FEATURED ARTICLE

NFPA’s 125th Anniversary Conference Series is Unveiled, replacing traditionally scheduled plans for 2021 Conference and Expo®

With the continued uncertainty of live events stretching well into 2021, NFPA has announced that the 2021 NFPA Conference & Expo® (C&E) will not happen as traditionally scheduled and instead will be replaced with the 125th Anniversary Conference Series, a year-long, targeted, virtual experience. Given the continued threats posed by the pandemic, holding an in-person event of C&E’s size and scope is not a safe option. Consequently, NFPA is switching gears so that we can fully devote our efforts to creating a new, virtual experience that lives up to our audiences’ expectations while ensuring the safety of everyone who attends and participates. The new conference series will feature education sessions for specific areas of expertise, networking events, and product showcases throughout 2021, culminating with the return of an in-person 2022 event in Boston that celebrates the association’s 125th anniversary. In the months ahead, the 125th Anniversary Conference series will digitally deliver an innovative host of resources, information, events, and activities that reflect our continued efforts to leverage technology to significantly advance the way safety information is delivered and used to reduce loss across the globe. The NFPA annual business meeting will take place virtually this year during the week of June 21 ,2021. The annual technical session will take place electronically at a date to be announced. Additional details on the technical session can be found at www.nfpa.org/2021techsession. For more information and the latest updates, visit www.nfpa.org/conference.

NFPA Today

Cannabis facility

NFPA seeks input on development of a new cannabis fire protection standard

With medical and/or recreational use of cannabis now legalized in 34 states and Washington D.C, the number of cannabis facilities across the country has grown exponentially. In the past few years, serious fires have occurred in these growing and processing facilities, highlighting the need for clear guidance on associated fire and life safety considerations, specifically for the cannabis industry. NFPA is currently considering the development of a new cannabis fire protection standard. As proposed, this effort would continue and expand upon the work started several years ago with NFPA 1, Fire Code, which addresses the fire protection aspects of the growing and processing facilities The new stand-alone document would consolidate and expand requirements, and reference appropriate resources into a standalone document.  More specifically, the standard would address the protection of facilities from fire and related hazards where cannabis is being grown, processed, extracted and/or tested. In addition, activities related to the proposed project would include the development of requirements for inspecting, testing and maintenance of cannabis growing, processing, and extraction procedures. It would also determine the general skills, knowledge and experience required among facility operators and facility managers responsible for ensuring adequate levels of safety at these types of facilities. NFPA is seeking comments from all interested organizations and individuals to gauge whether support exists for development of such a standard. In particular, we are soliciting feedback on the following questions: Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of an NFPA Standard pertaining to the fire protection of cannabis growing and processing facilities? Please state your reason(s) for supporting or opposing such standards development. Are you or your organization interested in applying for membership on the Technical Committee if the Standards Council initiates development activities on the proposed project? If yes, please submit an application, in addition to your comments in support of the project, online at: Submit online application* *Note: Applications are being accepted for purposes of documenting applicant interest in committee participation.  However, acceptance of applications by NFPA does not guarantee or imply the NFPA Standards Council will ultimately approve standards development activity on this subject matter. Please submit all comments in support or opposition to standards development related to fire protection of cannabis growing and processing facilities by March 31, 2021 at:  stds_admin@nfpa.org.
Rolling fire door

How is a rolling fire door inspection different than a swinging door?

So, you are used to inspecting swinging fire doors per NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives as required by NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® and are comfortable with those requirements, but you have come across a rolling fire door. Let’s take a few minutes to review some unique aspects to inspecting a rolling fire door. Rolling steel fire doors come in various sizes and can be used for different applications. The term rolling steel fire door as used by most manufacturers refers to a product that is intended for use in relatively larger openings. Such products generally utilize larger slat designs and more substantial guides for securing the assembly to the wall. Many manufacturers use the term counter fire door in reference to products that are typically designed for use on smaller openings such as counters. Their construction is similar to the product that is manufactured as a rolling steel fire door except that the assemblies typically use smaller slat designs and formed steel sections for guides. NFPA 80 does not differentiate between these products. NFPA 80 requires that door openings and their surrounding areas be kept clear of anything that could obstruct or interfere with the free operation of the door. This is something that is very important to pay attention to with rolling fire doors because it is very easy for someone to unknowingly place furniture under a rolling fire door that would obstruct it from closing, which would render the entire assembly useless. Because of this, operators of a facility should be trained to know the areas where they cannot place items that could interfere with the rolling fire door. Just as with swinging fire doors, rolling fire doors are required to be inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80, which includes an annual inspection. During this inspection, the rolling door needs to be drop-tested twice. The first drop is done to ensure that the assembly is in proper operation and fully closes, the second drop is to ensure that the entire assembly including the automatic closing device was reset correctly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you check any fusible links, release devices, and any other moveable parts to ensure that they are not painted or coated with materials that could interfere with the operation of the assembly. Some of the items that need to be inspected are similar to those for a swinging fire door, such as: the label ·open holes, breaks or damage modifications missing or broken parts auxiliary hardware that can interfere with the operation of the door, In addition, there are other items that need to be checked on a rolling fire door. The first is to make sure that the curtain, barrel, and guides are aligned, level, plumb, and true, this is necessary to ensuring that all the components of the assembly work together properly. Next you will need to ensure that all the expansion clearances outlined in the manufacturers listing are maintained. This is different than a swinging fire door because NFPA 80 does not provide those clearances, they need to be provided from the manufacturer and should be located in the listing. Mechanisms that are utilized for the automatic operation of the rolling fire door such as smoke detectors or fusible links need to be inspected to ensure that they are operational. If the rolling fire door relies on the fire alarm for operation, it may be required to initiate a fire alarm and confirm that it operates in accordance with the fire alarm input/output matrix. One additional difference between a swinging fire door inspection and a rolling fire door inspection is that you will need to confirm that the rolling fire door has an average closing speed of not less than 6 in./sec (152 mm/sec) or more than 24 in./sec (610 mm/sec), which means you will need to measure the total length the door must close and record the amount of time it takes to close in order to calculate the average time. Clearly, there are some differences with inspecting a rolling fire door as compared to a swinging fire door. As a result, I recommend taking a look at chapter 5 in NFPA 80 to find all of the specific requirements before performing an inspection. Let me know in the comments if you have had any experience with inspecting rolling fire doors. Are there any other things that you pay attention to or have come across?

Fire Break

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

What you do makes a difference: Wildfire Community Preparedness Day 2021 launches to help protect homes and neighborhoods

Now more than ever, it’s vital that people take steps to protect their homes from wildfire. That’s why NFPA andState Farm® are hosting the eighth annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (Preparedness Day) event on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Financial support from State Farm will once again enable NFPA to provide 150 applicants from across the country with $500 awards to complete a wildfire risk reduction project. Research show there are proven methods to prepare properties to withstand the devastating impacts of a wildfire. NFPA encourages project award applicants to focus on eliminating ignition hazards in the Home Ignition Zone – the home and everything right around it. Simple, low cost projects such as clearing dead leaves, debris, and pine needles from roofs and gutters, keeping lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches, removing anything stored underneath decks or porches that could burn, and other similar actions are being actively supported by NFPA and State Farm on Preparedness Day and can be easily undertaken by most homeowners. Given the current challenge to holding large in-person gatherings, Preparedness Day can be the ideal time for individuals and families to focus on improving fire protection and safety where it can make the biggest difference – around your home and property. Get ready to make a difference and get involved in wildfire risk reduction where you live. Plan your project and apply now through February 26, 2021 for an award.  

Safety Source

Radiator

Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires between December and February, with one-fifth of all home heating fires occurring in January

Home heating equipment is the leading cause of U.S. home fires during the months of December, January and February, when nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. home heating equipment fires occur. January is the leading month for home heating fires; one-fifth (20 percent) of all home heating fires happen during this month.  According to NFPA’s latest heating equipment statistics, there was an annual average of 48,530 fires home heating fires between 2014 and 2018, resulting in an estimated 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.  During the coldest months of the year, when we see the largest share of home heating fires, it’s critical that people understand when and where home heating fires tend to happen so that they can take the needed steps to minimize those risks. Space heaters were the type of equipment most often responsible for home heating equipment fires, accounting for more than two in five fires, as well as the vast majority of associated deaths and injuries. Fireplaces or chimneys were involved in approximately three in 10 home heating equipment fires. Other leading types of home heating equipment fires included central heat systems and water heaters, with each accounting for approximately one in 10 heating equipment fires. A failure to clean equipment was the leading cause of home heating fires, with creosote build-up in chimneys presenting a particular issue. Fires in which a heat source was too close to combustible materials caused the largest shares of civilian deaths, injuries, and direct property damage. Fortunately, the vast majority of heating fires can be prevented by making sure heating equipment is in good working order and monitored carefully. NFPA offers these tips and guidelines for safely heating your home this winter: Heating equipment and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet (one meter) away from all heating equipment, including furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters. Always use the right kind of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters. Create a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Make sure space heaters are in good working order and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container, which should be placed outside at least 10 feet away from your home. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are located throughout the home; test them monthly to ensure that they’re working properly NFPA offers a wealth of home heating safety tips, information, and resources to help better educate the public about ways to safely heat their homes. In addition, NFPA’s “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration works to promote a host of winter safety issues, including home heating.

Engaging your community in fire safety

It’s New Year’s Resolution time, and for Fire & Life Safety (FLS) educators, that means helping our communities adopt fire safety habits.  According to the NFPA Report on Fire Loss in the U.S., 2019, local fire departments responded to almost 1.3 million fires in 2019. These fires caused roughly 3,700 civilian deaths, 16,600 civilian injuries and $14.8 billion in property damage. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 65 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 93 seconds.  Those of us in the world of fire and life safety (FLS) education live and breathe these types of statistics and are constantly trying to find ways to engage our community to keep fire prevention top of mind and integrated into daily life.  From smoke & CO alarms to home escape planning, to safe cooking and heating practices, our goal is for our community members to make fire safety as much a habit as brushing their teeth.  Anyone who has tried to stop biting their nails or tried to start an exercise regimen knows that it takes more than just knowing something is good/bad to create motivation and action towards starting or breaking a habit.  It’s not enough to just know and agree that smoke alarms and home escape planning are important to home fire safety.  Getting people to adopt fire safety behaviors requires a number of interrelated factors to fall into place. One such factor is the way in which people consider their actual risk of harm from fire.   Just as people “know” texting and driving increases the risk of a crash, many still engage in this dangerous behavior because they’ve somehow managed to skew the risk in their favor, ie. “it’s only for a second,” “I have quick reflexes,” or “I’m good at multitasking.”  So too with fire safety in which people often assume they will have plenty of time to escape a fire, have the ability to put out a fire, or overestimate their ability to detect a fire on their own.  Fire & Life Safety educators use a variety of methods to address this perception of risk by sharing local data, personal stories, and using fire incidents as ways for people to connect the dots to their own lives.  NFPA's Community Tool Kits provide a variety of tools to support these efforts in using data, information and provision of actionable resources with the goal of adoption of fire safety behaviors.  Resolve to keep promoting fire safety as a daily habit for your community with the help of these toolkits which provide a multi-dimensional to approach behavior change with a variety of tactics and community partners.   Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on  Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.

Fire Sprinkler Initiative

Holiday Heads Up-Increase in Home Fires Around the Holidays Reminds Us of the Importance of Safe Holiday Practices and Home Fire Sprinklers

Home fronts full of lights and cozying up on the couch are romantic images for the holidays, but it’s important to remind our communities of the dangers we see around this time. We know that fires caused by cooking and decorations increase during the latter half of the year, and in our Holiday Heads-Up series, we focus on a different topic related to fire safety, providing resources and reminders to keep your community safe. From heaters to holiday decorations, electrical and lighting equipment that we may take for granted presents a larger risk during this festive season. Each year, electrical and lighting equipment is one of the top causes for home fires and is involved in almost half (45 percent) of Christmas tree fires. This Winter Holiday Safety tip sheet is an easy way to review important safety practices with your community. In the event of an emergency, vital fire protection technology like smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers can help protect residents and first responders if a fire does break out. Research shows that home fires where home fire sprinklers were present had an 85 percent lower casualty rate than home fires without an automatic extinguishing system (AES). Use this safety sheet to share facts about home fire sprinklers that may be uninformed. In addition to their invaluable safety benefits, sprinklers can also open the door to insurance and economic perks, which Jason Benn, Assistant Chief of North Perth Fire Department, highlights while discussing his personal experience installing sprinklers in his own home. A fire can become deadly in two minutes. Home fire sprinklers begin suppressing the flames as soon as the temperature activates them, giving occupants more time to escape and making the scene safer for firefighters once they arrive. The NFPA Winter Holidays page has more resources that help you educate your community on how to approach the festivities with care. To find out more about the advantages of home fire sprinklers and how to get them in your community, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.
Sprinkler demostration

Holiday Heads Up - New Hampshire Holiday Demonstration Highlights Safety Concerns Around Artificial Christmas Trees

With Thanksgiving behind us, gifts and decorations for the December holidays are the next subject on people’s minds. We consistently see increases in home fires during this time of year, so in our Holiday Heads-Up series, we will focus on a different topic of seasonal fire safety each week. Today we turn to Christmas trees, a popular tradition in many households. Artificial Christmas trees appeal for their convenience, but they bring their own fire risk concerns. A demonstration in New Hampshire with the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) highlighted this risk in a side-by-side house fire demonstration, emphasizing the need for caution during the holidays. Flashover—when everything ignites and no one can survive—can happen in as little as two minutes. In the demonstration, two mock living rooms caught fire from a heating element, sending the identical fake tree, decorations, couch, and presents aflame. While Christmas tree fires are uncommon, they can be very serious. A natural tree is three times more likely to cause a fire than an artificial one, but as we can see in the demonstration, that risk is not to be underestimated. In the event of a fire, working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers will increase occupants’ chances of escape and start controlling the flames before first responders arrive. It is best to install sprinklers during initial home construction, but retrofitting is also possible, with the cost of sprinklers in new homes adding around $1.35 per square foot. Use this safety sheet to inform members of your community about the benefits of home fire sprinklers. Remember these tips when decorating with trees for the holidays: Only use artificial trees certified by a testing organization Maintain a distance of at least three feet between heating elements and Christmas trees Keep electrical decorations and lights in good condition Make sure your tree doesn’t block any exits Never use candles to decorate a tree Review this Winter Holiday Safety tip sheet for more recommendations on how to decorate safely this holiday season. To learn more about home fire sprinklers and how to get them in your community, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

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