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The Fire Protection Research Foundation, in cooperation with Vision 20/20’s Strategy 4, is sponsoring a workshop on September 11, 2017, in College Park, Maryland on smoke alarm and cooking fire prevention technologies. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about new technologies emerging globally, hear updates on codes and standards relevant to these technologies, and, most importantly, articulate the needs of the fire prevention community for future developments. There is no charge to participate but slots are limited, click here to learn more and register!


You may have noticed that we recently added some "Category" folders to the Building & Life Safety Forum. Having Categories will help keep all of the great information you share here on Xchange organized, and easier to find. (You can see the categories listed on the left here.)


Categories count on YOU - tag your content with a Category

When you post a question here in Xchange, you have the option to select a Category - please do so! Just click the checkbox for as many categories that are applicable.


What Categories do you need?

We've started out with some Categories based on what we see you talking about here in Xchange. If you have a suggestion for a Category folder to add, please comment below!

We realize that different types of buildings and occupancies present unique challenges. In this discussion, we're putting the spotlight on healthcare facilities. Do you work in or with this type of occupancy? If so, let's discuss:


  • When it comes to building and life safety, what is your go-to source for information?
  • How well (or not well) to NFPA codes and standards apply to healthcare facilities? Are there specific code-related challenges that you face?

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire and to educate everyone about the importance of fire prevention.  Every year NFPA and the Industrial Fire Protection Section (IFPS) recognize a company that best exemplifies the importance of Fire Prevention Week and its theme with the IFPS FPW Award.The award is a great way to acknowledge a company’s activities/outreach efforts and really showcases the great work of its employees and the work they do in the community. The 2015 award went to Siemens Building Technologies.


Siemns Building Technologies.jpg

Mike Knoll, Director of Fire Safety Systems at Siemens Building Technologies accepting the IFPS FPW Award from Joan Paquet, Fire Protection Engineering Manager at Ford Motor Company and Chair of the IFPS Executive Board


Here’s a few highlights of what Siemens Building Technologies accomplished in an effort to promote the theme:

  • Set up a major NFPA Fire Prevention Week Display in all buildings within the Siemens Campus in Buffalo Grove, IL
  • NFPA FPW Posters were positioned in all Siemens offices to provide awareness of Fire Prevention Week
  • Siemens Industry Affairs personnel manned the displays and answered questions from the employees on home fire safety and     smoke alarms.
  • Siemens Communications department published a special newsletter to all Siemens employees in North America to draw attention to the importance of smoke alarms in our homes, and the value of one smoke alarm in every bedroom.
  • The NFPA Fire Prevention Week message was broadcast over the internal “Siemens TV” network and displayed throughout the     buildings. 


Jim Pauley C&E.jpg

Jim Pauley, President of NFPA, stopped by the IFPS Business Meeting at the NFPA Conference & Expo to

congratulate Siemens Building Technologies for winning the IFPS FPW Award


FPW 2016

This year’s FPW theme is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”

We will send out entry information to all section members via e-mail and regular mail in August. The deadline for entries is December 15, 2016. We highly recommend you work with your Communications or Public Relations teams to organize a Fire Prevention Week program in October at your organization. If you start planning now, you can have a great program put together for October. For more information, contact Sean Ryan, IFPS Executive Secretary, at

For the first time ever, we are featuring free access to the recordings from our educational sessions at our Conference & Expo in Las Vegas — getting you even closer to the vast array of presentations offered by experts who are well-versed on the topics shaping the modern-day fight against fire and other hazards.


Login — or register for your free Xchange account — today for full access to the list of sessions below, and many more.


The full list of sessions is available for registered users.

In this brief video clip, taken from last week's NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, presenters Michael Johnston and Keith Lofland discuss the proposed change to the "readily accessible" definition in NFPA 70-2017.



This is the first in a series of three presentations that addressed noteworthy changes that are up for adoption. The full video for this session is available for NFPA Members only. Interested in becoming a member? Learn about all that NFPA membership has to offer.

We want to hear from you! Which edition of NFPA 70 do you use? Take our poll!

Originally presented on May 18, 2016, NFPA's Jonathan Hart provides an in-depth overview of the 2012 editions of NFPA 101 and NFPA 99. The following is a video preview.


The full, hour-long video is available for free if you are logged into NFPA Xchange.

CMS Adoption of the 2012 Editions of NFPA 101 and 99 - WEBINAR


Haven't registered for Xchange yet? What are you waiting for? Just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

Allan Fraser_Report Cover (DARAC) 2nd 4-28-16 3rd.jpg

In March 2007, NFPA published its Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities as a free, downloadable document. It was the single most popular document downloaded from NFPAs website over the next four months it was opened more than 26,000 times through April 7, 2008. To date it has been downloaded over 54,000 times. That’s over 16.5 downloads per day and a countless number of copies have been made and used.


NFPA has presented more than two dozen seminars on the Guide since its publication in early 2008 including nine NFPA Conferences, four CSUN Conferences on Technology & People with Disabilities, two for the U.S. Congress, and one each for The University of Miami-Ohio, Abilities Expo-Boston, Ohio State Fire Academy, City of Chicago, U.S Access Board, Quebec Accessibility Directorate, European Accessibility Directorate, Wisconsin Fire Inspectors Conference, Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, University of Massachusetts System, NACCHO and FEMA.


As with most all fire and life safety documents, from time to time there is a need to update them to provide the best and most current thinking as experience and technology change and improve. So it is with the Guide. NFPA staff and NFPA’s Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee have been working diligently for the past six months on preparing the 2nd edition. It’s now available at: “Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities”.

         May 16, 2016


        President Barack Obama has appointed Shelley Siegel, FASID of Lake Worth, Florida to the U.S. Access Board.

siegel.JPGShelley Siegel, FASID

         In announcing the appointment, the President stated, “I am confident that this experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for her service. I look forward to working with her.”




          Siegel is the founder and president of Universal Design and Education Network, an interior design firm that specializes in universal design in residential and commercial projects. She has also been consulting designer of the Siegel Design Group, Inc. since 1972. Siegel is a Fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and a member of the Design Alliance for Accessible Sustainable Environments. She is a long time member of NFPA’s Building Systems Technical Committee that is responsible for seven chapters of NFPA 5000® Building Construction and Safety Code®. She previously served as a member of the Advisory Panel for the ASID National Universal Design Program, the Florida Coordinating Council on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs ADA Advisory Board. She succeeds the late Michael Graves, FAIA as Board member.


Section 18.2 of NFPA 1, Fire Code, 2015 edition, addresses fire department access, and, more specifically, Section 18.2.3 provides requirements for fire department access roads.  There is a lot of detail in Code regarding fire department access, but this post will focus on the specifications and dimensional criteria required for fire department access roads; more details regarding fire department access will be provided in future posts. 



Approved fire department access roads are required for every facility, building, or portion of a building constructed or relocated. The access roads must be designed and constructed as follows:

  • WIDTH: unobstructed width not less than 20 ft (6.1 m).
  • CLEARANCE: vertical clearance not less than 13 ft 6 in. (4.1 m).
    • The vertical clearance can be reduced, as long as it does not impair access by fire apparatus, and approved signs are installed and maintained indicating the established vertical clearance when approved.
    • Vertical clearances can be increased when vertical clearances or widths are not adequate to accommodate fire apparatus.
  • SURFACE: The access roads must be designed and maintained to support the loads of fire apparatus and provided with an all-weather driving surface.
  • RADIUS: turning radius must be approved by the AHJ; turns in the road cannot reduce the width.
  • DEAD ENDS: When the road is more than 150 ft (46 m) approved provisions for the fire apparatus to turn around must be provided.
  • BRIDGES: Must be in accordance with national recognized standards; designed for a live load sufficient to carry the imposed load of the fire apparatus; any limits on loading must be posted at all entrances to the bridge
  • GRADE: The angle of approach and departure along the road must not exceed 1 ft drop in 20 ft (0.3 m drop in 6 m)
    • Fire department access roads connecting to roadways must be provided with curb cuts extending at least 2 ft (0.61 m) beyond each edge of the fire lane.


Overall, the Code provides broad minimum design requirements for fire department access roads. For more specific design information, see A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), available for purchase at, or consult applicable state and local roadway design standards.


Have you faced any design or construction issues related to fire department access roads? What are the common issues with fire department access?  Share your experiences and photos here!

Today's post is not about an issue currently in NFPA 1, Fire Code, and not yet being addressed by the committee, but it is an emerging issue that I came across last week and thought I would share here for awareness and discussion.   It may impact NFPA 1 and other NFPA documents in the near future.


Gas delivery services, being dubbed the 'Uber for gas', have been mentioned by many news outlets over the past week.  A few examples here:


The purpose of these services is to bring the fuel to your car, rather than you bringing your car to a traditional gas station.  Sitting at your office at work and remember that your tank is on empty?  With a few touches of your smartphone, these companies will drive their trucks to you and fill your tank in the office parking lot.  That simple.  There are several startup companies offering this service in many areas throughout the country.


However, there are safety concerns over these services.  Sure, they are convenient and innovative, but do they address the necessary hazards and safety issues that may arise?  Some of the concerns that come to my mind are:

  • quantity of fuel on the trucks
  • equipment, training, education of employees and customers
  • fueling locations (underground parking garages? residential?)


NFPA 30A, Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages, referenced by NFPA 1, contains language that addresses on-site refueling, but it’s intended for commercial (fleet) application and the location is supposed to be a designated area and is supposed to be approved by the AHJ.  NFPA staff have already started the discussion and through collaboration between NFPA 1 and NFPA 30A, we will work together to ensure our codes and standards can provide the necessary provisions to keep the employees and customers of these services safe.


Have you used a fuel delivery service? If not, would you? Do they operate in a city of town near you?

We are at the "one week to go" mark.  That's one week to go until the public comment closing date for the 2018 editions of some major NFPA documents such as NFPA 1, Fire Code, and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.


This is the opportunity for YOU get involved in the process.  The committee developed revisions and committee inputs during the First Draft stage and now is the opportunity to comment on these new ideas. There are some significant revisions being proposed for the next edition of NFPA 1 relating to valuable topics that will have a great impact on the Code.


A Committee Input is a "trial balloon" of sorts that floats a new topic out for public review.  It is not yet an official revision to the document, but remains as an active subject through the revision cycle until a revision is made.  Public comment is highly encouraged and necessary.  One Committee Input that is out for public comment is on Chapter 52, currently titled 'Stationary Storage Battery Systems'.  The Committee Input renames Chapter 52 to 'Energy Systems' and includes an expansion of the scope to address energy storage systems (ESS) and energy generating systems.


ESS requirements should cover battery systems, and/or fuel cells and other technologies such as chemical, mechanical and thermal that are being explored for use in today’ energy conscience environment.  Proposed changes better align the requirements of Chapter 52 to be compatible with other model codes as well as NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®.


The use of ESS is rapidly expanding across North America and AHJs are facing the challenge of having to evaluate installations of new ESS technologies and applications in locations throughout the built environment. These include chemical (i.e. hydrogen fuel cells), mechanical (i.e. fly-wheel systems) and thermal technologies. Currently, there are few if any fire code requirements in place to provide guidance on how to mitigate potential hazards.


As this is being proposed as a Committee Input, additional comments and feedback from the public is anticipated and encouraged.  You can access this Committee Input by viewing the NFPA 1 First Draft Report.  Have comments?  You have until Friday, May 16 to submit your proposed changes and revision. 


Is your jurisdiction looking for guidance on Energy Storage Systems?  What challenges do you face with this technology?





The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee (DARAC) will be meeting Saturday and Sunday, June 11th and 12th, 2016 in Surf “F” on the second floor of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the 2016 NFPA Conference & Expo.


The committee will be discussing a wide variety of items including, but not limited to, the election of officers, e-ACCESS free newsletter, public comments to NFPA 5000 and NFPA 101, the rebuilding of NFPA’s website including accessibility functionality, by-law revisions and NFPA’s new technical committee on Building Fire and Life Safety Directors.  


The meeting is open to the public and starts each day at 9:00 am Las Vegas time.


Did you miss the webinar on April 20?  No problem! A recording of the April 20th webinar, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Swinging Fire Door Assemblies, is now available on NFPA's website.


NFPA 80, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Swinging Fire Door Assemblies
The NFPA 80, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Swinging Fire Door Assemblies, webinar will focus on the inspection, testing, and maintenance provisions found in Chapter 5 of NFPA 80. Topics addressed will include general care and maintenance provisions, inspection and testing frequencies and documentation requirements, and visual inspection requirements. Additional details about responsibilities and common deficiencies will also be provided.


You can view this webinar, and other past NFPA webinars for free. Just go to --> training--> online --> webinars. If you are interested in NFPA 80 and fire door safety, there is also an archived webinar from December 8, 2015:


Overview of the Installation and Maintenance Requirements for Fire Door Assemblies

This webinar gives a better understanding of the basic operation and features of fire doors, and the constant care and maintenance required to maintain the fire doors in compliance with NFPA 80 to ensure the safety of the building occupants.


Special thanks to Paul Baillargeon with the Door Security & Safety Foundation for co-presenting these webinars.


Are you interested in further NFPA 80 training and resources?  Come visit NFPA at the DHI conNextions conference this week in Orlando.  We will be there Wednesday and Thursday!  Hope to see you there.

There is a sentence in the Foreword to the 2015 edition of the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace that states; “It can be debated that all of the requirements of the [National Electrical Code], when traced through a chain of events, relate to an electrical hazard…” This is likely true for every code and standard developed for the manufacturing and installation of electrical and alarm products. Therefore, electrical and alarm products manufactured and installed in compliance with an applicable code and standard significantly reduces or eliminates the potential hazards to persons and property from the use of electricity.


The insurance industry’s involvement in the development and promulgation of electrical and alarm codes and standards dates back to the very beginning of the electroindustry. In 1881, C.J.H. Woodbury of Factory Mutual Insurance reported at a meeting with the New York Board of Fire Underwriters; “…there were 65 installations of electrical light in the mills insured by the Manufacturers’ Mutual Insurance Companies of New England which were followed by 23 fires in six months, presenting a most hazardous and alarming condition of affairs.” This meeting lead to the publication of what is considered to be the very first set of adopted rules for the installation of electrical systems by a local jurisdiction on October 19, 1881. One-hundred and thirty-five years later, the insurance industry still plays a major role in electrical safety.


The insurance industry has representatives serving on committees at all levels of codes and standards development. This includes NFPA code-making panels, UL standard technical panels, and ICC code development committees. Many states and local jurisdictions have an insurance industry position on their building and electrical code councils. Lastly, the insurance industry is a major source of information and guidance to legislators and local policy makers when developing the laws and rules that regulate the construction industry.


The insurance industry has an invested interest in assuring the property they cover have electrical and alarm systems in compliance with the most recently published edition of the applicable construction codes. This is achieved through the industry’s endorsement and support of the Coalition for Current Safety Codes and the 3-year code adoption cycle. Code adoption advocacy is channeled through the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported solely by property insurers and reinsurers. It is also critical to the insurance industry that current codes and standards are adopted and enforced, as written, without any amendments that reduce safety requirements. For instance, the largest fire and casualty insurance carrier in the nation, State Farm Insurance, issued a letter in 2015 to the Governor of Michigan opposing proposed amendments to the state’s electrical code.    


A program developed by the insurance industry that promotes best practices in code adoption and enforcement is the Insurance Services Office (ISO), Building Code Effectiveness Grading Scale (BCEGS). The BCEGS program evaluates the building codes in effect in a particular community and how the community enforces codes, with a special emphasis on the mitigation of losses from natural hazards and fire. The community insurance rating issued by the BCEGS program can result in reduced insurance premiums for property owners of up to 25%. It can also result in substantial discounts on premiums for flood insurance policies under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or Community Rating System (CRS). Additionally, the percentage of FEMA disaster recovery funding given to communities with better BCEGS ratings will be much higher than those communities with lower BCEGS ratings. Today, more than 20,800 communities participate in the BCEGS program, covering 87% of the U.S. population.


Another insurance industry program that relates to the electrical safety is the “increased cost of compliance” or “law and ordinance” coverage offered to policy holders in existing homes and buildings more than 5-years old. In the event a claim is filed to repair or rebuild a covered property, the increased cost of compliance or law and ordinance coverage will pay for the electrical equipment and system upgrades necessary to meet the most recently published National Electrical Code and other electrical and alarm standards. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) also includes an increased cost of compliance coverage for all new and renewed standard flood insurance policies. Flood insurance policyholders in high-risk areas, also known as special flood hazard areas, can get up to $30,000 to help pay the costs to bring their home or business into compliance with their community's building codes and floodplain ordinance. According to the CoreLogic 2014 storm surge analysis, 6.5 million homes along 19 states of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions are at risk of storm surge damage. The potential reconstruction costs could exceed $1.5 trillion with more than $986 billion of that total concentrated in within 15 major metro areas.


The importance of the insurance industry on electrical safety cannot be overstated. Increased property and flood insurance premiums along with the potential decrease in FEMA disaster recovery funding can serve as a huge deterrent for a state or local jurisdiction to delay the adoption of the current construction codes or to implement code amendments that reduce the electrical and fire safety of buildings and structures. And with the availability of insurance coverage for the increased cost of compliance with newer construction codes, home and business owners have an opportunity to bring their property to the most current electrical safety standards when repairs or rebuilding occurs. It is quite clear the insurance industry is an essential partner to the electroindustry in its endeavor to promote electrical safety.