Published on January 3, 2017.

In Brief

NFPA Takes Action on ESS

NFPA has taken a number of steps to teach the fire service how to prepare for the hazards associated with energy storage systems (ESS), an emerging technology that captures and stores energy for later use.

ESS is increasingly being used in everything from high-rise buildings to vehicles in the United States and is already presenting a challenge for the fire service. In 2011, for example, fire erupted in the battery energy storage system (BESS) building of a wind farm in Hawaii and burned for several days; in August, more than 20 fire departments in Wisconsin responded to a BESS fire that broke out in a shipping container.

NFPA recently released the first-ever online ESS training program for fire service personnel, which includes an instructor-led course, an educational video series, and a reference guide focusing on areas such as basic electrical theory and emergency response procedures. In October, NFPA partnered with other ESS experts to conduct the first-ever ESS first responder training at the Energy Storage North American Conference in San Diego, and this year NFPA plans to conduct at least four more in-person training sessions. Additionally, NPFA is working on an ESS standard—NFPA 855, Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems—to address the design, construction, installation, and commissioning of ESS facilities, as well as related fire suppression issues.

More information about the online ESS training program can be found online. Fire service organizations interested in hosting one of NFPA’s half-day ESS classroom trainings should contact Michael Gorin at NFPA at mgorin@nfpa.org.

Study Finds High Economic Impact of Burns in Home Fires

A new study led by a Canadian research institute found that lives shortened or lost in home fires over a 14-year period have cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars.

The study, conducted by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, found fires caused a loss of approximately 24,000 years of life between 1998 and 2012; resulted in an average cost of nearly $85,000 to treat a burn patient; and totaled $5.8 billion (CAD$7.6 billion) in the cost of potential years of life lost due to residential fires.

Researchers arrived at the figures by reviewing coroner investigation statements and autopsy reports of about 1,200 adults who died in homes without fire sprinklers between 1998 and 2012.

“The vast majority of people were not killed by burns, but rather by smoke inhalation, which drives home the importance of having working smoke detectors in every home,” said Joanne Banfield, lead researcher for the study and manager of Trauma Injury Prevention at Sunnybrook.

Read more about the study online.

Texas Adopts Remembering When

Texas has adopted Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults as a statewide standard.

Remembering When is a program developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is designed to help seniors live safely at home for as long as possible. Remembering When equips fire departments and other organizations, such as churches and retirement homes, with the resources needed to educate their local senior populations on fire and fall safety. The program centers around 16 key safety messages—eight related to fire prevention and eight to fall prevention.

As part of the state’s endorsement of Remembering When, NFPA, along with Karen Berard-Reed, senior project manager of public education at NFPA, were officially recognized by the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas and the Texas Fire Marshals’ Association.

More information about the program, as well as program materials, can be found online.

Firewise Communities Mark 15 Years

Nine of the original 12 participants in NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program recently celebrated 15 years of participation.

The program, which started in 2002 and has since grown to include more than 1,300 participating communities throughout the country, teaches communities at risk for brush, grass, and forest fires how to best prepare for those types of incidents. Firewise is cosponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.

The nine communities who reached 15 years of Firewise participation include Timber Ridge, Prescott, Arizona; Perry Park, Larkspur, Colorado; Genesee Foundation, Golden, Colorado; Wedgefield, Orlando, Florida; Wilderness Ranch, Boise, Idaho; Greater Eastern Jemez WUI Corridor, Jemez Springs, New Mexico; Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah; Sundance, Provo Canyon, Utah; and River Bluff Ranch, Spokane, Washington. Over the last 15 years, the communities have collectively contributed more than $5.9 million in wildfire risk-reduction activities.

More information about the Firewise program is available online.