AUTHOR: James Monahan


Emmy Awards Opening Stunt Reminds Us Not to Play with Fire

As we continue to live in a COVID-19 impacted world, we see all kinds of businesses and activities pivoting to different formats. This year's Emmy Awards was no exception. The 2020 event held over the weekend featured lots of the usual elements that viewers expect from award show presenters and winners, even though some folks were on a set and most in their own homes. During the show, a comedic bit that was surely intended to be a harmless gag went up in smoke, reinforcing the potential dangers of fire. As Jimmy Kimmel prepared to present the award for lead actress in a comedy series, he sprayed an envelope with disinfectant before tossing it into a trashcan and lighting it on fire.  Using a fire extinguisher, Jennifer Aniston attempted to put it out but struggled to effectively do so. The event illustrated how unpredictable fire can be, along with the challenges of effectively using a fire extinguisher; Aniston had to use it multiple times before the fire was fully out. Let's use this incident to remind folks of some basic fire safety messages: Fire is dangerous and unpredictable; don't play with it If you do have a fire, get out and stay out; call the fire department from the outside Have working smoke alarms installed in all required locations throughout your home Develop and practice a home escape plan If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, make sure you've received the proper training to use it correctly and effectively   This tip sheet is a quick reminder of how to stay safe in case of emergencies in public gathering spaces. Fire departments respond to a fire somewhere in the United States every 24 seconds, with fires causing nearly $15 billion in property damage each year. While we all like a good laugh, fire is no joke. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this one.
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Mythblaster Monday 7: Maintaining Home Fire Sprinklers is a Spending Save

This year's Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” reminds us that with the cooler seasons comes holiday cooking—and more risk for home fires. One of the best ways to protect your home in the event of a fire is with a multilayered approach to safety, including working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers. Unfortunately, misinformation follows closely wherever home fire sprinklers are mentioned. In our Mythblaster Monday series we tackle a different myth each week, sharing resources and accurate information that highlight the numerous benefits of home fire sprinklers. Earlier, we debunked the idea that home fire sprinklers are expensive, and today's myth is along the same vein. Myth: Home fire sprinklers require costly inspections and maintenance. Fact: It's easy--a flow test should be done a couple times a year. The simple fact is that home fire sprinkler maintenance will never approach the costs of a fire. A 2019 report found that the average dollar loss per home structure fire when sprinklers were present $6,900 compared to $18,800 when they weren't—a difference of 63 percent lower. Plus, when properly installed residential fire sprinklers are made to operate properly with no maintenance for around 20 years. Residential sprinklers can also save municipalities money. To keep home fire sprinklers in top condition, do not paint over, cover, or otherwise impede them. Also, complete a flow valve test, or have a contractor do one for you, a couple of times a year. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has some great information for living with sprinklers and recommends these tips: Occasionally do a visual inspection of controls and sprinklers Teach your children fire sprinklers are not toys and should not be played with Use a padlock to keep the water valve in the ON position Don't block the sprinklers with furniture or fabrics—a blocked sprinkler cannot put out a fire Most of all, don't worry—sprinklers aren't complicated. The Living with Sprinklers Kit has more tips for integrating home fire sprinklers into your life. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition have even more resources for sharing the positives of home fire sprinklers.
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RVI Continues to Generate Attention, Moves to Public Input Phase in Standards Development Process

With industries still adapting to the demands of COVID-19 and the typical, ongoing backlog in ITM (inspection, testing and maintenance), RVI continues to cause quite the buzz. Health Facilities Management magazine featured the technology as the cover story in their recent issue, including insights from Jonathan Hart, an NFPA tech lead for building and life safety and from Kevin Carr, the staff liaison for NFPA's proposed standard on remote inspections. Up until the pandemic hit, RVI was not widely employed, but the technology offers a range of benefits that are hard to ignore for those charged with facility inspections and maintenance. Whether it is gaining access during a pandemic when buildings may be shut down or operating at reduced capacity, assisting AHJs that have fewer staff members, or for those authorities that are using drones to examine large buildings with cumbersome exteriors—remote inspections are increasingly becoming an attractive option. Despite its appeal to many, RVI can have issues such as performance impacts by lighting or internet service, inconsistent use methods, and (in the case of the HFM article), healthcare privacy. To use RVI effectively, the article emphasizes the guidance that NFPA has generated to date: gain AHJ pre-approval develop policies to share with key stakeholders communicate results with all parties in a timely manner Meanwhile, NFPA 915, Standard for Remote Inspections (proposed standard), a document that covers requirements for various types of remote inspections, recently opened for Public Input (PI) and will accept proposed revisions until June 1, 2021.  “This is an important phase of the NFPA standards development process where any member of the public can submit a change to the most recent draft or edition of the standard,” says Kevin Carr, staff liaison, NFPA 915. “The technical committee will then meet after the Public Input Closing Date (PICD) to begin reviewing this input.” NFPA 915 was supposed to go before the Standards Council later this year but instead was considered in August. The guidance is expected to be published as an adoptable standard in late 2023. Interested parties can review NFPA 915, see meeting schedules, submit a public input, and sign up for alerts pertaining to the document at Be sure to see the news section on this page for recent, related RVI content.
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