AUTHOR: Angelo Verzoni

Deadly North Carolina Construction Blaze Could Spark Update to State Fire Code to Include More from NFPA 241

Fire safety officials in North Carolina are considering incorporating requirements from the latest edition of NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, into the state fire code after a massive, deadly blaze earlier this month. “We do hope that the latest updates [to NFPA 241] will be considered,” Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor told The Charlotte Observer. Currently, NFPA 241 is briefly referenced in the 2018 North Carolina Fire Prevention Code, which is the latest version of the code, but experts say a fuller incorporation of the 2022 edition of NFPA 241 could help reduce the risk of more fires like the one that razed a multistory apartment complex under construction in Charlotte on May 18. The fire left two construction workers dead, while more than a dozen others had to be rescued. A city seldom sees the magnitude and tragedy last week's fire. Over 90 Charlotte firefighters spent hours controlling a 5-alarm fire at a construction site. The radio communication you’ll hear in this video only partially relays the dramatic intensity of Thursday, May 18, 2023. — Charlotte Fire Dept. (@charlottefire) May 22, 2023 Included in the changes from the 2019 edition of NFPA 241 to the 2022 edition were a new section to help authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) with enforcement of the standard, enhanced requirements for creating a fire prevention program (FPP) for construction sites, and a new chapter on large wood-frame construction, among others. The structure that burned in Charlotte was reported to be of large wood-frame construction. “I’m really proud of the latest edition of the standard,” Bruce Campbell, a fire protection engineer and vice president at Jensen Hughes, who serves as the chair of the NFPA 241 technical committee, told NFPA Journal for a 2021 article that explored the changes to the latest edition of NFPA 241. Although the next edition of the North Carolina fire code isn’t set to take effect until January 2025, North Carolina Chief Fire Code Consultant Charlie Johnson told The Observer that changes could be introduced sooner. The NC Fire Code Revision Committee is scheduled to meet next week, the newspaper reported. Rising numbers & enhanced solutions North Carolina is far from the only place in the United States—and around the globe—where firefighters, building officials, construction workers, and other professionals face fire safety challenges at construction sites. According to the most recent data from NFPA®, the number of fires in buildings under construction in the U.S. has been steadily rising since 2014. On average, U.S. fire departments respond to 4,300 fires in buildings under construction per year—that’s nearly a dozen such blazes every day. These fires also inflict an annual average of $375 million in direct property damages, according to the data. RELATED: Read the latest research report from NFPA on fires in buildings under construction; watch a recent NFPA webinar about protecting buildings under construction from fire Some policymakers and fire service professionals have speculated that the rising numbers of construction fires over the past several years could be due to a boom in wood-frame construction for large, multifamily dwellings. “We’re on heightened awareness of these, and especially when they’re in the most populated areas,” Taylor told The Observer about this type of construction. “You’ll see them in downtown Raleigh, downtown Charlotte.” But there have been many examples of non-wood-frame buildings under construction burning, too, and experts say building materials alone don’t change the risk of a fire starting.  “Construction is a vulnerable point in any building’s life cycle,” Jon Hart, a technical lead at NFPA, said in a recent NFPA Journal article. “There can be a lot going on, such as welding and other hot work activities or the use of cooking equipment by workers. In addition to that, you can have piles of combustible debris and fire protection systems that aren’t fully operable yet. All of this creates an environment where fires can start, so it’s critical for building owners, construction companies, and authorities having jurisdiction to ensure proper safety plans and procedures are in place for any project.”  EXPLORE ONLINE TRAINING COURSES FROM NFPA RELATED TO FIRES IN BUILDINGS UNDER CONSTRUCTION • Fire Prevention Program Manager Online Training Series • Construction Site Fire Safety Fundamentals Online Training • NFPA 241 Online Training Series • NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, Online Training Series • Hot Work Safety Training Certificate Online Training (also available in Spanish) To establish fire, life, and electrical safety in buildings and other spaces—no matter what stage of development they may be in—it’s critical for jurisdictions to use the most up-to-date codes and standards. In fact, that concept is one of eight components outlined in the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™, which is why NFPA Vice President of Outreach & Advocacy Lorraine Carli applauded the efforts taking shape in North Carolina to incorporate the 2022 edition of NFPA 241 into the state fire code. “The recent fire in Charlotte was an absolute tragedy, but we hope it can lead to changes that could help to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring in North Carolina and in other places,” Carli said. “Safety exists as a system, where everything from the use of modern codes to employing skilled workers matters. So it’s not just about saying, ‘Let’s use NFPA 241.’ It’s about training on it, implementing it, and ensuring there is proper enforcement.” Visit to explore a variety of NFPA resources aimed at helping to prevent construction fires.  Top photograph: Getty Images
A migrant detention center in Mexico is shown on Google Maps in 2022. A major fire at the facility in March 2023 left 39 men dead.

Ciudad Juárez Blaze That Killed 39 ‘Should Not Have Happened,’ Fire Safety Expert Says

At least 39 migrants being held in a detention center in Ciudad Juárez, a city located just south of El Paso, Texas, on the United States–Mexico border, died Monday evening after a massive fire tore through the facility. In the aftermath of the event, which was one of the deadliest fires in recent history in Mexico, fire safety experts from NFPA® are detailing the measures detention and correction facilities can take to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring.   “What happened in the Ciudad Juárez migrant station is an event that should not have happened and should not happen again,” said Jaime Gutierrez, the international development director for Latin America at NFPA.     Although widely used codes and standards such as NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® (available in Spanish), provide guidance on keeping individuals being held in detention or correctional facilities safe from fire, devastatingly destructive and deadly fires in such occupancies have been known to occur globally. Just six months ago, for instance, a fire in an Iran prison killed eight people and left dozens more injured.   “We have to do a better job at looking at the guidance that is already out there from organizations such as NFPA in keeping these facilities safe,” said Gutierrez, who lives in Mexico City.     FREE EGRESS VS CONFINEMENT     In most buildings in the modern, developed world, free egress is required by codes like NFPA 101. This is the idea that occupants inside an office, restaurant, or other building will be able to flow out of it freely in the event of a fire or other emergency. (This wasn’t always the norm, and some of the most notorious fires throughout history, such as Boston’s Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942 or the Triangle Waist Company fire in New York City in 1911, involved exit doors that were locked or otherwise blocked.)   One notable exception to this concept, however, is for detention and correctional facilities, where occupants may be locked inside cells or other holding areas. Because of these unique circumstances, safety in detention and correctional facilities can be more difficult to achieve, but experts say it’s important not to overlook it.    “It is crucial that there is a balance between security and life safety when designing and operating detention and correctional facilities,” said NFPA engineer Shawn Mahoney.   Chapters 22 and 23 of the Life Safety Code outline requirements for both new and existing detention and correctional facilities. In these chapters, the limitation on free egress in such facilities is acknowledged, and safety measures to counteract that limitation are described.   “Because the safety of all occupants in detention and correctional facilities cannot be adequately ensured solely by dependence on evacuation of the building,” the code states, “their protection from fire shall be provided by appropriate arrangement of facilities; adequate, trained staff; and development of operating, security, and maintenance procedures.” These procedures, the code continues, should consider structural design elements such as compartmentation, planning and practicing evacuation scenarios, and fire detection, notification, and suppression.   In all cases, NFPA 101 requires that staff members of detention facilities be able to release detainees to let them evacuate during emergencies. For new facilities, the code requires automatic sprinkler systems when free egress isn’t provided.    It remains unclear which, if any, of the safety measures outlined in NFPA 101 were in place at the facility that burned in Ciudad Juárez Monday. In a video allegedly captured of the blaze, which has been widely circulated in the media and online, smoke and flames can be seen building at a frightening pace inside a cell while a man dressed in what appears to be a uniform walks by quickly. In a PBS News Hour article published two days after the incident, witnesses alleged guards at the facility failed to release male detainees after the fire broke out, and Mexican authorities have said they are investigating eight employees for potential criminal charges.   Authorities say the fire started after some detainees lit mattresses inside their cell on fire to protest recent upticks in immigration delays and deportations. The facility, which abuts a highway running along the Rio Grande, just 500 feet from the U.S. border, often houses migrants from South and Central America who have been detained trying to make their way into the U.S. At the time of Monday’s fire, 68 men were being held in the section of the facility that ended up burning.   The incident capped a period of rising tensions in the city, as the migrant population there has swelled to over 12,000 in recent weeks. “This tragedy is a crime against humanity,” a 55-year-old Venezuelan migrant who’s been living on the streets of Ciudad Juárez with his two daughters told the New York Times. “The place where these people died has no dignity at all. It is a prison.”   While fires in detention and correctional facilities occur worldwide, Latin America in particular has a history of catastrophic fires in these facilities. The deadliest prison fire ever occurred in Comayagua, Honduras, in 2012, claiming 361 lives. An NFPA Journal article published seven months after that blaze calculated the likelihood of dying in a prison fire in Latin America at more than 200 times higher than in the U.S. “Many of the worst fires in Latin American prisons are the result of overcrowding and lack of adequate levels of fire safety,” the article said. “Curtains and other combustible materials surrounding prison beds are common in Latin American jails, as are electrical appliances and the resulting overloaded electrical outlets.”   The best way to prevent these fires, experts say, is through the use of codes and standards like NFPA 101. RELATED TRAINING  NFPA 101 Focus on Residential and Detention and Correctional Occupancies (2018) Online Training   “It’s important that construction professionals, building owners, and fire departments to be trained on NFPA 101 and that inspections are conducted to hold high-risk properties accountable,” said Gutierrez. “There are dozens of other migrant centers throughout Mexico, so it’s urgent to take measures in all of these facilities to prevent another tragic event like the one that occurred.”

Conspiracy Theory Brewing Over Chicken Farm Fires Is False, Experts Say

First it was fires in food processing facilities. Now, a seemingly growing number of people are claiming there’s something suspicious about fires occurring at chicken farms across the United States.   “Good morning to everyone except the evil demons purposely screwing with the food supply,” an influential Twitter user who goes by the name Catturd tweeted on January 31. The tweet received more than 22,000 likes and more than 2,000 retweets.   Good morning to everyone except the evil demons purposely screwing with the food supply. — Catturd ™ (@catturd2) January 31, 2023   In an attempt to provide proof that something nefarious is afoot, people like Catturd—who has 1.3 million followers on the popular social media website—have pointed to incidents like a fire that killed 100,000 chickens at a farm in Connecticut on January 28 and a fire in December that killed 250,000 chickens at a farm in Pennsylvania. The fires, these people allege, are most likely a government attempt at disrupting the food supply, leading to situations like the soaring egg prices that have gouged consumers’ wallets in recent months.   Similar claims were made last spring, as many people, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, purported that a string of fires that had occurred in food processing facilities was suspicious. That conspiracy theory was debunked by NFPA® and others.   Experts say the high egg prices American consumers are seeing today are in reality a result of many factors, such as widespread avian flu and inflation. In other words, they have nothing to do with fires at chicken farms. Furthermore, experts say that, in general, these types of fires should not be seen as anything out of the ordinary. Fires at livestock and poultry production and storage properties are quite common and have been for years. NFPA also offers solutions to the problem.   The numbers don’t lie   According to data included in a recent Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) report on fires in animal housing facilities, an estimated average of 930 fires occurred annually in livestock or poultry storage properties—which include spaces like barns, stockyards, and animal pens—in the US from 2014 to 2018. An additional average of 750 fires occurred annually in livestock production properties. Combined, that’s more than four fires on average each day.   And these blazes can be exceptionally deadly for the animals housed there. The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), an American nonprofit that supports animal rights, tracks barn fires in particular, and from 2013 to 2017, the AWI reports that more than 325 barn fires occurred in the US, killing nearly 2.8 million animals. Ninety-five percent of the animals killed were chickens.   “When we see fires occurring at poultry storage facilities or at barns, we’re not really seeing anything out of the ordinary,” said Birgitte Messerschmidt, director of the NFPA Research division. “It’s just the opposite, actually. It’s simply the continuation of what we in the world of fire safety and fire statistics have been seeing play out for years.”   “A lot of hazards can exist at livestock and poultry storage and production facilities, so it’s not unusual to see fires occur in these properties,” added Jacqueline Wilmot, a project manager with the FPRF, the research affiliate of NFPA.   Risks & resources     According to the FPRF report, heating equipment is the number one cause of fires in animal housing facilities, with malfunctioning electrical systems coming in at a close second. The lack of smoke alarms and fire sprinklers as well as an abundance of fuel such as hay or straw at many of these locations all work to heighten the fire risk.   One important resource that exists to help limit the number of these fires is NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code. Although NFPA 150 has existed in some form since 1979, it wasn’t until 2006 that the scope of the code was expanded beyond racehorse stables. (Read more about NFPA 150 and its origins in “Critter Life Safety Code,” the cover story of the November/December 2018 issue of NFPA Journal.)   Even today, widespread awareness and use of NFPA 150 is lacking. The recent foundation report found that in a survey of 71 individuals who in some way represent the animal housing industry, roughly 60 percent of them had no familiarity with the code. According to NFPA’s CodeFinder® tool, only two states in the US reference NFPA 150, Delaware and Nevada.   An opportunity exists “to create training outreach programs and other fire protection training to better educate animal housing facility owners and staff,” the report says.   In addition to NFPA 150, NFPA also offers a number of barn fire safety tips aimed at consumers, which can be found for free online at Amid reports that people are rushing to buy their own chickens in the face of high egg prices, stay tuned for another NFPA blog next week that will provide safety tips for anyone looking to build a chicken coop in their backyard.

Twitter HQ Investigation Highlights Importance of Catching Changes of Occupancy

Elon Musk has found himself in hot water with the city of San Francisco after reports surfaced that the newly minted Twitter owner had arranged for sleeping quarters to be added to the social media company’s San Francisco headquarters.   The San Francisco Department of Buildings Inspection said on December 7 that it would launch an investigation into the reported renovations. In a tweet, Musk called the investigation an “attack” and questioned the city’s priorities. Coming to his aid, some Twitter users then urged the billionaire entrepreneur, who also owns Tesla and SpaceX, to move Twitter’s main offices out of California.   So city of SF attacks companies providing beds for tired employees instead of making sure kids are safe from fentanyl. Where are your priorities @LondonBreed!? — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 6, 2022 But experts say the reality is that, in essentially any jurisdiction, if a change of occupancy occurs, codes and standards are in place to ensure that the fire and life safety features of a building also change to appropriately protect the new occupancy. And for good reason—deviating from a building’s intended occupancy classification has resulted in deadly consequences in past instances.   What is ‘change of occupancy’?   A change of occupancy is defined by NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, as a “change in the occupancy classification of a structure or portion of a structure.” It’s important to note that change of occupancy differs from change of use.  “ The reality is if a change of occupancy occurs, codes and standards are in place to ensure that the fire and life safety features of a building also change to appropriately protect the new occupancy   In a blog published in September, Robin Zevotek, a principal fire protection engineer at NFPA, explained it by saying, “If the work being done creates a change to the occupancy classification it is a change of occupancy, if not, it is a change of use.” In other words, adding flammable liquids to an area of a storage warehouse not intended to store flammable liquids would be change of use; turning that warehouse into an Airbnb would be change of occupancy. RELATED  Read more about occupancy classifications in codes   When either a change of occupancy or a change of use occurs, a review must take place to determine the fire protection systems or other life safety features that might now be required. An assembly occupancy like a nightclub, for instance, will have different code requirements than a hotel.   In the case of Twitter’s offices, a change from an office building to something more akin to a lodging or rooming house occupancy classification could require additional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that an office space might not. “When the building, fire, and life safety systems were designed and installed, it was under the assumption that people would use this building as a normal office building and that people wouldn’t sleep there,” said Brian O’Connor, a fire protection engineer at NFPA.   Codes and standards even account for the way people behave in different occupancy types. “In a business occupancy, for instance, we expect a certain level of awareness and responsiveness from occupants since they are alert and awake,” said Valeria Ziavras, a fire protection engineer at NFPA. “Additionally, we would expect them to have some familiarity with the building and how to get out in the event of an emergency. Compare that to an occupancy like a lodging and rooming house, where we expect occupants to be sleeping, at least part of the time, which drastically affects the level of awareness and how quickly they can respond to an emergency situation. They may or may not be familiar with the building and how to get out.”   A spokesman for the San Francisco Department of Buildings Inspection echoed these points in a statement sent to CBS News. “We need to make sure the building is being used as intended,” said Patrick Hannan, the department’s communications director. “There are different building code requirements for residential buildings, including those being used for short-term stays. These codes make sure people are using spaces safely.”   Unregulated changes of occupancy can have potentially devastating consequences. Perhaps no example illustrates this better than the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people in Oakland in December 2016. Dozens of people had been illegally living and working in the abandoned warehouse prior to the fire. At the time, the warehouse hadn’t been inspected in three decades, city records showed, and few seemed to know what was actually going on inside.     “If changes in occupancy or use occur with disregard to the code implications, this could put people’s lives at risk, result in the loss of the property, and have a negative impact on either the local or global economy,” said O’Connor. “Sometimes, we take it for granted when we assume that the lives of the occupants were taken into consideration when changes to the building are made. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, so if you see a change in occupancy or a major change in use occur, be sure to notify your local fire department.” Top photograph: MatthewKeys via Wikipedia

Experts Warn of Electric Vehicle Fires After Hurricane Ian Damages Lithium-Ion Batteries

As millions of Americans recover from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida, on September 28, officials are warning of a new hazard: electric vehicles (EVs) that were damaged in the storm and now pose a fire risk.  “Our first responders are being put in harm’s way,” Florida State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said in a video posted on social media earlier this month. “Homes that may have survived the storm are now being burned down.” According to the Florida Phoenix, firefighters in Naples have responded to at least six fires involving EVs that had been damaged in the storm. Experts say vehicles that may have been submerged in saltwater for extended periods of time are of particular concern—and with storm surge from the powerful Category 4 hurricane having reached as high as 15 feet in parts of coastal Florida, thousands of vehicles could now fall into this category. “Electric vehicles that have been submerged in water, especially saltwater, have a potential risk of experiencing a high-voltage electrical battery fire,” said Victoria Hutchison, a project manager at the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA. “First responders should be prepared to respond to a potential fire and should handle EVs that may have been submerged with greater caution.”  What is thermal runaway and stranded energy?  Most electric vehicles in use today are powered by lithium-ion batteries. When damaged by something like saltwater, heat, or force, a chemical reaction known as thermal runaway can start inside the cells of these energy-dense batteries. In this state, the batteries heat up uncontrollably and can be prone to fires and off-gassing, which can also result in explosions in confined spaces.  “ First responders should be prepared to respond to a potential fire and should handle EVs with greater caution. When EVs batteries are submerged in saltwater, specifically, “salt bridges can form within the battery pack and provide a path for short-circuit and self-heating,” the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement sent to Patronis.  Hutchison echoed that point. “Saltwater can accelerate corrosion,” she said. “So, in a saltwater storm surge scenario, the salt deposits that can remain on the EV batteries after the water recedes can cause rapid corrosion and increase the risk of thermal runaway. Furthermore, there’s no set period in which this potential thermal reaction will occur—it can be hours, days, or even weeks later.” Last week I witnessed an EV fire during Hurricane Ian operations. Firefighters put out the fire, then it would reignite. The teams said it was a result of salt water affecting compromised batteries, so we asked for additional information from @NHTSAgov. They responded. (1/5) — Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 14, 2022 Compounding the risk of thermal runaway is the fact that there’s no easy way of draining the energy out of damaged batteries—a separate concept known as stranded energy. This is true even after a fire has occurred and been initially extinguished. In 2018, for instance, after a fatal crash and fire involving an electric vehicle in California, the car’s batteries reignited at a junkyard six days later.  RELATED: Read more about stranded energy and thermal runaway in an NFPA Journal feature story published in 2020 Because of these risks, Hutchison and other experts have recommended that Florida first responders and the public “remain on high alert” for fires involving damaged EVs in the wake of Ian. If you own an EV that may have been damaged during Hurricane Ian, “please get it towed away from your home but … make sure the towing operator knows how to safely and properly tow EV vehicles,” the North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District Administration wrote in a Facebook post.  In statements released publicly last week and also sent directly to EV manufacturers and federal officials, Florida Senator Rick Scott urged action from manufacturers to provide more fire safety guidance for both consumers and the fire service.  “The current guidelines from EV manufacturers on the impacts of saltwater submersion on the operability of the vehicles do not adequately address the issue,” Scott wrote. “As a result, most consumers are under the potentially life-threatening misimpression that their EVs will continue functioning properly after saltwater submersion.”   NFPA already offers guidance for the fire service on how to best respond to incidents involving electric vehicles. As EVs have grown in popularity over the past several years, NFPA has helped educate more than 300,000 first responders on this emerging hazard. Visit to learn more about the EV responder training opportunities from NFPA. Top photograph: Ivan Radic via Flickr

NFPA offers tips to stay safe in short-term rentals, hotels, and elsewhere

  Over the past several years, companies like Airbnb and VRBO have grown in popularity, promising travelers unique stays in properties like this, which are known collectively as short-term rental properties. But unlike hotels, short-term rentals often don’t have the same code requirements and enforcement as hotels. Fire and life safety protection measures as basic as smoke alarms can be missing.  That’s why experts say it’s critical for guests to be mindful of the spaces they’re in, checking for things like working smoke alarms, two ways out of a building, and more. “Safe travel and lodging needs to be a component of your overall travel plans,” says Andrea Vastis, director of the Public Education division at NFPA. “Choosing places with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, bringing travel alarms with you, and making sure everyone knows how to safely escape with an agreed-upon meeting place at your destination is critical.” An injury ‘every 44 seconds’ It’s unclear exactly how many people get injured—or worse—in hotels or motels each year, but it does happen with some regularity. The internet is littered with websites for injury lawyers who specialize in cases involving injuries that occurred at hotels. In January, comedian Bob Saget died after reportedly falling and hitting his head in a Florida hotel room.  But according to Justin Ford, guests in short-term rental properties get injured at a higher rate than guests in hotels. Ford has been involved in the short-term rental industry for decades and has advised companies like Airbnb on creating safer environments in short-term rentals.  “We know the home is the most dangerous place. More than 50 percent of our accidents happen in the home. Now we’re taking people who aren’t familiar with that home, and we’re putting them in that home, and that amplifies and makes the accidents even more common,” Ford says on a recent episode of The NFPA Podcast. “I’ve come up with a number that I believe is accurate: Every 44 seconds someone is injured in a short-term rental.” While some communities have made strides to enforce fire and life safety codes and standards in short-term rental properties—Palm Springs, California, is one example, Ford says, where even pools being rented within properties must pass electrical inspections—many short-term rentals never get inspected by a safety professional.  “I’ve stayed in a lot of rentals, and I’ve seen more than most people,” Ford says on the podcast. “I’ve looked up and realized, hey, that smoke alarm up there doesn’t have a flashing light, and I pull it down and it doesn’t have any batteries in it, and it’s because the last renters burned some popcorn and pulled the batteries and no one checked.” To stay safe, Ford advises renters to be proactive about taking safety into their own hands. “You’ve got to do your due diligence if you are a renter to look around and take a minute and ask, is this a safe place for me to stay?” he says. Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are present and working; make sure fire hazards like matches and lighters aren’t accessible, especially to children; ensure there are two ways out of the building in case of a fire or other emergency; take note of where fire extinguishers are located; if you can, eliminate any trip or fall hazards on the property. NFPA offers similar recommendations for short-term rental guests and a number of additional ones in two tip sheets, “Fire Safety at Your Home Away from Home” and “Take Safety with You!” Ideally, Ford envisions a future where guests don’t need to take as many steps to ensure their safety. Owners of properties would be more dedicated to investing in and maintaining fire and life safety protection equipment in the first place. “We can make these short-term rentals as safe as possible with very little financial impact on the owner,” Ford says. “We’re not talking about a lot of money to put in these safety features. So we’re not saying to get rid of them—they’re great—but let’s put a little effort into making sure they’re a safer experience for the guest.” NFPA resources for short-term rentals and beyond  In addition to its tip sheets on short-term rental safety, NFPA also offers tip sheets for staying safe in traditional hotels and even recreational vehicles.   At hotels, for instance, NFPA recommends guests take steps similar to what’s advised for short-term renters. If fire or smoke prevents you from safely evacuating the hotel, though, there are steps you can take to stay safe, including shutting off your room’s fans and air conditioning, stuffing wet towels in any cracks around the door, calling the fire department, and staying by the window. Read more in the “Hotel & Motel Safety” tip sheet from NFPA.  Recreational vehicles, or RVs, can also present risks to occupants. A report released by the Fire Protection Research Foundation in 2020 found that on average, 24 people die and 64 people are injured in nearly 2,000 RV fires in the United States each year. “Most fatal fires occur in older models of RVs, as they have fewer and less advanced fire safety measures,” the report reads. “They also have older engines and equipment that are more likely to fail, which is a common cause of fires.”  RELATED: Read an NFPA Journal article and listen to an NFPA Podcast on RV fire safety   To stay safe, NFPA advises RV renters and owners, among other steps, to make sure vehicle maintenance is up-to-date and performed by a qualified mechanic and that propane tanks and tubing are code compliant. Read more in the “Motor home, camper, and recreational vehicle safety” tip sheet from NFPA.

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