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NFPA is looking into developing a "digital tool" to help Engineers, Designers, and Installers answer water-related fire suppression system questions. We welcome your input! Take this brief survey that will help us create the right tool for you. Thank you!



In keeping with the expressed requests to have NFPA training brought to Canada and in partnership with Seneca College in Toronto NFPA is hosting a three-day NFPA 25 (2017) - Hands-on Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems.


For more info and to register for the course see this link, and at this time NFPA is offering a special discounted rate of 50% off of catalogue price for this three day training course. 


When registering on-line and using Coupon Code: 50OFFCA25, the discount will be applied at checkout. 


Please feel free to share this offer as broadly to your staff, association or network as freely as you wish.


This training will combine classroom learning with hands-on training in a lab setting hosted by recognized NFPA® experts such as Matt Klaus or other approved instructors. Students will be able to review the new 2017 Edition of NFPA 25, chapter-by- chapter with an expert NFPA instructor then apply what they’ve learned on actual equipment.


While still in US$, the price for three days of hands on expert training, including a copy of the new version of NFPA 25 (2017) the price drops from $1022 to $511 Per person.


If registrants are NFPA members, the price drops another 10% to approx. $409!


Who Will Benefit:

Facility maintenance personnel, building owners, contractors, ITM service providers, engineers/designers, fire protection engineers, fire service professionals, and project managers

Upon completion of this course learners should be able:

  • Understand the scope of NFPA 25 inspections
  • Identify roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders in the ITM process
  • Define the frequency in which to conduct inspection, testing and maintenance activities and create an action schedule
  • Learn to perform fire pump flow tests, hydrant flow tests and fire pump churn tests at your facilities
  • Conduct an internal inspection on dry valves, pre-action valves and alarm valves
  • State the scope and purpose of each chapter of NFPA 25
  • Visually Inspect a fire pump
  • Understand the nuances of electric-driven fire pumps

Free with Training!

As part of the registration package you will receive a complimentary copy of NFPA 25 (2017): Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 2017 Edition at a value of approx. $65.

Continuing Education Credit:

Complete this 21-hour course and qualify for 2.1CEUs. Upon successful completion of a course, participants will be prompted to download the CEU certificate directly from the course site.

80% is an important number when we're talking about home fires:


  • 80% of all fire deaths occur in the home
  • Home sprinklers decrease the risk of dying in a home fire by 80%


NFPA leads the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, working to bring sprinklers to one and two family homes throughout the country.

data workshop.JPGIn March, in San Antonio, Texas, the Fire Protection Research Foundation held a workshop to address “Big Data and Fire Protection Systems.” The goal of this workshop was to identify and prioritize the opportunities for big data to inform decision making for ITM (Inspection, Testing and Maintenance) used for built-in fire protection systems.

The on‐going reliability of built‐in fire protection systems is related to inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) of these systems. This is addressed by multiple NFPA codes and standards, including NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water‐Based Fire Protection Systems, NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, and NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems. Requirements for ITM have evolved over time, but often do not have a solid scientific basis.

The proceedings from this workshop have now been published and are free to download.

Data analytics is a new area of focus for NFPA - one that you can read more about in a recent NFPA Journal Perspectives column on big data and NFPA's future. As part of this new initiative, is the development of a Data Analytics Sandbox. NFPA is uniquely positioned to coordinate the next generation of data and data analytics in support of the built environment and safety infrastructure. Going forward, the NFPA Data Analytics Sandbox is anticipated as serving as an important collective resource, and serving as a next generation test bed in support of our rapidly evolving world of cyber physical systems and the internet of everything. The collection and coordination of ITM data, which will ultimately support the technical activities addressed by NFPA 4, 25, 72, 2001, etc., is considered a prime candidate activity for the NFPA Data Analytics Sandbox.

A fundamental goal during the development of a code or standard is to ensure the written word is clear, concise, and easy to interpret.  This is usually achieved by assembling a diverse group of interested professionals with varying perspectives that collectively work together to produce a consensus document.  The process covers all bases, leaves no stone unturned, and foresees any unintended consequences or conflicts.  The result is a nearly perfect document.


In reality, it is impossible to predict every possible scenario, environmental condition, or desired use of an electrical or alarm product by the public.  Once the code or standard has been published and put into use by professionals in the field, there are many occasions were a wide-range of interpretations occur that potentially lead to disagreements between contractors and enforcement officials.  The primary reason for this occurrence is an opposing point of view derived from the individual’s perspective on the purpose and intent of the code or standard in question.    



A common argument in the field that precisely describes this conflict frequently occurs between the contractor and enforcement official during an inspection.  The contractor will ask the inspector to show him in the code where the installation is not permitted.  The inspector in return will ask the contractor to show him in the code where the installation is permitted.  Which person has the correct perspective?  It can be argued that prior to existence of the code or standard, there were no prohibitions.  However, this would mean the code or standard would only need to contain prohibitive rules since everything else is permitted.  This is rarely the case as most codes and standards contain both permissive and prohibitive rules.  



When a code or standard contains both permissive rules and prohibitive rules, it stands to reason that when a method or practice goes unstated; final approval needs to be on a case-by-case basis with consideration of all the specific conditions of the installation. To believe a code or standard is only prohibitive is too restrictive and limits practices that may not have been conceived by the writers at time of publication. To believe a code or standard is only permissive is too liberal and does not allow the code official to use reasonable discretion to reject an installation based on all the facts.



Discretional authority is prevalent in all levels of government and all forms of law, such as statutes or rules. There is a concept in statutory law, which is the manner in which many states adopt building codes and other construction standards that is called, "Expressio unius est exclusio alterius or, "the express mention of one thing excludes all others". The phrase indicates that items not on a list of rules are assumed not to be covered by the statute. When something is mentioned expressly in a statute it leads to the presumption that the things not mentioned are excluded. In short, sometimes rules unstated can be permitted, but sometimes rules unstated are not permitted.



A good example of this concept can be found in the "Uses Permitted" and the "Uses Not Permitted" sections of the Chapter 3 wiring methods in the National Electrical Code.  Take for instance section 330.10 for the permitted uses of Type MC Cable.  The Informational Note following the (12) General Uses and (4) Specific Uses states; "The "Uses Permitted" is not an all-inclusive list." This clearly indicates that other uses of Type MC Cable may be permitted at the discretion of the authority having jurisdiction.  However, this Informational Note does not follow the "Uses Not Permitted" section which indicates the list of prohibited uses is absolute.   



A simple question to ask one’s self when trying to determine if an installation of an electrical or alarm product is compliant with the applicable code or standard is; "will the use of the product in all possible conditions and under all likely scenarios result in a hazard for the user".  If the answer to that question is yes, the installation should be prohibited.  If the answer to that question is no, the installation should be permitted.


The next time you are about to enter into a discussion about the requirements of a code or standard, start by identifying your perspective of the rules and if you believe the rule is permissive or prohibitive.  This will go a long way into helping the other party to understand your point of view and may help to resolve the conflict amicably.



The correct perspective of any code and standard is always the one that allows a free market approach to the use of products while providing practical safeguarding of persons and property from the use of electricity.



In Part 2 of Codes and Standards – What is the Correct Perspective, we will explore the concept of Prescriptive Rules verses Performance Rules.

The Research Foundation's SupDet 2016 symposium wrapped up last week in San Antonio, Texas.  Over the course of the four-day conference more than 100 attendees and 30 presenters met to discuss the latest research, developments and emerging issues in the fire detection and suppression world. Attendees listened to presentations on topics such as the History of Fire, New Technology for High-Challenge Sprinkler Protected Warehouses, Hazards of Lithium-Ion Batteries, Data Collection related to Smoke Alarm Performance, Indoor Positioning Systems, new research focused on reducing Nuisance Alarms, as well as a workshop on the opportunities for big data to inform ITM practices of fire protection equipment.


The conference presentations and extended abstracts on each of the topics are now available on the Foundation's website:


The Foundation expresses special thanks to our sponsors that helped make this event a success: Victaulic, UL, Zurich, Globe Fire Sprinkler, Tyco SimplexGrinnell, and Siemens.

Wednesday afternoon at SupDet was dedicated to a Workshop on Big Data and Fire Protection Systems focused on identifying the opportunities for big data to inform inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) decision making.    The on‐going reliability of built‐in fire protection systems is related to ITM of these systems.


Nathaniel Lin (pictured below), NFPA's new director of data strategy and analytics, gave a presentation on “Big Data Analytics and Decision Making” where he highlighted the need for analytics to turn raw data into insights and solutions that can be acted upon.  “True analysis,” he said, “leads to predictions.  It uses the past to predict the future.”


Gayle Pennel followed with a “Case Study Presentation: Update of Fire Pump ITM Data Coordination” which came out of his 2012 Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Fire Pump Field Data Collection and Analysis" and was an effort to “provide credible and statistically valid fire pump performance data that substantiates testing frequencies and protocols.” 

The second half of the afternoon was devoted to breakout groups who wrestled with the larger questions of what data might inform ITM decisions, how standard data formats might be developed, what data sources might be available, and what potential barriers to data sharing might need to be overcome.  It was an exciting and talk-filled two hours!  A workshop summary will be made available in the future.


Recent additional efforts to address this topic have included a previous Foundation Workshop on “Applying Reliability Based Decision Making to ITM Frequency” (2012), and a workshop at SupDet 2015 on the topic of general research needs around the topic of ITM, which identified several areas where data is needed to answer key questions such as the optimal frequency for certain tests and the relationship between ITM activities and failures.


Lithium-ion batteries have become a staple of everyday life, from the small ones that power our cell phones, laptops, and tools, to the larger energy storage systems (ESS) that may soon be found in many houses storing energy created by solar panels for later use.  With the power potential that makes them so useful comes additional safety concerns.  This morning at SupDet 2016 we heard from a number of researchers examining different issues.


Mark Smith presented 3M’s promising experiments with using fluorinated ketones to stop thermal runaway in battery packs in “Preventing Cell-to-Cell Thermal Runaway in Li-ion Battery Packs by Means of Fluid Application.”


Andrew F. Blum (pictured above), Exponent, Inc., presented “Lithium-ion Energy Storage System Fires.”  The focus was on assessing failure scenarios in energy storage systems.  They suggested future fire testing to develop safe installation rules, consider ventilation and placement needs, and recommend fire fighter tactics.


Ben Ditch, FM Global, presented “Cartoned Lithium Ion Battery Storage Sprinkler Protection” which focused on reduced commodity evaluations of a variety of lithium-ion batteries in order to assess and classify hazard levels.  The future holds a large scale test of the highest hazard batteries to confirm proper protection levels.  Their aim is “protection based on actual results for actual batteries.”


Additional Research Foundation projects related to lithium-ion batteries can be found online.  To access the SupDet 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website.

There is limited prior research related to protection of storage under ceilings with slopes steeper than 2/12. Previous studies exist from FM Global, University of Maryland/Custom Spray Solutions, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, and National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), but there are still many open questions related to the protection criteria for storage under sloped ceilings. The questions include, but are not limited to; sprinkler activation pattern relative to fire source location, and optimal sprinkler installation orientation.

There are many different parameters related to this design challenge. Some of the key parameters include the slope of the ceiling, the commodity being stored, types of sprinklers (including ESFRs), sprinkler orientation, and sprinkler spacing. Some possible protection design solutions to sloped ceiling facilities are to use higher densities or larger calculation areas than for storage under flat ceilings.

Further modeling analysis will be beneficial in order to understand the potential protection challenges related to sloped ceilings, and to determine the range of scenarios that should be studied further through testing. The information from this work as well as information gathered from testing could help inform the NFPA 13 requirements.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this project to ultimately determine the impact of sloped ceilings on protection of storage and develop the technical basis for the NFPA 13 Technical Committees for new requirements and guidance. This report, "Protection of Storage Under Sloped Ceilings - Phase 1" authored by Kenneth E. Isman, Stephen J. Jordan, Andre W. Marshall and Noah L. Ryder from Custom Spray Solutions, covers the first phase of this project with the objective to develop a test plan based on the review of current range of typical storage configurations and modeling.

A separate FM Global report titled “Numerical Modeling of Sprinkler Activations and Spray Transport Under Sloped Ceilings” contains the results from the modeling effort and can be downloaded

During the revision cycle for the 2010 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, the Technical Committee on Single- and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Fire Alarm Systems (SIG-HOU) focused renewed attention on nuisance alarms. Based on the information in the NFPA report "Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires" authored by Marty Ahrens, during the development of the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 the SIG-HOU Technical Committee added several new provisions to Chapter 29 to further reduce nuisance alarms.

There was a lack of characterization of common nuisance sources for the development of new performance test protocols. Accordingly, the Foundation initiated a project to work toward characterizing common nuisance sources for the development of new test protocols to meet the NFPA 72 requirements. This Phase 2 project involved collecting data to characterize nuisance sources from cooking and steam/water mist and comparing the nuisance source data to existing fire test data.

Now, the full report from Phase 2, "Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization: Experimental Results" authored by Joshua B. Dinaburg and Dr. Daniel T. Gottuk, Ph.D. with Jensen Hughes, is available for download.

NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 408, Standard for Aircraft Hand Portable Fire Extinguishers, and NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars:

  • NFPA 408, Errata 408-10-1, referencing 1.2.3 of the 2010 edition, issued: July 14, 2015
  • NFPA 409, Errata 409-16-1, referencing 7.5.3 of the 2016 edition, issued: July 14, 2015

An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.

Good Morning! In NFPA 58, specifically 5.27.3, there are numerous requirements for a Fire Safety Analysis (FSA). However, a well written FSA includes multiple sections of engineering analysis that are not included in 5.27.3 (as NFPA 58 will only have the minimum safety requirements). It was with the user in mind that NFPA and NPGA (National Propane Gas Association) developed the Fire Safety Analysis Manual for LP Gas Storage Facilities. This detailed report (for the 2011 edition) is a great step-by-step guide on how to develop an FSA for your facility, and can even assist in inspecting one. It can be found on the NFPA Website:


Fire Safety Analysis Manual for LP Gas Storage Facilities


Eric Nette, P.E.

I am frequently asked what procedures or equipment are required in order to clear the protected space for occupancy after a clean agent discharge.


NFPA 2001 (2015) does not require any specific method of verifying or restoring the tenability of the protected space after a clean agent discharge. However, the standard gives the following advice:

A. The steps and safeguards necessary to prevent injury or death to personnel in areas whose atmospheres will be made hazardous by the discharge or thermal decomposition of clean agents can include the following:

(7) Provision for the prompt discovery and rescue of persons rendered unconscious in such areas. This should be accomplished by having such areas searched immediately by trained personnel equipped with proper breathing equipment. Self-contained breathing equipment and personnel trained in its use and in rescue practices, including artificial respiration, should be readily available.

(9) Provision of means for prompt ventilation of such areas. Forced ventilation will often be necessary. Care should be taken to readily dissipate hazardous atmospheres and not merely move them to another location.


During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Chicago, the following action has taken place on NFPA 11, Standard on Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam:


• 11-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 30 was not pursued.
• 11-2 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 23 was not pursued.
• 11-3 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 24 was not pursued.
• 11-4 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 25 was not pursued.
• 11-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 26 was not pursued.
• 11-6 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 27 was not pursued.
• 11-7 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 28 was not pursued.
• 11-8 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 29 was not pursued.
• 11-9 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 31 was not pursued.
• 11-10 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 32 was not pursued.
• 11-11 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 33 was not pursued.
• 11-12 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 34 was not pursued.
• 11-13 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 20 was not pursued.
• 11-14 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 21 was not pursued.
• 11-15 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 12, thereby recommending First Draft text passed.


NFPA 11 was passed with 1 amending motions. NFPA 11 COMPLETED.

Come check out my presentation this morning!


NFPA 13 has a lot of requirements but it helps when you know where to find them. Chad Duffy and I have worked to put together an overview of the layout of Chapter 8, Installation Requirements, to help clarify the largest and possibly most confusing chapter in NFPA 13.


I will be speaking at 9:30 in room S401d. I hope to see you there!