NFPA 1: How the Fire Code and Life Safety Code work together.

Today I am packing my bags for a week of committee meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Next week, the Safety to Life and Building Code occupancy Technical Committees will be holding their Second Draft meetings. Eight different committees will meet to develop the Second Draft of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code.  Just a few weeks back, the committees for the core chapters met at the same location.     Did you know that NFPA 1, Fire Code extracts from NFPA 101 more than any other document?  NFPA 1 extracts from more than 50 NFPA codes and standards, but approximately 100 pages of the 650(ish) page Fire Code are directly from NFPA 101.  The Code includes provisions from NFPA 101 that address occupancy classification, building services, features of fire protection, means of egress, special structures, and occupancy specific provisions for fire protection systems, interior finish, furnishings and decorations, drills, and operating features. Do you know how to recognize if a provision in the Code is "extracted" from another document?     A requirement extracted from another standard will contain a reference to the code/standard number and section in brackets at the end of the requirement in NFPA 1.  The edition of the document being extracted can be found in Chapter 2 of NFPA 1.  When a provision is extracted into an NFPA code, such as NFPA 1, it cannot be modified. So, while my time next week will be spent with Technical Committees developing provisions for the 2018 editions of NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000, the work of those committees will directly impact the 2018 edition of NFPA 1 as well.  Some of the technical issues that will be up for discussion next week that may find their way into NFPA 1 are as follows: occupant load factors for business occupanciesdoor locking for unwanted entry open and enclosed mall structures risk analyses for mass notification systems carbon monoxide alarms grab bars for bathtubs and showers You can follow the work of the NFPA 1, NFPA 101, and NFPA 5000 Technical Committees by visiting their document information pages ( Off to Fort Lauderdale!  Have a great week! You can follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. 

"The cost is so insignificant:" NFPA chats with homebuilder who supports home fire sprinklers

A recent summit hosted by the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition introduced attendees to something of an anomaly--a builder who fully supports home fire sprinklers. Admitting that some of his peers and local homebuilding associations take a different stance, Randy Propst, owner of Loran Construction, has seen the realities of fire sprinkler installation in new homes. He recently spoke with NFPA about his experience with this safety feature and why he's perplexed by the opposition's anti-sprinkler stance. NFPA: Why have you started sprinklering your new homes? I started building homes through a program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program gives specific cities a certain amount of money to do with it as they please, as long as it improves affordable housing. In Springfield, Missouri, they've created a “bank” for this money. I borrow money to build these affordable homes. In turn, I have to keep my rent within HUD's levels. Four years ago, we linked up with company Arc of the Ozarks [an organization supporting individuals with disabilities]. The company would rent a home from us for the people they serve and their caregivers. As we started working with them, we realized we're missing something here. These homes need to be universally designed, which means they can accommodate people with various limitations. Concurrently, we got on a savings, energy, and safety kick. From a safety factor, we know we needed to start including fire sprinklers. The last four or five homes have been sprinklered. We'll probably build another five or six this year, all sprinklered. Sprinklers will now be a standard part of our package. We have also tinkered with the idea of building spec homes, and if we do, they will all be sprinklered. I want the competitive advantage. [The insignificant cost of sprinklering a home] won't make or break a home sale, but tell me who else is offering this safety feature. Read the rest of Propst's interview by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Fire Suppression

With the increasing prevalence of electric (EV) and hybrid vehicles all over the world, it is important for the first and second responder communities to be educated on the various unique safety risk these vehicles may present. Since 2010, the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Alternative Fuel Vehicle Safety Training Program has teamed up with major auto manufactures, subject matter experts, fire, law enforcement and safety organizations in order to address these safety needs.  Through our years of research and work in this field we have developed a comprehensive curriculum for first responders when dealing with alternatively fueled vehicles which include instructor led classroom courses, free interactive online learning, an Emergency Field Guide, and informational/educational videos. Here are a few important takeaways on EV and hybrid fire safety for first responders: When suppressing a vehicle fire involving an EV or hybrid, water is the recommended extinguishment agent. Large amounts of water may be required, so be sure to establish a sufficient water supply before operations commence. As with all vehicle fires, toxic byproducts will be given off, so NFPA compliant firefighting PPE and SCBA should be utilized at all times. DO NOT attempt to pierce the engine or battery compartment of the vehicle to allow water permeation, as you could accidentally penetrate high voltage components. Following extinguishment, use a thermal imaging camera to determine the temperature fluctuation of the high voltage battery before terminating the incident, to reduce re-ignition potential. For more information on EV and hybrid vehicle safety, we encourage all first and second responders to visit our website at to take our free online training and utilize our various resources. For inquiries or questions please contact me at as the Project Manager of NFPA's Alternative Fuel Safety Program.

Burn survivor from The Station Nightclub Fire now NFPA's newest blogger and fire sprinkler champion

If there was ever a story underscoring the atrocities of fire, this is it.  Rob Feeney was at The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the night a fire claimed the lives of 100 people, making it the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. A staunch advocate for fire sprinklers in all buildings, including homes, Feeney is now the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger. Here is his inaugural post, a powerful and gut-wrenching recap of what happened that night from his perspective.  Signs were telling us to stay home the night of February 20, 2003. I was supposed to work but managed to switch for a day shift. It had recently snowed…a lot. It was cold and icy. Donna, my girlfriend, fell on the sidewalk in front of our Fall River, Massachusetts, apartment. She wasn't feeling well and had no interest seeing '80s hair band, Great White, at a nightclub. I complained about the pain from an inch-long splinter I got from a railing while running up a stairway. That didn't stop me, though. Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren't in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people. Mary joined me as I went to buy drinks because she wanted details on when I was going to give Donna the ring. Without saying much, she got me to tell her I already had (it was being sized). This was actually Donna's night to tell her closest friends we were engaged. Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren't in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people. Read the rest of Feeney's story by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

9 signs you're a holiday decorating disaster ...

Your cat lets you know he's delighted you've finally bought some great toys! Keep pets and children at least three feet away from burning candles and electrical cords to prevent burns and electrical fires. That ever-growing pile of fallen pine needles on the living room floor is receiving more comments than the decorations for your Christmas tree. A dry tree in your home is a fire danger. Think of it as a huge pile of kindling in your home. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. You've spent more time trying to free yourself out of the tangled lights than actually decorating the tree. Check the manufacturer's instructions to find out how many lights can be connected to prevent electric shock and fire. You know it's bad to put flammable material near a fire, but you can't help yourself. These stockings just look so darn cute and festive! Keep anything that can burn away from a heat source, despite how awesome it looks. Flameless candles are also a great alternative to real ones when decorating. Your house is a holiday tourist attraction and you couldn't be prouder. An overloaded electrical outlet is a major fire hazard. Plug strings of lights directly into the wall and keep the number to a minimum. Some of the bulbs on your string of lights have already taken time off for the holidays. Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. These can easily start a fire. You've remembered to keep yourself well hydrated, but the same can't be said for your Christmas tree. Always keep water in the tree stand. Check daily and add water as needed. Dried-out trees are a major fire hazard. You're convinced those strings of Christmas lights make the perfect hat to complement your holiday outfit. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. And most certainly, not for your head. You've been a bit lazy about taking down your Christmas tree so you got creative and came up with a new tradition: a Valentine's Day tree! Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Let's face it, the holidays are never perfect, no matter how they're portrayed in magazines and on television. But by following a few simple practices and precautions, you can create a perfectly fire-safe holiday for you and your loved ones! And remember, have working smoke alarms in your home and create a home escape plan. Practice it with your family so everyone knows what to do if a fire does occur. Happy Holidays from NFPA!

Should all fire apparatus tires be changed every 7 years?

NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus, states that fire apparatus tires must be replaced every seven years. With the upcoming edition of the standard now in cycle, the NFPA 1911 Technical Committee is recommending that this requirement remain unchanged. Not everyone agrees. Some factions have noted that fire departments use their apparatus to different degrees, and that the level of wear on tear on tires varies based on the type of community a fire department serves. For example, an urban fire department may use its fire apparatus every day, while a rural department may only use its apparatus a handful of times within a year, making the requirement excessive for some fire departments, and adequate or possibly even too lax for others. The NFPA 1911 Technical Committee published its First Draft Report on Monday, September 7, and will be accepting Public Comments through November 7. What are your thoughts? Do you think NFPA 1911 should continue to require that fire apparatus tires should be replaced every 7 years? If so, why? If you think the requirement should be modified, what changes would you recommend? What are your reasons for making such changes? As part of our ongoing Standards in Action campaign, we encourage firefighters to weigh in on issues like this that directly impact you and your department. Providing your perspectives and input through our technical process can directly influence NFPA's standards. So provide your Public Comments on NFPA 1911 today - Your Voice Matters!
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