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It was like watching Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial all over again. Guitarist Michael Clifford of the popular Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer recently found out the hard way what happens when you get too close to on-stage flame effects - see the video here. Luckily, Clifford escaped the incident relatively unscathed. Both NFPA 1: Fire Code and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code® mandate compliance with NFPA 160: Standard for the Use of Flame Effects Before an Audience wherever flame effects are used near an audience in an assembly occupancy. Adherence to the requirements contained in these standards can help prevent the type of close call experienced by the members of 5SOS and their fans.



The Joint Commission Update

Posted by jonhart Employee Jun 22, 2015

In one of today’s educational sessions, Anne Guglielmo of The Joint Commission, gave an update to a packed room on the Top 10 challenging environment of care and life safety standards that have the highest rate of non-compliance during surveys. Some of the issues that were addressed include:


  • Pressure differentials
  • Equipment inventories
  • Corridor clutter
  • Locking configurations
  • Fire protection systems testing (inventories)
  • Fire barriers and opening protective
  • Sprinkler piping
  • Eye wash stations


These and many other issues that are often cited were discussed and information on how to be better prepared for surveys in these areas was provided. The audience came ready with plenty of questions that were all answered.


Anne also reviewed The Joint Commission equivalency process and the relation to the CMS waiver process. She clarified that proactive equivalency requests are still being accepted by The Joint Commission but all equivalencies that are received must now be sent to the appropriate CMS regional office for final approval.

Come to Session M44 today at 11:00 and Session T74 at 3:30 on Tuesday to learn about this topic. In the last 7 years, a series of rather spectacular fires involving exterior wall systems have been publicized.  Because these fire occurred in high rise buildings, they received international attention.  A combination of new materials, new energy rules, new ideas for weather resistance/moisture control and innovative composite assemblies are presenting some previously unknown challenges.  Marry those attributes with an aesthetic quality that the architect is trying achieve, and some very interesting looking (and functional) cladding and façade designs appear. Right at this moment, NFPA, the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) and ASTM International are looking at the potential refinements that may be needed in applicable codes and standards to address these designs. This multi-pronged approach is helpful and shows how it takes different groups to look at different solutions to achieve the goal of reducing this particular fire challenge.


-NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.  The test standard is in cycle and will soon be soliciting public comments on proposed changes to the next edition.  The comment period will be open until November 16, 2015. 

-FPRF.   The FPRF report "Fire Hazards of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components" was issued in June of 2014.  The report captured information on various fire scenarios and among other subjects discusses the procedures on how these wall assemblies are currently tested.  A second phase project dealing specifically with metal composite material panels (MCM Panels) will be launching soon.  

-ASTM International.  At the ASTM International Committee week in Anaheim (June 15-19), one of the E05 subcommittee discussions centered on a Proposed New Standard Test Method for Determining the Fire-Test Response Characteristics of Building Perimeter Containment Systems Due to External Spread of Fire.  Informally known as the “Leap Frog” standard its purpose is to “….evaluate the ability of the exterior wall spandrel panel assembly, with or without glazing, to prevent the spread of fire to the interior of the room or the story immediately above it via fire spread from the exterior of a building.”

NFPA 3 - Re-Cx vs Retro-Cx

At the start of each of the 134 education programs and
other large meetings at the NFPA 2015 Conference & Expo in Chicago, session
monitors will deliver a common introduction related to the evacuation messaging
at McCormick Place. In the event of a fire or other emergency requiring
evacuation, occupants’ attention will be summoned by the building fire alarm
notification signal, a long slow ‘whoop’ that will be followed by an
intelligible voice announcement over the public address system. The emergency
operations are directed from a constantly attended emergency command center
that looks much like a NASA space launch control center – an impressive sight
that, unfortunately, will be off limits to the C&E attendees.


If directed to evacuate the building, be prepared to take
guidance from EXIT signs and directional EXIT signs. It might be human nature
to try to leave by the way you entered as that is the route with which you have
some familiarity, but other exits might be closer. The sprawling facility (see
photo) can challenge your way finding.


McCormick Place – a sprawling facility.


If you spot a fire or similar emergency please call
extension 6060 on a house phone or call 312-791-6060 from your cell phone.