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FAQ: NFPA 10 certification

Posted by barrychase Employee Jun 19, 2015

QUESTION

Does NFPA 10 require a person to be certified to perform the annual inspection, even if the extinguisher is not due for the six-year maintenance or hydrostatic test?

 

ANSWER

This response refers to the 2013 edition of NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.

Although an internal examination (7.3.3) is not always required, maintenance (3.3.15) should not be confused with inspection (3.3.14). The external examination (7.3.2) is a maintenance procedure that is intended to be much more thorough than the inspections performed on a monthly basis (7.2.2) and should determine whether the extinguisher remains in good working order. In this regard, an untrained, uncertified person may not be aware of all of the required procedures, such as replacing the tamper seal every year (7.3.2.2), or may not be able to identify non-obvious areas of concern, such as a blocked nozzle, cracked hose, or bent safety pin. Therefore, personnel that perform this examination must be certified.

Interested in perhaps being a part of the process specializing in your area of expertise?  Submit your online application by September 25th for consideration at the December 2015  Standards Council meeting by going to NFPA Technical Committees seeking members.

In the world of code development, our codes and standards are constantly changing to reflect the latest technology, safety issues and industry trends.  NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, 2016 edition, was approved as a consent document by NFPA's Standards Council on May 26, 2015 and contains many changes that will positively impact the fire door community.  Here is a summary of five of the changes to NFPA 80:

 

  • Label Information - New Section 4.2.1.1 through 4.2.1.6 provide criteria for the information on labels required for fire doors, fire door frames, fire windows, and oversized doors.  Prior to the inclusion of this language, NFPA 80 was silent on what information should be found on the labels.  Providing a list of minimum critera for labeling inforamtion assits AHJs when inspecting doors and provides guidance for laboratories and manufacturers.
  • Doors Exceeding Bottom Clearance - New Section 4.8.4.2 permits products evaluated for fire doors with a bottom clearance in excess of 3/4" (19 mm) and listed for use at or under the bottom of the fire door to be installed in accordance with their listings.  Products are emerging which are tested and listed for use when clearances are not within the limits of NFPA 80. This proposal explicitly allows for this category of products, where listed for this use.  Prior to this language, NFPA 80 offered no acceptable solution to correcting deficiencies in door clearance under the bottom of the door.
  • Field Labeling - New Section 5.1.4 mandates that field labeling be performed only by individuals or companies that have been certified or listed, or by individuals or companies that are representatives of a labeling service that maintains periodic inspections of production of labeled equipment or materials and by whose labeling the manufacturer indicates compliance with appropriate standards or performance in a specified manner.  Additional language provides guidance on the information required on field labels. In prior editions, NFPA 80 provided no guidance to building owners, inspectors, or AHJs on field labeling. New text helps ensure field labeling is done correctly and by the appropriate person(s).

  • Swinging Door Clearance -Requirements for the clearance between the door and frame and between the meeting edges of doors in pairs has been expanded to address doors and frames of different materials.  There are significant dimensional and design differences between labeled door frames that are constructed of different materials (e.g., hollow metal, press steel, wood, composite, fiberglass reinforced polyester, and aluminum), which might not perform as needed under fire test, or actual fire, conditions. The new text also clarifies the different types of door frame construction and establishes the maximum clearance dimensions for each type door assembly.
  • Testing of Fire Dampers - The frequencies for inspection and testing have not changed, but additional clarification has been provided related to the test method for both dampers operated by a fusible link and those that to not use a fusible link to operate. The new text will provide necessary clarification as to what steps need to be taken during the inspection and testing; guidance that was not provided in earlier editions of NFPA 80.

 

The other changes, along with the committee's explanation of those changes can be found by visiting the Next Edition tab of the NFPA 80 Document Information Page at www.nfpa.org/80next

The terms "fire protection rated/rating" and "fire resistance rated/rating" are used throughout NFPA codes and standards and are often used interchangeable in discussion and in writing.  However, these two terms are exactly that two different terms, with two different meanings, and two different applications.  It is important to understand the difference in the two to be able to use them properly and gain a better understanding of Code requirements where fire protection ratings or fire resistance ratings may be required.

 

Fire Protection Rating. The designation indicating the duration of the fire test exposure to which a fire door assembly or fire window assembly was exposed and for which it met all the acceptance criteria as determined in accordance with NFPA 252, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies, or NFPA 257, Standard on Fire Test for Window and Glass Block Assemblies, respectively.

 

Fire Resistance Rating. The time, in minutes or hours, that materials or assemblies have withstood a fire exposure as determined by the tests, or methods based on tests, prescribed by this Code.

 

  Fire barriers have fire resistance ratings, and opening protectives, such as fire doors or fire windows, have fire protection ratings. Where a product, such as a glazing material, has been tested to the appropriate test standards, and passed the necessary test criteria, it can be given a fire resistance rating and may be used in the same installations as a fire barrier or assembly requiring a fire resistance rating.

  The test procedures on which the ratings are based, that is, NFPA 251/ASTM E 119/ANSI/UL 263 for fire barriers and NFPA 252/ANSI/UL 10B/ANSI/UL 10C for fire doors, are different.  The acceptance criteria for fire protection–rated assemblies, such as fire doors, differ from those for fire resistance–rated construction, such as a wall or floor/ceiling assembly. The limitation of temperature rise through the fire door is not normally a measure of acceptance, although it is a measure of acceptance for a fire resistance–rated assembly such as a wall. In addition, during the course of the fire test, fire doors will expand on the exposed side and, as a result, will warp — sometimes expanding through the door opening at the top of the door. This expansion and warping can result in some flaming through the top of the door openings. The test standards recognize this phenomenon, and a certain amount of such flaming is permitted under the acceptance criteria. This does not adversely affect safety, given that fire protection–rated assemblies are intended to protect relatively small openings in larger fire resistance–rated barriers. 

 

Last January, NFPA's High-Rise Building Safety Advisory Committee (HRBSAC) published a document "Guidelines to Developing Emergency Action Plans for All-Hazard Emergencies in High-Rise Office Buildings." 

 

The guide has been developed with input from the high-rise community as represented on HRBSAC. This committee was appointed by the NFPA Standards Council to identify existing needs and emerging issues within the high-rise building environment; produce recommendations as to how NFPA can provide a leadership role on such issues; and ensure that the NFPA Codes and Standards development process includes current subject matter on high-rise building safety, emerging technologies, and other matters that affect those who work in, live in, or manage high-rise buildings.

 

The NFPA Guidelines to Developing Emergency Action Plans for All-Hazard Emergencies in High-Rise Office Buildings was developed in response to the need for guidance in preparing staff and occupants of high-rise office buildings for evacuation. This guide provides guidance for those parties responsible for executing the evacuation, as well as information on various evacuation strategies that should be considered. With the increased presence of both human-made and natural disasters, the guide was written to be

applicable to both fire and all-hazard emergencies. The guide addresses the criteria and the minimum information necessary to integrate proper evacuation components into a comprehensive evacuation planning strategy appropriate for occupants of a high-rise office building.

 

This guide can be downloaded free of charge from the NFPA website, www.nfpa.org/highrise.

 

We also welcome your input on the guide.  Please take a moment to submit your comments or suggestions on how we can improve the document for future editions.

     The electrical industry is based around one concept and that is, control.  More importantly, it is based upon the safe control of the flow of electrons through a conductive object.  By controlling electricity we are able to make the electricity perform work that improves our lives.  Electricity can be employed to do anything from simple tasks like lighting our homes and cooking our foods to more complex tasks like cell phones and powering the International Space Station.  For all the wonderful and amazing things that electricity can do to make our lives better and more interesting, there is also a dangerous and deadly side to it as well.  Common electrical hazards include shock, arc flash/blast, and fire.  These are all unfortunate side effects that arise when electricity is not properly controlled.

 

      A fundamental part of properly controlling electricity is having the correct size conductors.  The National Electrical Code contains requirements for sizing and protecting conductors that, when correctly followed and maintained, will result in an installation that is essentially free from electrical hazards.  The purpose of the NEC is after all, the "practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity," as found in section 90.1.  Properly sized conductors reduce these hazards by providing ample current carrying capacity to supply the desired load.

 

     This series of short blogs and discussions will be aimed at dissecting the NEC requirements for properly sizing conductors in various situations, as well as properly protecting these conductors from overcurrent.  Stay tuned over the course of the next few weeks to be a part of this discussion as we explore the most fundamentally important skill in the electrical industry.  

 

Until next time,

 

Derek 

Be sure to check out the current issue of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative to get up to speed on what's happening in the Sprinkler world.