Topic: Emergency Response

Women in STEM panel discussion provides support and inspiration for women pursuing their professional goals

At the Women in STEM education session, a panel of female leaders from various fire and life safety organizations discussed the influence women currently have on the industry and the future anticipated changes for women in the fire safety world. The featured panelists included Chief Trisha Wolford, fire chief, Anne Arundel County FD; Tonya Hoover, deputy fire administrator, USFA; Danielle Antonellis, founder & executive director, Kindling; and Diana Jones, senior director of technical programs and development, International Safety Equipment Association. Jones made a special presentation performing a re-enactment of Frances Perkins, who served as a factory inspector in New York when the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire broke out. Perkins went on to become the U.S. secretary of labor from 1933-1945, fiercely advocating for safer working conditions and employee protections. From there, the panelists answered attendees’ questions, providing insights and perspectives from their own experiences over the years, along with their approach to facing challenges and struggles. Key messages included the importance of recognizing your vulnerabilities and embracing rather than fighting them. “We all go through struggles to get where we want to be,” said Hoover. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’” The presenters also encouraged women to not assume that when someone treats them poorly it’s because they’re a woman. “It could be one of many reasons,” said Wolford. “And let’s face it, some people are just jerks!” Hoover’s advice was to deal with someone in the moment, then move on and let it go. The presenters also encouraged women in the fire service not to limit themselves. Determine what your unique skill set is and where you can bring the greatest good. When asked what can be done to attract women into executive officer positions, Wolford said she makes sure the women on her staff have the support to reach whatever role they want. Being a mother, for example, should not set limits on professional opportunities. The honesty and straight-forwardness of the panels’ insights and perspectives made for an inspiring event that hopefully encourages more women to confidently pursue their professional goals and passions in the world of fire and life safety.

Electric vehicle safety training at NFPA C&E helps firefighters safely mitigate EV incidents

While electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity on our roadways, with dozens of new models coming out each year, many fire departments remain untrained in knowing how to safely and effectively handle EV incidents. To help first responders better understand the risks associated with EV incidents and how to safely handle them, an Electric Vehicles Safety Training was hosted today by Jason Emory with the Waterbury, CT Fire Department at the NFPA Conference & Expo® in Boston. Firefighters received essential training and learned tactical considerations needed to safely respond to these types of incidents. Topics covered during the two-hour session included an introduction to electric EVs, scene size-up and management, vehicle identification, immobilization, high voltage system shutdown methods, occupant rescue, and post-incident recovery and disposal considerations. If you weren’t able to attend today’s EV training, don’t despair! The NFPA Electric Vehicle Safety training program is available online. In addition, NFPA recently received a grant from General Motors so that volunteer and under-served fire departments can access the online training for free for one year, as volunteer and underserved departments often don’t have the resources to receive the needed training. About two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. fire departments are served by part-time or volunteer firefighters, according to NFPA data. NFPA offers a wealth of resources on electric vehicle safety and training. For more information, visit https://www.nfpa.org/EV.

CRR workshop guides participants through community risk assessment (CRA) process

CRR workshop was held at the NFPA Conference & Expo®  (C&E) today, guiding participants through the community risk assessment (CRA) process. The half-day program, which highlighted proven strategies for moving local CRA efforts forward, was led by Karen Berard-Reed, a senior strategist leading the community risk reduction (CRR) initiative at NFPA, and Chelsea Rubadou, an NFPA engineer who serves as a staff liaison and SME for standards dedicated to CRR, data analysis and fire prevention programs. Together, Berard-Reed and Rubadou discussed the true value of using data to answer the “who, what, when and why” of leading risks within a given community. From there, fire departments can create a a community risk reduction (CRR) plan that serves as a roadmap for effectively addressing those safety issues. Some workshop attendees noted that efforts to capture community data have felt overwhelming, limiting their ability to move forward. Berard-Reed and Rubadou recognized that this and similar challenges can curtail CRA efforts. Both shared strategies for working through them, while attendees also shared their experiences in breaking through roadblocks. Attendees also had ample opportunities to break into smaller groups to brainstorm and collaborate on a host of issues. These lively conversations were shared with and discussed among all workshop attendees. These conversations and interactions fostered new connections along with opportunities to continue learning from one another after the conference. Visit nfpa.org/CRR to learn more about CRA, CRR, NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, and CRAIG 1300™, a community risk assessment (CRA) dashboard that helps fire departments and safety officials collect community data, enabling them to identify, assess and share local demographic, geographic and economic needs.
Jim at General Sessions

NFPA General Session Focuses on Leadership, Innovation and Reaching Beyond Historical Success

NFPA President Jim Pauley gave a rousing keynote to thousands of attendees who were excited to be part of the 2022 NFPA Conference & Expo, which was back in person for the first time since 2019. He said, “While we had to delay our celebration of NFPA’s 125th anniversary, it is fitting that we are here in Boston to recognize this special milestone.” Noting that the conference was held only a short distance from the birthplace of NFPA in 1896, Pauley chronicled the 125-year past of the organization and stressed how it is driving the work NFPA does to further reduce loss and tackle the fire, life, and electrical safety issues of the times. “It is important to honor our past. But we don’t see our rich history as an easy chair to rest in, but a catapult to propel us forward - aimed at greater challenges than our predecessors experienced,” said Pauley.  He talked about the digital transformation impacting so many aspects of life. In particular, he spoke of the relevancy of NFPA LiNK™, which is dramatically changing the way professionals interact with codes and standards and related information. The digital platform provides better access to more robust information by delivering intuitive, seamless, information on demand when and where practitioners need it. This digital transformation is also a key factor in NFPA certification and training programs.  Online learning solutions feature interactive modeling, simulated training scenarios, and 3D virtual experiences. NFPA recently launched a new platform to make applying for and renewing certifications easier than ever and introduced remote proctoring for certification exams. Pauley also talked about one of the most prevalent fire threats today – wildfire – and a new NFPA initiative to reverse the disastrous trend. Outthink Wildfire™ is rooted in two facts – one is that wildfires are going to happen, whether they are caused by nature, by people, or the built environment.  And two, that fire departments will never be able to save all the property in the path of a wildfire. Outthink Wildfire is about how we build, where we build, and how we bring policymakers, first responders, and the public together to take action. Pivoting from the enormous success of NFPA and its critical role in providing resources that protect people and property from hazards, Pauley addressed a direct threat to NFPA. “NFPA is challenged by a vocal minority who have the erroneous view that standards, once incorporated by reference, should lose their copyright protection. They argue that if a governmental body decides to incorporate a standard into law or regulation to help with public safety, then the standard immediately is open for anyone to take, copy and distribute – even start a commercial business by offering them to the public – without any compensation to NFPA. This is a very misguided view,” he said. “The continued assault by special interests on copyright protection threatens the ability of NFPA and organizations like us to fund this important work… Without copyright protection, we would not be able to support the codes and standards development process, nor would be able to continue providing the research, public education programs, wildfire mitigation efforts, and other resources that are inherent to our mission and available for free.” Pauley emphasized that NFPA is continuing to fight this battle on all fronts to unequivocally confirm what is known: That standards are protected by copyright, even when they are incorporated by reference, allowing for a system that benefits government, businesses, and the public.  He concluded by looking forward. “What began 125 years ago to solve the fire problem in a young, industrialized nation is now a global force advancing safety worldwide. We are leading with innovative approaches to new and lingering threats. Through our work together, more people and property are saved in more places.”
Hurricane

10 Tips to Keep You Safe from Electrical Hazards During Hurricane Season

According to weather experts, in the last two years the Atlantic region has witnessed some of most active hurricane seasons on record marked with intense storm activity and causing billions of dollars of damage to many coastal communities. This year, as we enter another hurricane season (June – November), experts encourage people living in storm-prone areas to prepare as early as possible due to expected above-average activity this summer. To help residents navigate this storm season, NFPA provides the following electrical safety tips that can help reduce the risk for injury before, during, and after a storm: Listen to local weather reports for current weather and flooding conditions Turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities and turn off propane tanks. Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous. Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don't see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area. If your home has experienced flooding, it's important to keep your power off until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned. If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches, or engage in any activity that could create a spark. In the event that electricity may not be available to your home and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and electrocution. The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator: Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings. Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open. Place generators so that exhaust fumes can't enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings in the building. NFPA's safety tip sheet on portable generators provides these steps and more to help keep you safe. For any questions or concerns about your home's electrical system, including after a storm, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit our electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources. Related information can found on NFPA's “emergency preparedness” webpage.
Firefighter fighting a fire with a EV vehicle

EVs and the psychology of COVID trauma reflect timely issues to be addressed at NFPA C&E

Each year, the NFPA Conference & Expo® (C&E) creates a dynamic, customizable experience for today’s fire, electrical and life safety professionals, with this year’s event featuring more than 110 education sessions, some 300 exhibitors, multiple special events, and countless networking opportunities. Below are upcoming opportunities to learn more about electric vehicle safety issues, along with a session addressing the psychological impact of COVID-19 on first responders. These offerings reflect just a small sampling of the many timely issues to be covered at NFPA C&E, now less than two weeks away. Electric Vehicle Power Transfer Systems: Regulations, Challenges, and Resources Bryan Holland, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) In this session, attendees will get a comprehensive review of the known opportunities and challenges associated with the design, installation, and utilization of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and other EV power transfer technologies. The presenters will share information on topics like vehicle ranges and charging options, metrological concerns, bidirectional current flow, and more. Attendees will also hear some frequently asked questions from design professionals, installers, and enforcers, and they’ll get a look ahead at the improvements for electric vehicle power transfer systems being made in the 2023 edition of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®. Tuesday, June 7, 2 – 3 p.m. Boston Convention and Exhibition Center - 257AB  NFPA Electric Vehicle Safety Training – Fire Service Edition Jason Emery, Waterbury Fire Department Electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity on our roadways as dozens of new models come out each and every year. NFPA's Electric Vehicles Safety Training provides firefighters with essential training and tactical considerations needed to safely respond to incidents involving these new vehicles. Topics covered during this two-hour session will include an introduction to electric vehicles, scene size-up and management, vehicle identification, immobilization, high voltage system shutdown methods, occupant rescue, and post incident recovery and disposal considerations. Wednesday, June 8, 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. Boston Convention and Exhibition Center -151AB A Vicarious Position: The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on First Responders John Moschella, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Roslyn Karaban, St. Benard's School of Theology, Camille Levy, NFPA, Stephen Ganoe, NFPA, Tracy Vecchiarelli, NFPA COVID-19 has had a significant effect on emergency workers over the last two years. Attendees of this workshop will hear about the concept of vicarious trauma and the consequences of helping colleagues on the job. The presenters, both with more than 30 years of experience, will share some of the research they conducted with emergency workers and encourage participants to share their own experiences. Attendees of this workshop will also learn ways to redirect their stories of trauma. Tuesday, June 7, 2 – 3 p.m. Boston Convention and Exhibition Center - 254AB Learn more about NFPA C&E 2022! A recent blog showcased other educational sessions and special events to be held at NFPA C&E. To attend, visit our registration page. We hope to see you soon!
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