Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on March 1, 2019.



NFPA releases new fact sheet on school safety and security

One of the most hotly debated topics surrounding the scourge of mass shootings in the United States is school safety and security, specifically as it relates to door locking and fire alarm systems.

To bring clarity to the issue, NFPA has released a new fact sheet on school safety and security, explaining the requirements and guidelines that exist in NFPA documents for door locking and fire alarm systems in schools.

For example, the fact sheet states that NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, permits the removal of fire alarm pull stations—feared by some security experts as mechanisms shooters could use to lure victims into specific areas—“if the school is equipped with either an automatic sprinkler system or an automatic smoke detection system.”

Download the full fact sheet and explore related information at

Mom’s voice could save lives

A study published in February in the Journal of Pediatrics found that smoke alarms that sound with the recording of a mother’s voice instead of a traditional high-pitched tone are more effective at waking children. Using the child’s first name did not increase alarm effectiveness, the study also found.

Using a sample size of 176 children ages 5 to 12, the study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, confirms the findings of an earlier study, conducted by the same center in 2006.

“I think one of the most remarkable things that we saw [was that] children would sleep up to five minutes through a very loud, high-pitched tone alarm, the type of alarm that’s in most households,” said Dr. Gary Smith, the center’s director. “Yet the next time they fell asleep and we sounded the mother’s voice in the smoke alarm, they woke up almost immediately and immediately left the room. They were out within 18 to 28 seconds.”

According to NFPA, people can have as little as two minutes to safely escape a home fire once the smoke alarm sounds.

The center said future research will include testing whether the recording of a mother’s voice is more effective than a generic female or male voice, as well as comparing voice alarms to a low-pitch tone alarm.

Access the study by searching “Effectiveness of a Voice Smoke Alarm Using the Child’s Name for Sleeping Children: A Randomized Trial” on

2019 Wildfire Mitigation Award winners named

Seven individuals and organizations around the country were recently named as winners of the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards.

This year’s winners include Bryon Bonney of the Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area in Hamilton, Montana; the city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership in Flagstaff, Arizona; Pat Dwyer of the Logtown Fire Safe Council and El Dorado County Fire Safe Council in Logtown, California; Paulette Church of Durango, Colorado; Rocky Infanger of the Tri-County FireSafe Working Group and Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Helena, Montana; and Sunset View Estates in Bend, Oregon.

Since 2014, the awards—cosponsored by NFPA, the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the US Forest Service—have served to demonstrate the importance of wildfire mitigation efforts.

Learn more about the awards and past winners at

Study links obesity, extreme dehydration in firefighters

Obesity in firefighters is closely linked to hypohydration, a state of having a significant lack of fluid in the body. The condition is closely associated with dehydration, which refers to the process of fluids leaving the body.

That was the finding of a study published in January in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from 450 career firefighters from 11 randomly selected departments, finding 17 percent could be classified as having hypohydration.

“Most interesting is that more than 90 percent of those who fell into this category were obese, and each unit increase in [body mass index] was related to an 83 percent increased risk in being hypohydrated,” Sara Jahnke, one of the researchers, said in an email.

The study further observed that “poor steady state hydration among firefighters … likely increases their risk for significant hypohydration and cardiac stress under the conditions of heat stress and heavy exertion that are typical during fire suppression, rescue, and emergency medical tasks.”

While monitoring hydration is important for all firefighters, the study concluded that it’s “of particular concern for obese firefighters and that the rates of hypohydration among nonobese firefighters are very low.”

Access the study by searching “Steady State Hydration Levels of Career Firefighters in a Large, Population-Based Sample” on

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: Getty Images