AUTHOR: LisaMarie Sinatra

NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem

Weaknesses in Global Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem Highlighted in New NFPA Policy Institute “2020 Year in Review” Report

Every day we are struck here at NFPA by the number of global news headlines we read about injuries, deaths, and property loss from fire and related hazards. And with each event, we can’t help but ask - What actions led up to the event? How could this tragedy have been averted? What changes are needed to keep similar events from happening again? Over time, questions such as these led NFPA to develop in 2018 the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™, a framework that identifies the components that must work together to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, life, electrical, and other hazards. We realized that if any of the eight key components of this safety system are missing or functioning poorly, calamities happen and the risk to life, property, and economic productivity increases. This month the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Policy Institute released the 2020 Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™: Year in Review report. This latest edition examines U.S. and international events in the last year including massive wildfires, the Beirut port explosion, and another exterior cladding high-rise fire that highlight how gaps, cracks, and weaknesses in our global fire and life safety system become tragedies. Examining the events outlined in the Year in Review report gives us the opportunity to not only understand the role fire plays in today’s society but it can help communities recognize the fault lines that enabled each calamity and use the examples to help address fractures in their own fire and life safety ecosystems to create safer areas to live. With each incident, the NFPA Fire & Life Ecosystem is a key to understanding how decisions made over time can either exacerbate or control these threats to safety. Download the free 2020 Year in Review report and find related resources and information about the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem on the NFPA Ecosystem webpage. 

HFSC Video Series: Founding Coalition Member NFSA Explains Need to Continue Education about the Value of Home Fire Sprinklers

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and to help celebrate, HFSC developed a weekly video series featuring interviews with industry professionals and practitioners who share stories of their commitment to advocating for home fire sprinklers in communities across the country. Last week, HFSC President Lorraine Carli explained the history and evolution of the coalition, its dedication to the life-saving technology of home sprinklers and commitment to grassroots fire safety education, and HFSC’s emphasis on digital and online resources to further the important messages of the coalition. If you missed the video, you can find it on our NFPA Today blog. This week, HFSC introduces Shane Ray, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and NFSA Executive Officer, Vickie Pritchett. In their interview with Lorraine Carli, Ray and Pritchett explain NFSA’s role as a founding member of HFSC, its partnership with the American Fire Sprinkler Association and NFPA, and their continued efforts to educate local officials, the fire service and first responders, home builders, developers, realtors, and consumers about the value of sprinklers. Check out their interview below: This year, help us celebrate HFSC’s 25th anniversary by sharing the facts about the affordability, reliability, and effective protection of home fire sprinklers. For additional information, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative websites.
A stormy sky over a city

During Hurricane Season, NFPA Natural Disaster Electrical Equipment Checklist Helps Electricians Assess Whether to Repair or Replace Electrical Systems Damaged in a Storm

June marks the start of hurricane season bringing with it strong and damaging storms that will impact many parts of the U.S. As such, building owners and managers of industrial and commercial facilities in these areas could find themselves working through the daunting process of disaster recovery once the initial danger has passed. When electrical systems are damaged in a natural or man-made disaster, electricians need to make a critical decision about whether the electrical equipment that was damaged can be salvaged or not. NFPA has created a checklist for electricians to help highlight and simplify key aspects of this decision-making process. The checklist builds off of recommendations in Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance (2019 edition), and includes: A list of disaster scenarios, which can inflict damage of varying degrees to facilities Steps for assessing equipment A priority assessment table Steps to help identify factors for replacement or repair The choice between repair and replace will not always be easy but following these simple suggestions can help make the difference between an impossible task and an informed decision. Download the free “Natural Disaster Electrical Equipment Checklist” and review the information. Having this information at your fingertips will be extremely valuable should your community call on you for your electrical experience and assistance in the aftermath of a storm or other weather-related event.   Need additional information? NFPA 70B is now available in NFPA LiNK™, the association’s information delivery platform with NFPA codes and standards, supplementary content, and visual aids for building, electrical, and life safety professionals and practitioners. Learn more at nfpa.org/LiNK.

Summer Months Highlight Need to Apply Electrical Safety Practices in Marinas and on Boats

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, marinas and boatyards are ramping up for the busy boating season as people prepare to head out on the water. NFPA reminds everyone about potential electrical hazards that exist onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, floating buildings, and launch ramps, and the need to put safety measures in place to reduce risk. During the summer, news headlines highlight incidents related to electric shock drowning (ESD). Most people have never heard about nor are they aware of ESD and the electrical dangers posed in water environments, and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. Electric shock drowning occurs when faulty wiring sends electric current into the water that can pass through the body and cause paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns.  When it comes to marinas, both saltwater and freshwater, corrosive environments can be very tough on electrical equipment. Many marinas often lack ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), devices that automatically shut off electrical power when they detect a leakage. Compounding the problem is that there are no consistent rules about recurring safety inspections. There are things, however, that boaters, marina and boatyard operators can do to ensure safety: Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Pay attention to signage that warns about these risks. Each year, and after a major storm that may affect the boat, have the boat's electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina's electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code® (NEC). Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly. Resources for marina and boatyard operators Cliff Norton of Bellingham Marine Utilities and a member of Code Making Panel 7, talked to NFPA about the workIn a related interview, Keith Lofland of IAEI, and chair of Code Making Panel 7, explained electric shock drowning to us and how the NEC addresses marina safety including the requirement related to ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A recent “Marina Risk Reduction” report includes an assessment and associated action plan to prevent, mitigate and/or eliminate the harmful effects of ESD in the vicinity of marinas, boatyards, and floating buildings. You can also get the highlights in a short video. Find the interviews, a list of codes and standards that apply to boats and marinas and their related electrical safety issues, and more related information on our webpage. Follow the action steps, use these resources and join NFPA this holiday weekend and throughout the summer in promoting electrical safety on the water. Learn more at nfpa.org/watersafety.
Person jumping into a pool

NFPA Calls Attention to Pool and Boating Safety During Electrical Safety Month

Each year as the warm weather approaches we are struck here at NFPA by the number of news headlines we read about deaths related to electric shock drowning (ESD). Most people have never heard about nor are they aware of ESD and the electrical dangers posed in water environments, and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. As we wind down Electrical Safety Month and head into Memorial Day weekend, a time when many people travel to the water’s edge, prepare their boats for the season, and open pools, we remind everyone about potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps. Electric shock drowning occurs when faulty wiring sends electric current into the water that can pass through the body and cause paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. To help explain ESD in more detail and how to avoid it, NFPA Journal created the following short video:     Swimmers, pool and boat owners can also familiarize themselves with the following information and share it with people they know before embarking on any water activities: Tips for swimmers Never swim near a marina, dock, or boatyard, or near a boat while it is running. While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker, or work intermittently. If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.  Tips for pool owners If you are putting in a new pool, hot tub, or spa, be sure the wiring is performed by an electrician experienced in the special safety requirements for these types of installations. Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool, spa, or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency. Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away. Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Each year, and after a major storm that may affect the boat, have the boat's electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina's electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the . Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly. Join NFPA this holiday weekend and throughout the summer by sharing resources and important information with people you know about electric shock drowning and ways to reduce your risk. For more information about electric shock drowning, please visit nfpa.org/watersafety.
Electrical worker looking at a tablet

Latest NFPA Podcast, Video, and Program Event Emphasizes Electrical Safety for Workers

Together with Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), NFPA is raising awareness about how to reduce the risk of electrical-related fires, property loss, injuries, and loss of life at home and in the workplace. And this month, sharing this vital information with workers, employers, and the public is on full display as we support National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign led by ESFI to further spread these lifesaving messages. Check out some of our new resources aimed at professionals and practitioners in the field: NFPA electrical content specialist, Derek Vigstol, caught up with Brett Brenner, ESFI’s president, to talk about what the data says about who most often experiences electrical injuries and how, and electrical safety considerations in the age of electric vehicles and smart home technology. Derek also talked to NEC Correlating Committee Chair Larry Ayer about how terminology remains consistent and coherent in the NEC. Listen to the NFPA Podcast interview, “Electrical Injuries on the Job and in the Home.” NFPA Journal released its newest “Learn Something New” video. Host Angelo Verzoni breaks down the differences between volts, amps, and watts, and how they relate to keeping electrical outlets in homes safe. This video provides important information you can share with people you know. The latest NFPA 70E fact sheet helps employers provide a safe workplace for employees. It explains the role NFPA 70E plays for both employer and employee and provides insight into some of the major changes of the 2021 edition. Electrical safety in the workplace was on full display on Tuesday, May 18 when NFPA hosted its “Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety” program as part of the NFPA 125th Anniversary Conference Series. Topics included dissecting the powerful relationship between OSHA and NFPA 70E, using electrical incident data to avoid occupational injuries from electrical hazards, and understanding key research related to cognitive and behavioral health changes that happen to a person after an electrical incident. The program is available on demand for up to a year. Register to watch the sessions at a later date if you missed Tuesday’s event. As we settle into the month of May, let’s work together to highlight Electrical Safety Month by sharing this important information and spreading the word on the profound impact electrical safety has on our daily lives. Find our resources and related information to share on our website at nfpa.org/electricalsafety.
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