA released its annual “U.S. Firefighter Fatalities in the United States” report today in coordination with a presentation by Rita Fahy, manager of NFPA’s applied research division, at NFPA’s conference in San Antonio. According to the report, a total of 64 U.S. firefighter fatalities while on duty in 2018. This continues a five-year trend of fewer than 70 deaths per year. It is also the eighth time in the last 10 years that fewer than 70 on-duty deaths have occurred; the death toll is half what it was in the first five years that NFPA conducted this study.

Of the 64 fatalities, 34 were volunteer firefighters, 25 were career firefighters, four were employees or contractors for federal or state land management agencies, and one was a prison inmate.

 

Overexertion, stress and medical issues accounted for by far the largest share of deaths. Of the 28 deaths in this category, 25 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks). While cardiac-related events have accounted for 44 percent of the on-duty deaths over the past 10 years, 2018 represents the third consecutive year that the toll has been below 30.

 

“While the total number of on-duty firefighter deaths has been decreasing over the years, we continue to see many of the same overall results, with the leading causes of these fatalities tending to be cardiac deaths and crash deaths,” said Fahy.


According to the report, the second-largest share of on duty deaths typically results from road vehicle crashes, with 11 deaths in 2018. The death toll due to crashes is only slightly lower than the average 13 deaths per year that have occurred in crashes over the past 40-plus years, but in the same time-frame, fire department call volume has more than tripled.

 

One firefighter was murdered when responding to a fire call in 2018. Unfortunately, Fahy noted, this is not as unusual as might be expected.

 

Fahy also pointed out that while it’s encouraging to see the overall number of on-duty firefighter fatalities continue to remain relatively low compared to previous years, the full firefighter fatality picture is far broader than NFPA’s data.

 

“This report only reflects deaths that occur while victims are on-the-job, either as the result of traumatic injuries or onset of acute medical conditions,” said Fahy. “Studies have shown that years spent in the fire service can take a toll on a firefighter’s health, both physical and emotional, and can also result in exposures to toxins that eventually result in job-related cancer, cardiac and suicide deaths that are not represented in this report.”

 

A comprehensive study that enumerates all duty-related deaths in a year is not yet possible to accomplish.

 

The firefighter fatality study is made possible by the cooperation and assistance of the United States fire service, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the United States Fire Administration, the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

At NFPA’s Conference & Expo in 2018, Jim Pauley introduced attendees to the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, telling them "we have failed to connect the dots. While everyone is so focused on their particular aspects of incidents, collectively, we have forgotten that safety is a system – not a singular action, piece of equipment, or event.”

 

At this year’s event, the focus has moved to urging all to recognize their role in the Ecosystem and to find ways to work together. From NFPA's perspective, the full Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem includes eight elements that play a critical role in protecting people and property. Time after time when we have seen calamities, we can almost always trace the cause of those situations to a breakdown in one or more of the elements of the ecosystem.

 

During opening General Session, Jim Pauley told the crowd that “Safety does not exist in a vacuum.  However, we have been treating it like it does.  The policy maker makes isolated or ill-informed decisions and all of you have to compensate for the consequences.  Valuable research falls on deaf ears because few outside of the research community are paying attention.  The fire departments focus on responding quickly with enough equipment.  The building owners worry about energy efficiency because fires are really rare, right? School officials talk about removing pull stations because they think they are not needed at a time when the threat of active shooters consume their attention.”

 

It’s time to change the way we are all thinking.  Safety is a system – an ecosystem. 

 

NFPA’s Guy Colonna presented an education session on the topic as well. When he asked attendees why they came to his session, most people said they wanted to learn more about how to apply the Ecosystem principles. Today’s audience consisted of at least one person from each cog, but Guy reminds people that even if they don’t feel like they fit into a specific area, everyone is included in the ‘informed public’ cog, so we are all affected by the Ecosystem.  

 

Guy likes to think of the Ecosystem as a safety management system as it helps show the importance of everyone talking to one another, working together, and striving for the same goals. When looking at the interdependence of two of the components, skilled workforce and investment in safety, we can see how they both demonstrate behavior change to build an enhanced safety culture, how skilled workers are needed for proper application of current code requirements, and that safety investments yield a more committed workforce.

 

Bringing up recent news events, where the government responsibility component failed, Guy solicited some reactions and thoughts from the crowd. He talked about London’s Grenfell fire and how changes have been slow in coming since its occurrence two years ago. He also talked about a recent fire in Bangladesh that reminded us to put safety first as it was almost identical to a 2010 event.

 

To conclude, Guy asks attendees, “how can you put the system to work?” He advises that to help answer that question, think about who your allies are in the community, what information you can provide to them, and stresses that this is not something you can do alone. Guy hopes that the ecosystem will eventually become the starting point for every conversation about fire & life safety.

A reception, dinner, and awards night was held Tuesday night at NFPA Conference & Expo in San Antonio, meant to congratulate and thank several National Electrical Code committee members for their outstanding service.

First up, the newest NEC Quarter Century Club recipients were honored, to all of those who have been involved with the NEC for 25 years or more. These awards were presented by NFPA Senior Principal Engineer and NEC Staff Liaison, Mark Earley. There were 15 eligible committee members this year, including:

 

            Ward I. Bower

James E. Brunssen

Julian R. Burns

Carl Fredericks

Barry N. Hornberger

Robert E. Johnson

Robert A. Jones

John R. Kovacik

Ronald Lai

Michael S. O’Boyle

James F. Pierce

Steven R. Terry

Lawrence E. Todd

Mark C. Wirfs

Michael L. Zieman

 

Then, the Richard G. Biermann National Electrical Code Outstanding Volunteer Award was bestowed, as a surprise, to NFPA’s Mark W. Earley (presented by NFPA President Jim Pauley) for outstanding accomplishments in the development, promotion or advancement of the National Electrical Code. This award intends to recognize an outstanding volunteer who has demonstrated a commitment in actively contributing to the advancement of the NEC through furthering the development of the NEC and/or promoting the implementation of the NEC.  Mark has worked for NFPA since 1986, and has served as staff liaison and Secretary to the NEC Correlating Committee since 1989, making him extremely well-deserving of this award.

 

The award was created in 2016 to honor the memory of Richard G. Biermann, former chair of the NEC Correlating Committee.  Mr. Biermann’s service on the NEC included serving as chair of Code-Making Panel 16 and as a member of several other CMPs.  He also served NFPA as a member of the Standards Council and as a member of the Board of Directors.  In 1995, Mr. Biermann received the Paul C. Lamb Award in recognition of his outstanding service to NFPA. 

Mr. Biermann, who represented the National Electrical Contractors Association, ran a successful electrical contracting business.  Yet, during his tenure as chair of the correlating committee, devoted at least one day per week to the National Electrical Code.  This award honors outstanding volunteerism on task groups, Code-Making Panels, the Correlating Committee, or promoting the adoption and application of the NEC during the membership adoption year of the NEC.

 

To close out the awards portion of the evening, Mark Early stood up once again, to present the dedication of the NEC 2020 Handbook. The handbook was dedicated to Donald R. Cook, Chief Electrical Inspector, Shelby County Department of Development Services in Pelham, Alabama. Donnie also currently serves as the Secretary of the NFPA Board of Directors.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s awardees! 

It’s always such an exciting time of year when the NFPA Conference & Expo gets kicked off, and this year is no different. Opening General Session typically starts us off, and it’s where we get to hear from NFPA President Jim Pauley as well as the current chairman of the board of directors, Keith Williams, who give an update on what we have been doing at NFPA to help attendees do their jobs better. This year was a bit different. We did hear from Jim and Keith, but instead of an update on new tools, resources, and plans that attendees will learn about throughout the rest of the event, we heard more about making the world safer.

 

Safety does not exist in a vacuum.  However, Jim Pauley told the crowd that we have been treating it like it does.  The policy maker makes isolated or ill-informed decisions and everyone else has to compensate for the consequences.  Valuable research falls on deaf ears because few outside of the research community are paying attention.  Fire departments focus on responding quickly with enough equipment.  Building owners worry about energy efficiency because fires are really rare, right? School officials talk about removing pull stations because they think they are not needed at a time when the threat of active shooters consume their attention.

 

But as Jim pointed out, it’s time to change the way we are all thinking.  Safety is a system – an ecosystem. 

NFPA designed the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem as the framework to tie all of the key efforts or components together – all of the essential elements to keep people and property safe in today’s world. It is a tool for everyone to use to organize their thinking and have a greater impact on fire safety. 

 

This is becoming the NFPA mantra. We have translated the information into a number of languages. We are speaking throughout the world helping those devoted to safety understand the ecosystem and work on the various elements. This notion is resonating from a post Grenfell London to the smallest of Caribbean islands.  It speaks to code officials thwarted by insufficient resources, policy makers designing a regulatory framework and first responders seeking to better protect their communities from fire and every other hazard they face.

 

We need a renewed commitment to the very things that have driven down the number of people who have lost their lives in fires and the amount of loss. It takes all of us working together, promoting and doing our part to shore up the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem.

 

Jim’s challenge to the audience and all of you reading this now. is to change your thinking.  Don’t think only about your piece of the puzzle – think about the system.  Where there are gaps, work to fill them. What can you learn that will help you shore up the ecosystem?  What are you going to do once you have gotten that information?

 

Chairman of the Board, Keith Williams, added more weight to the importance of the Ecosystem by talking about how different shifts and changes occur internationally, in our respective backyards and in our industries, so does the safety landscape, and as a byproduct – the challenges ahead of us. And yet what is paramount is people, the communities that we serve, the professionals that use our resources, and seek our services – they rely on us to effectively keep up with new hazards that surface across the globe.

 

Keeping up with that progress or potential issues can be daunting. And at the same time exhilarating. Keith said that he knew “this from the work that [he does] at UL and sees it as a member of NFPA’s board of directors. NFPA’s board is especially excited about the direction the association is taking to meet the ever-changing needs of society. It truly is an invigorating time to be aligned with NFPA, whether as a member of the staff who works so hard to bring ideas to life, a member or a volunteer who adds your expertise to the codes and standards process, or as a professional, who benefits from the great research, resources and respected expertise that has been the hallmark of NFPA for more than a century.”

Last night, a very special evening was held here in San Antonio as NFPA Conference & Expo gets underway. The NFPA Board of Directors, our Standards Council and members of the NFPA staff gathered to recognize thirteen incredible individuals in seven distinct award categories which are the highest recognitions bestowed by NFPA.

 

These individuals have invested significant time and effort in reducing risk in our world through big ideas, careful consideration, progressive actions, and creative collaborations. Through their actions, they are advocating for the components of the fire and life safety ecosystems in ways that are resonating with the global community – and making our world safer.

 

Award: The Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award

Honoree: Robbie Stone

 

This award recognizes individuals and organizations that help educate neighbors, employees, and families about fire prevention and safety during Fire Prevention Week.  Robbie Stone is Emergency Management director and fire chief of the Atkinson County, Georgia fire department who was instrumental in creating a new fire safety program that resulted in a 30% drop in fire calls. This leader and his department have also stepped up their fire prevention efforts, even as they dealt with reduced staffing, spending a considerable amount of time educating the next generation of fire safety advocates in local schools, and raising awareness of Fire Prevention Week messaging.

 

Award: Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award

Honoree: Barry J. Brickey

 

This award honors an educator who works for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada, and uses NFPA materials in consistent and creative ways. The recipient must demonstrate excellence and innovation in reaching out to the community, and view NFPA as the leading source for fire safety information.

 

Barry Brickey has been teaching NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn® program to elementary school children for more than a decade. Shortly after implementing Learn Not to Burn, he began educating elderly residents and community organizers about fire and fall prevention strategies using NFPA’s Remembering When™ program materials.

 

A passionate safety advocate, Barry has filled some big dog shoes over the years as the voice of Sparky the Fire Dog® during national campaigns and media tours. His ability to collaborate with others has resulted in billboard campaigns that have promoted Fire Prevention Week themes, home fire sprinkler information, and smoke alarms. He was also a key contributor to a team effort that reduced call numbers at a high-volume apartment complex in his jurisdiction.

 

Award: Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal

Honorees: Daniel Brandon, Matthew Hoehler, Brigit A.-L. Östman, and Joseph Su

 

This medal recognizes a Fire Protection Research Foundation project completed in the previous year that best exemplifies the Research Foundation’s fire safety mission, commitment to overcoming technical challenges, and collaborative execution of projects.

 

The winning project for this year’s Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal involved true collaboration to execute a study that aimed to isolate what contributions timber had on a compartment fire in order to compare the performance of cross-laminated timber systems to other structural systems commonly used in tall buildings. This work will serve in informing building codes, emergency response techniques, and in fact has already led to changes in manufacturing standards. 

 

This award recognizes everyone that was involved with the project and includes the research team, the project sponsors, and the technical panel.  For this project, the National Research Council of Canada and the Research Institute of Sweden were contracted for technical services, and full-scale testing was conducted at the National Fire Research Laboratory at NIST.  This study was sponsored by the American Wood Council (through a grant from the USDA) and the Property Insurance Research Group.

 

Award: Harry C. Bigglestone award

Honoree: Wojciech Węgrzyński

 

This award is given annually to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize from NFPA.

 

This year’s Bigglestone award winning technical paper was selected out of an impressive array of 103 articles. The work focused on developing guidance for coupled wind-fire analysis, which applies to wildfires, tunnels, indoor flows, and other scenarios.  The paper provides valuable information for engineers and designers by presenting best practices for how to incorporate wind modeling into fire analysis.  The findings will help optimize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of wind and fire so that they can work to prevent and predict different scenarios. Wojciech’s work will have an impact on evacuation strategies, mitigation measures, and resiliency plans.

 

Wojciech has spent a significant part of his career focused on how architectural features of a building impact smoke control performance, and how to make smoke exhaust systems less expensive and more efficient. He is an assistant professor and deputy head of the Fire Research Department at ITB, the Polish Building Research Institute in Warsaw, a member of technical committees working to develop new European standards for smoke control, and a vice president of the Polish Chapter of SFPE.

 

Award: Standards Medal

Honoree: Stephen King

 

The Standards Medal recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to fire safety and the development of NFPA codes and standards, and represents the most distinguished award given by the NFPA Standards Council.

 

Stephen has enjoyed a 30-year career with the Fire Department of New York, eventually climbing to the role of Battalion Commander. On September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center buildings were struck, he was the citywide safety chief, arriving on scene within nine minutes of the first strike. This fire leader was operating a command post when the second tower was hit, causing debris to come crashing down. His knee was shattered, resulting in a permanent disability. He retired after that fateful day, but has remained actively involved with the fire service since.

 

He serves as chairman of the NFPA Technical Committee on Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting Protective Clothing and Equipment, and as a member of the Correlating Committee on Fire and Emergency Services Protective Clothing and Equipment. He has 10 years experience with the Naval Reserve; has been a commercial instrument pilot for the United States since 1970; and holds a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration and a masters in protection management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

 

Award: James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal

Honoree: Jon Nisja

 

This award was established in honor of Jim Shannon, who served as NFPA’s president for 12 years. Shannon was a tireless advocate known for promoting fire safety in the interest of the general public and the fire service. Jon demonstrates comparable passion, he started his fire service career in 1978, and 15 years later began to focus his efforts on fire prevention and fire investigation. Serving as fire marshal for two communities, he has been a fire safety supervisor with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division for the past 10 years, where he oversees fire loss data, fire protection, and training. A former president of the Fire Marshals Association of Minnesota, our honoree is also a past president of the International Fire Marshals Association. He has authored chapters in five books, and is widely known for his knowledge of fire protection interests, including fire safety history, means of egress, fire protection systems, building construction, and using performance measures to show effectiveness.

 

Award: Philip J. DiNenno Prize

Honorees: Roger Allard, Robert G. Bill, Gunnar Heskestad, and Hsiang-Cheng Kung

 

The prestigious Philip J. DiNenno Prize recognizes groundbreaking innovations that have had a significant impact in the building, fire and electrical safety fields. The prize, which comes with $50,000 in prize money, is named for the late Philip J. DiNenno, the greatly respected former CEO of Hughes Associates, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to fire safety.

 

This year’s DiNenno award is being given to the four individuals above who have played a significant and substantive role in the successful promulgation of truly effective, occupancy-specific, fast-response sprinklers, which involve three independent technologies related to sprinkler response.

 

Because of the four award winner’s hard work and perseverance, the following statements can now be made with certainty: first, the use of Response Time technology has been overwhelmingly accepted worldwide for the characterization of fast response links. Second, Quick Response residential fire sprinklers are widely accepted and used in residential settings worldwide. And last but not least, Early Suppression Fast Response fire sprinklers are broadly used in commercial and industrial settings worldwide.

Have you ever wondered what community risk reduction, or CRR, is? Well, you're not alone.

 

"Many different people have many different definitions of community risk reduction," Karen Berard-Reed, a community risk reduction strategist at NFPA, says in a video published last week on NFPA's YouTube channel. And for many people, she continues, they're "just not sure" what CRR is. 

 

Simply put, CRR is the process for identifying and prioritizing risks in a certain community and devising a plan to address those risks, Berard-Reed says. The definition comes from the new NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development.

 

At the 2019 NFPA Conference & Expo happening in San Antonio, Texas, this week, CRR will take center stage. There are four education sessions slated for the next three days at C&E that relate to CRR, including three Berard-Reed will help present. 

 

Learn more about these sessions and NFPA's efforts related to CRR at nfpa.org/gotrisk, where you'll find a feature article Berard-Reed wrote for the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: