Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on September 1, 2015.

In Brief

FPRF receives grant to study effects of contaminated PPE

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has received a nearly $900,000 Assistance to Firefighters federal grant to conduct a study to better understand the dangers of contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) and to develop cleaning procedures to protect firefighter health.

Repeated exposure to contaminated PPE has been suspected as a cause of cancer in firefighters. NFPA 1851, Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, has established general cleaning procedures, but more science is needed to support, clarify, and enhance those procedures.

The FPRF will partner with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on the project, which, in addition to fireground contamination, will also look at PPE cleaning methods after exposure to infectious pathogens such as Ebola.

The first phase of the project, which is underway, focuses on gathering information and data to identify and characterize the common contaminants in firefighter PPE. Subsequent phases of the two-year project will develop and validate specific procedures that determine the effectiveness of various cleaning methods to remove or deactivate specific soils, contaminants, and pathogens.

Click here for more information on the project.

Teen earns kudos for SUPDET detection paper

An incoming high school freshman from Maryland has won the Ronald K. Mengel Award for outstanding detection paper at the 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SUPDET), an annual event sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

Elyse Gottuk, a 14-year-old eighth-grader when she presented her paper, “The Effect of Ceiling Fans on Smoke Alarm Performance,” at SUPDET last March, initially conducted the study for a local science fair project. Her research explored whether a rule in NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, requiring smoke alarms be placed at least three feet from a ceiling fan is necessary. She concluded that the rule was not necessary in all cases, and urged the NFPA 72 technical committee to take a closer look at the issue.

The 2015 William M. Carey Award for best suppression paper at SUPDET was awarded to Daniel Steppan for his paper “Protection of Rack Stored Exposed Expanded Group A Plastics with ESFR Sprinklers and Vertical Barriers.“ Steppan, a staff engineer at Underwriters Laboratories, presented the results of seven full-scale fire tests that explored the effectiveness of a new vertical barrier system to protect warehouses storing highly combustible Group A plastics.

Read the 2015 SUPDET papers.

Backyards & Beyond sign-up reminder

Registration is underway for the Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference taking place October 22–24 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The conference, which features nearly 50 breakout sessions along four educational tracks, is an opportunity for participants to share knowledge, build relationships, and explore issues around wildfire safety. In addition to the main program, there are two pre-conference workshops: Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone, and Prepare, Mitigate, and Respond with GIS.

The early-bird registration deadline for the pre-conference workshops and the conference is September 18. Registration is available online, by phone, or mail. For registration information, a conference schedule, and more, visit the Backyards & Beyond website.

Fire service: Take the FPW Challenge

NFPA invites fire departments and fire marshals’ offices across the U.S. to take part in the Fire Prevention Week Challenge to promote the message “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.”

To enter, just hold a 2015 FPW activity, take a photo of it, and apply online. Ten random winners will receive a fire safety sports box filled with fire prevention handouts and merchandise, valued at $420. All entries must be received by October 31.

JESSE ROMAN is staff writer for NFPA Journal.