Topic: Fire Protection Systems

2015 NFPA 1

NFPA 1: Notice of violations and penalties, #FireCodefridays

The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the ultimate enforcing body and has full responsibility of determining if the Code is being applied correctly.  The Code is administered and enforce by the AHJ designated by the governing authority.  NFPA 1 might be enforced by different agencies in different jurisdictions. Depending on how the Code is adopted, enforcement responsibilities might be divided between state and local agencies or between different agencies at either the state or local level. If the enforcement responsibility is divided, each agency must be aware of the specific portions of NFPA 1 for which it has enforcement responsibility and must understand the source from which it obtains its authority to enforce those portions. Chapter 1 of NFPA 1 addresses the administrative and enforcement requirements of the Code. It covers the scope, purpose, and application of the Code. The authority and enforcement power given to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) are also covered. Included in the responsibilities of the AHJ are to determine violations of the Code and serve notice of the violations as well as determine the required penalty. So what happens when a facility violates the applicable requirements from NFPA 1? Whenever the Authority Having Jurisdiction determines violations of this Code, a written notice must be issued to confirm the violations. Any order or notice of violation issued is required to be served upon the owner, operator, occupant, registered agent, or other person responsible for the condition or violation by one of the following means: (1) Personal service (2) Mail to last known address of the owner, operator, or registered agent The mutilation, destruction, or removal of a posted order or violation notice without authorization by the AHJ is considered a separate violation of this Code and punishable by the penalties established by the AHJ. Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of this Code, fails to carry out an order made as stated in the Code, or violates any condition attached to a permit, approval, or certificate is subject to the penalties established by the AHJ.  Per NFPA 1, 2015 edition, where the AHJ establishes a separate penalty schedule, violations of this Code are subject to a $250.00 penalty. **New for the 2018 edition of NFPA 1 violations of this Code will be subject to a $100.00 penalty per day for each violation.** Failure to comply with the time limits of an order or notice of violation issued by the AHJ will result in each day that the violation continues being regarded as a separate offense and will be subject to a separate penalty.

NFPA 1: Fire Code requirements for haunted houses, #FireCodeFridays

Whether we are ready or not, fall is here in full force.  A common fixture in the fall is the haunted house. Large or small, permanent or temporary, professional or amateur, haunted houses are popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, haunted houses can cause nightmares for more than just those that attend.  Without the proper knowledge and understanding of the codes that apply, haunted houses can be a safety nightmare as well.  Per NFPA 1, Fire Code, a haunted house is considered a special amusement building.  By definition, a special amusement building is "a building that is temporary, permanent, or mobile and contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around, or over a course in any direction as a form of amusement arranged so that the egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or an intentionally confounded egress path, or is not readily available due to the mode of conveyance through the building or structure."  A special amusement building is an assembly occupancy regardless of occupant load. Haunted houses use special effects, scenery, props, and audio and visual distractions that may cause egress paths to become not obvious.  In haunted houses in particular, the presence of combustible materials and special scenery can also contribute to the fuel load should a fire occur.  Because of this, the Code requirements are purposely strict to in hopes of avoiding a disastrous fire event. Code provisions for special amusement buildings are found in Section 20.1.4 of NFPA 1.  The Code requirements for haunted houses are summarized below: Haunted houses must apply the provisions for assembly occupancies in addition to the provisions of Section 20.1.4. Automatic sprinklers are required for all haunted houses.  If the haunted house is considered moveable or portable, an approved temporary means is permitted to be used for water supply. Smoke detection is required throughout the haunted house where the nature it operates in reduced lighting and the actuation of any smoke detection device must sound an alarm at a constantly attended location on the premises. Actuation of sprinklers or any suppression systems, smoke detection system (having a cross zoning capability) must provide an increase in illumination of the means of egress and termination of other confusing visuals or sounds. Exit marking and floor proximity exit signs are required.  Where designs are such that the egress path is not apparent, additional directional exit marking is required. Interior wall and ceiling finish materials must be Class A throughout. Per Section 10.8.1, emergency action plans are required. Other requirements, not specific just to haunted houses or special amusement buildings may also apply: Permits (see Section 1.12) Seasonal buildings (see Section 10.12) Special outdoor events, fairs and carnivals (see Section 10.14) As we move into the Hallween and haunted house season, its easy to get caught up in the fun and overlook the safety issues that may arise.  Through the provisions in NFPA 1, which can assist code officials and fire departments enforce safe haunted houses, and NFPA's halloween resources for consumers, everyone can stay safe this season. You can follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. 
Connecticut home

Following statement from sprinkler opponent that "nobody is dying in new homes," child dies from fire in home built just months ago

​ The new home where a September fire killed a six year old. Photo: The Hartford Courant A six-year-old girl from Connecticut recently died in a fire in a home built only months ago. Her mother is in serious condition. The incident negates persistent claims made by fire sprinkler opponents that smoke alarms and other safety features “offer adequate protection from fire” and home fire sprinklers are not necessary since “today's fire deaths and injuries are happening in older homes.” Built by a local Habitat for Humanity chapter this year using lightweight construction materials and occupied by the family in July, the Connecticut home had at least one working smoke alarm, according to news reports. Moreover, had this home's construction followed requirements found in all U.S. model building codes—specifically, a requirement to sprinkler new dwellings that has appeared in every edition of these codes since 2009—it should have been sprinklered. Mirroring action occurring across North America, sprinkler opponents in Connecticut have made a convincing—and oftentimes inaccurate—pitch to state and local decision makers that have kept fire sprinklers out of new homes. “Nobody is dying in new homes from fires,” stated Bill Ethier, CEO of Connecticut's Home Builders and Remodelers Association, in a 2015 essay penned in response to proposed legislation to sprinkler the state's new homes. (His full essay is attached to this blog post.) “Sprinklers in new homes will not save the lives proponents claim. “[This technology] is an astronomical cost to save a life.” “This type of logic is misguided and infuriating,” says Jim Pauley, NFPA's president and CEO. “Time and again, our data proves the majority of America's fire deaths are occurring at home, old and new alike. Research also confirms that fire sprinklers are a cost-effective component to new homes that can eliminate these tragedies. They are the solution to our home fire problem. To assume that fire sprinkler requirements are merely an unwanted burden to homebuilders with minimal benefits to society places little value on the little girl who sadly passed away, the more than 2,500 others who die each year from home fires, and the thousands of others injured annually by these incidents.” Pauley is not alone in promoting safer homes in Connecticut and elsewhere. “You have an 80 percent rate of getting out of a house fire with smoke alarms and sprinklers and only a 50 percent chance with smoke alarms alone, so there's a big difference there,” Keith Flood, chair of the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, told a Connecticut news station following the recent fire. He is currently working with the coalition to secure home fire sprinkler requirements in his state. “Our opinion is that this may have been a different scenario if the house had sprinklers in it.” As a fire and life safety advocate, please make sure you're promoting home fire sprinklers at the scene of every home fire and at other events that attract the media's attention. It's easy to do—download NFPA's new document, “Tips on Communicating Home Fire Sprinklers to the Media.”​ (found under the heading "talking home fire sprinklers").

NFPA 1: Minimum Number of Fire Hydrants for Fire Flow #FireCodefridays

Section 18.5 of NFPA 1 provides requirements for fire hydrants, including location, distribution, minimum number, clearance, marking, and testing and maintenance. Section 18.5 was revised in its entirety for the 2015 edition of the Code. Previous editions provided a performance-based requirement that the number and type of fire hydrants and connections to other approved water supplies be capable of delivering the required fire flow and be provided at approved locations. The former Annex E was deleted for the 2015 edition of the Code; in its place, Section 18.5 was revised by the addition of prescriptive, mandatory requirements for fire hydrant location and distribution based on the required fire flow determined in accordance with Section 18.4. To determine the minimum number of fire hydrants for fire flow, the following provisions should be followed: The aggregate fire flow capacity of all fire hydrants within 1000 ft (305 m) of the building cannot be less than the required fire flow. Table provides the maximum fire flow capacity for which a fire hydrant can be credited. Example: Determine the number of required fire hydrants for a proposed, new manufacturing building with a fire area of 50,000 ft2 (4650 m2) and a construction classification of Type II(000) (noncombustible and unprotected). The building will be protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system with standard response sprinklers. Sample Solution: Test results indicate the theoretical available fire flow is 3500 gpm. Based on the procedures as outlined in Section 18.4, the required fire flow is approximately 1200 gpm. A designer chooses to locate one fire hydrant on the existing public water mains at a distance of 350 ft (107 m) from the building, which meets the maximum 400 ft (122 m) distance criterion of 18.5.3(1). Using Table, it is determined that a hydrant located 400 ft (122 m) from the building can be credited with not more than 1000 gpm (3785 L/min). Because this is less than the required fire flow of 1200 gpm (4500 L/min), one additional hydrant is required within 1000 ft (305 m) of the building. (Or the designer could choose to extend a private fire service main onto the property and locate a hydrant at a distance of not more than 250 ft (76 m) from the building.) In accordance with Table, such a hydrant would be permitted to be credited with up to 1500 gpm (5678 L/min), which exceeds the required fire flow of 1200 gpm (4500 L/min). If the designer chooses to add a second hydrant on the public main, they should be spaced so the distance between them does not exceed 500 ft (152 m) in accordance with 18.5.3. The AHJ should require an additional flow test following the installation of the new hydrant or hydrants to verify they are capable of delivering the required fire flow. A little over two weeks until the NFPA 1 Second Draft meeting, next week I will talk about issues the committee will be addressing in Milwaukee on October 3-4 (check out the agenda at You can follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. 

Looking for a compelling way to promote home fire sprinklers? Share this new whiteboard video

How do you get your home fire safety message out to the general public and makes sure it packs a punch?You can try carnival barker-type ads, screaming ads, or ads that mimic ones from car dealerships (no offense, Dad). Or you can try a fact-filled, technical ad that would only be appreciated by fire protection engineers (no offense, FPEs). One of my favorites is this video produced by the Fresno, California, Fire Department, which humorously compares fire sprinklers to an at-the ready firefighter:Missouri-based Virtual Media Group recently alerted us to a new way to spread the sprinkler message. They create “whiteboard” videos, which are hand-drawn illustrations with audio. We recently worked with them to create a residential high-rise public service announcements on fire sprinklers. Since we were pleased with the outcome, we asked them to create one for home fire sprinklers.The idea was to let the company use their creative talents to highlight the fire sprinkler message without tainting their creative process. That was the hard part —allowing them to look at the problem in their own way. At the beginning of the project, we filled out forms listing our objectives and provided facts on today's home fires. I feel that we came pretty close to allowing them free reign while at the same time making slight changes that underscore the reality of fires and the fire service culture.Though we initially created a version of the video for the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, we decided to also create something more generic for use by all safety advocates and state sprinkler coalitions. (If you'd like a version of this video with your state coalition logo, contact NFPA.)We want to help you with your efforts to educate the general public! Please help promote the following video--place on social media (if you're logged into Xchange, use the social media buttons below) and share with all of your contacts and anyone that could use some sprinkler education.This post was written by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and government policymakers on home fire sprinklers. Lia regularly offers his perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.  
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