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During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Chicago, the following action has taken place on NFPA 520, Standard on Subterranean Spaces:


• 520-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 1 and 2 failed.


NFPA 520 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 520 COMPLETED.

While finishing second is usually disappointing, maybe it’s not so bad when you are also ranked number 10 in the world. The Willis Tower, located about two miles from where the NFPA Conference and Expo is being held this week holds that distinction.   If any aspect of your job involves the high rise environment, you need to get familiar with all of the resources offered by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat- CTBUH.  Founded in 1969 at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, the Council set out to offer a forum where the members and participants could share global views and ideas on the high rise and urban environment.  The Council has hosted conferences, published papers, organizes work teams and has engaged on special projects since its founding. The subjects range from structural design, fire safety, exterior building illumination and elevator design among others.  The Council also has responsibility for determining who has the tallest building in the world-a fascinating and sometimes controversial undertaking.  A list of the "100 Tallest" is maintained on the CTBUH website.  NFPA is an Organizational member of CTBUH and has been an active participant in Council activities since 1997.    In 2010, the Council completed its effort to relocate to Chicago and is now housed at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Health Care Interpretations Task Force (HITF), met yesterday and discussed a number of items. Some of the topics addressed include the following:


  • Non-fixed furniture in corridors exceeding 8 ft. in width
  • Patient Evacuation Equipment Storage in Exit Stairways
  • Horizontal Exiting into an Adjacent Building
  • Self-retracting Jump Seats in Health Care Corridors
  • Security Equipment in Exit Stairwells


The HITF determined whether specific questions on these and other topics should be answered with a position  from the group. Several items were deemed to be questions that fell outside the scope of what the HITF can address. The subjects that did result in a consensus opinion from the voting members will be available on the HITF website in the next few weeks.


What is the HITF?


The HITF is a multi-organization group of 15 stakeholders that impact both the acute care and long term care healing environments. Formed in 1998, the HITF usually meets once a year to review and help answer questions and offer clarifications regarding issues with NFPA codes and standards. The mix of enforcers and users on the HITF allows for some great dialogue, differing viewpoints, and in most cases, resolution of subjects that had caused trouble or heartburn for the members.


Standards Showcase a Success!

Posted by dbellis Employee Jun 24, 2015

Standards Administration was excited to kick off this year’s Standards Showcase with a new format to the event formerly known as the Standards Forum.


In changing the format from a presentation to interactive exchange, the Standards Showcase flourished as a lively exchange between attendees and NFPA staff on a multitude of subjects.   Discussions were initiated by NFPA staff regarding NFPA’s international direction; research resources (including the Charles Morgan Library and data available from fire analysis); a preview of this year’s Technical Meeting; and updates on Standards Council recent activities and project reviews.  Speakers included NFPA’s Mary Elizabeth Woodward, Don Bliss, Chris Dubay and Dawn Michele Bellis.


We appreciate those who came to join us and actively participated in a number of exciting topics! And look forward to seeing everyone next year!




Monday's UL tour

Posted by dvigstol Employee Jun 24, 2015

The tour of UL's Northbrook, IL facility was amazing!  How often are you able to see a fire demonstration like in the picture below?  The test consisted of a 40 square foot pan with a specified amount of a flammable liquid.  The demonstration showed how effectively the portable fire extinguisher was able to extinguish the fire.  It was very impressive!  Also, check out a video of the fenestration test posted by Audrey Goldstein.


UL tour 2.jpg

Today at 11:00 am in room 404d (Session W19) researchers will review the completed project on developing guidance for determining safe separation distances.  Separation distances within fire and building codes often are historical and not necessarily based on any specific research or experimentation.  Full scale testing conducted as part of this Fire Protection Research Foundation code fund project provides valuable data to better inform these decisions going forward.  The completed FPRF report can be downloaded from the NFPA web page using the following link


I hope to see you there.

Are you still using the 2007 edition of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.  Even though NFPA produces many of its codes and standards on a three year revision cycle, many jurisdictions are delayed in their adoption of the smaller installation standards, based upon the adoption of model building and life safety codes.  Thus, the 2007 edition of NFPA 80 is still very popular, and very relevant in many jurisdictions.


Wondering why the 2007 edition is so different from previous editions?  The 2007 edition includes a major reorganization in accordance with the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents and a title change to accommodate the broader scope of the document (now inclusive of more than just fire door and fire window.) New chapters on fabric fire safety curtains and the installation, testing, and maintenance of fire dampers have been added. Major technical changes pertain to the maximum clearance permitted under the bottom of doors, new provisions regarding the care and maintenance of fire doors and fire windows, the option for developing performance-based maintenance activities provisions, and provisions regarding chute doors, fire shutters, rolling steel doors, and service counter doors. New information concerning floor fire door assemblies and ratings associated with glazing materials also has been added. It is noted that the 8-year gap between the 1999 and 2007 editions was due to NFPA 80 being returned to committee during the Fall 2002 revision cycle.


Perhaps the most significant technical change found in the 2007 edition is the requirement for the annual inspection of fire doors.  Prior to this provision, NFPA 80 required that fire doors be simply “examined frequently and any parts found to be inoperative shall be replaced immediately.” This was not adequate guidance for AHJs responsible for verifying fire door maintenance and was not specific enough for building owners to ensure that their fire door assemblies were being properly maintained throughout their buildings.  The introduction of the annual inspection for fire doors changed the fire door industry and provided a critical requirement to help ensure the safety of our occupants and integrity of buildings during a fire.


What edition of NFPA 80 do you use? For additional information on NFPA 80 and to follow the latest issues facing the committee in upcoming cycles, visit the document information page at

The June 2015 NFPA Conference & Expo at Chicago’s
McCormick Place offers attendees the opportunity to view EXIT signs with
directional indicators that are different from those found on EXIT signs in many
jurisdictions outside the Chicago area.


NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, requires EXIT sign directional indicators to be of the
chevron shape as shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Chevron-shaped directional indicator as
required by NFPA 101.


The City of Chicago requires the EXIT sign directional
indicator to be an arrowhead, positioned below the legend EXIT, with tail that
extends across the width of the sign as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Chicago EXIT sign with arrowhead and
long tail.

Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

W27 The Business of Code Enforcement

Speaker: Allan Fraser, NFPA

Track: Fire & Emergency Services

Location: S405a

Content Type: Best Practices


Shrinking budgets...escalating demands from contractors, owners, and public officials....code changes--all affect your department and make it more challenging to run your operations consistently, accurately, and quickly. Taking a business approach to code administration can make your job easier and public safer. This session shares some proven solutions for doing just that.

There are two educational sessions this morning about wildland fires and the wildland urban interface. The first is at 9:30am in room S401a on Pathways for Building Fire Spread based on a FPRF report.


The second will be a presentation on how fire protection engineers can be involved in wildland urban interface design. I'll be sharing my thoughts on this topic and I hope to see you there.

NFPA 1616, Standard on Mass Evacuation and Sheltering, is a newly proposed standard and it is currently midway through its first revision cycle.  The First Draft Report will be available no later than September 9, 2015.  Want to learn more about the proposed standard on Mass Evacuation and Sheltering? Check out the NFPA Conference and Expo schedule for the education session on Wednesday morning, 6/24/15.