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

Apartment fires

Massive fire at apartment complex under construction in southwest Las Vegas reinforces critical importance of NFPA 241

Caption: Smoldering damage left on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, after a fire tore through an apartment complex under construction in southwest Las Vegas. (Photo: Clark County Fire Department) A massive structure fire occurred at an apartment complex under construction in the southwest Las Vegas valley last week, resulting in an estimated $25 to $30 million in property damage. According to local news sources, strong winds blew embers around the neighborhood, leading to reports of small fires outside the complex. Crews put out fires in trees, garbage bins and other parts of the surrounding area as far as a quarter mile from the complex. No injuries were reported, but local officers helped evacuate about 50 homes as crews responded to the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation, with the Clark County Fire Investigations Division requesting assistance from ATF. NFPA statistics show that three of every four fires in structures under construction involved residential properties. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires on construction sites, while electrical distribution and lighting equipment was the leading cause of fires in structures under major renovation. Like the many fires that have occurred at buildings under construction over the past few years, the incident that occurred last week in Nevada reinforces the critical value of NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, which provides requirements to mitigate the factors that often contribute to these types of incidents. NFPA offers a series of resources around buildings under construction to help contractors, building owners and managers, code official and enforcers, and AHJs better understand the requirements and guidelines within NFPA 241, and to more effectively ensure that all parties involved in the construction process have the tools and support to adequately adhere to them.
The latest updates for NFPA LiNK

NFPA LiNK digital reference tool gets new addition with NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code

The new information delivery platform from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), NFPA LiNK™, has been updated to include the 2021 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code. The platform, which launched in the fall of 2020, will include all NFPA codes and standards, supplementary content, and visual aids for building, electrical, and life safety professionals and practitioners. Currently, NFPA LiNK includes the 2021 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, which covers life safety in both new and existing structures; the four most recent editions of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), the most widely used code in the United States and referenced around the globe; the 2021 edition of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, and more. For those not familiar with NFPA 99, it establishes criteria for levels of health care services or systems based on risk to the patients, staff, or visitors in health care facilities to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion, and electricity. Often used together with NFPA 101, NFPA 99 not only provides critical requirements for the ongoing design and day-to-day operations of health care facilities, but it also works to ensure optimal safety for patients and staff in the event of a natural disaster or health care crisis such as the current coronavirus pandemic. Today, work demands employees have the most current, relevant information and resources available at their fingertips to help solve problems quickly and at any given location. NFPA LiNK has been designed to provide users instant access to resources pertinent to their work and requirements for safe work practices that reduce a worker’s exposure to fire, electrical, and other hazards. To help address the needs of users, NFPA LiNK can be accessed via mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or other preferred device, and will become a “living library” that offers: The ability to work alongside the codes by adding personal notes, assigning colors, and saving to custom collections for quick and easy reference. A broader understanding of code requirements through access to expert commentary, visual aids, and helpful resources. Collaboration features to share code sections, work across teams, and ensure everyone knows what is required. Navigation tools that enable users to quickly locate the information they need based on the situations they encounter. Want to learn more? Check out the demonstration video that gives you a quick glance into many of the key functions and features of the tool. You can also get more information about the NFPA LiNK platform, including how to sign up for a free trial, a timeline of additional codes and standards that will be coming to NFPA LiNK, and a product introduction video. Find everything you need today at nfpa.org/LiNK.

Fire Break

Firewise Risk Assessment tutorial
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

Changing behavior

Moving the needle toward behavior change

At this time of year, people begin making and breaking their new year’s resolutions, and Fire and Life Safety (FLS) educators are once again faced with the age old question: “What does it take to get people to adopt safety behaviors?” or as I like to call it, “Why won’t they just do what we tell them to do?!” Our behaviors are made up of a complex interplay of our social and physical environments, education, access to resources, and economics combined with our perceptions of risk, attitudes, and knowledge base.  Traditional health education provides people with KAS:  Knowledge, Attitude and Skills to support the adoption of new behaviors.  These are the elements that are within the FLS educator’s control to promote and deliver to their audiences.  Those out of the FLS educator’s control are what make behavior change such an uphill battle, and what make behavior change require numerous attempts and a depth of effort beyond the educator’s time and budget. Programs such as Remembering When: Older Adult Fire & Fall Prevention support the FLS educator by partnering with community & health agencies to reach community members to reduce fires and falls.   By working with a variety of partners, and using a variety of methods, FLS educators are providing knowledge, teaching people skills (yes, older adults need to know how to Stop, Drop and Roll), and working to change the “there’s nothing I can do,” attitude of home injury and fire prevention. The seasoned FLS educator uses their village of community partners – media, health services, social services, schools, and community-based organizations to provide the depth, repetition, and reach needed to support behavior change.  NFPA's Safety Tip Sheets, in multiple languages, are a great addition to providing the knowledge, but they can’t work in a vacuum to make real change.  NFPA's lesson plans, in 10, 30 and 60 minute formats are designed to support the KAS model of learning, and our Community Tool Kits support the community partnership approach to behavior change through the provision of information, resources, social media assets, and support for your residents.  Together, the suite of methods, resources, and partners can begin to move that needle. Wishing you all a healthy and safe 2021. 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.
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.

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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