Topic: Emergency Response

Sprinkler head

USFA Helps Educate the Public about the Importance of Home Fire Sprinklers

Home fire sprinklers are crucial in fire prevention. They help slow or even stop a fire before firefighters arrive at the scene. In most cases, this reduces a significant amount of property damage and saves lives. For the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and United States Fire Administration (USFA), their goal is to have home fire sprinklers installed in as many homes as possible. Bruce Bouch, a fire program specialist with the USFA sat down with HFSC president, Lorraine Carli, to talk more about this subject as a part of a video series created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HFSC. Bouch mentions early in the interview that fire sprinklers are extremely important to the USFA. “It is the position of the USFA that all citizens should be protected against death, injury, and property loss resulting from fire in their homes,” he said While home fire sprinklers can help prevent injuries and deaths among the public, they also greatly serve the health of firefighters. Today: Firefighters are 11 times more likely to be injured fighting structure fires 67 percent of firefighter’s injuries are from fighting structure fires Firefighters face a 9percent increase in cancer diagnosis. Firefighters also face a 14 percent increase in cancer related deaths compared to the general US population Bouch said that “Firefighters are put into these very dangerous, unfamiliar situations. They don’t know the layout of that home. They don’t know the layout of that building. So, they are significantly at risk when they enter a house that is fully involved.” According to Bouch, home fire sprinklers greatly reduce the risks they must take by helping stop a fire before it starts[A1]. Bouch also talks about the USFA’s “Fire is Everyone’s Fight” initiative. “It is everyone’s responsibility in one form or another to prevent a fire to begin with,” he said. The mission is to unite the fire service, life safety organizations, and the public to help reduce home fire injuries, deaths, and property loss by changing how people think about fire and fire prevention. Towards the end of the video, Bouch mentions that there are tons of fire prevention resources and information available to the public on the USFA website. Listen to the full interview with Bouch and Carli to learn more about the efforts the USFA and HFSC are taking to have as many home fire sprinklers installed as possible. If you missed any of the previous interviews, including Carli’s most recent discussion with Jon Narva, the National Association of State Fire Marshals’ Director of External Relations, check out the full video series on HFSC’s website.  

In Support of Fire Prevention Week, NFPA and Domino’s Kick Off Annual Smoke Alarm Safety program with the Flint Fire Department

For the 14th year in a row, NFPA teamed up with Domino’s to kick off our joint Fire Prevention Week™ program promoting the importance of smoke alarms and fire safety. This year, approximately 40 first graders from Eisenhower Elementary School were invited to the Flint Fire Department, where they learned about the messages behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety™.” The students were also treated to a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog® and a pizza party. As always, a huge thanks to the Flint Fire Department for all their help and enthusiasm in support of this annual program and helping make it a true success. And thank you to all the local Domino's and fire departments that team up each year to bring the campaign to life in their communities. Continued participation in the program is a testament to its fun, engaging approach to educating residents about smoke alarm safety. We truly appreciate everyone’s support! Here's how Domino's Fire Prevention Week program works: Customers who place an order from participating Domino's stores during Fire Prevention Week, October 3-9, are randomly selected to receive their delivery from the local fire department, who will conduct a smoke alarm check in the customer's home. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the delivery is free. If they're not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install fully functioning alarms. To learn more about this program, visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Outreach/Partners-in-safety/Dominos
San Antonio Fire Department

San Antonio Fire Department hosts event recognizing State Farm for Fire Prevention Week donation

State Farm has been a strong supporter of Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW™) for the past five years through their Good Neighbor grant program. In San Antonio, TX, local State Farm agents donated 20 FPW kits to the San Antonio Fire Department and 10 Sparky educator kits to local schools. Earlier this week in thanks to these donations, the San Antonio Fire Department hosted an event to celebrate FPW and recognize State Farm’s generosity.San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood hosted the event in coordination with Dan Ater of State Farm; Andrea Vastis, senior director of public education at NFPA; Albert Betts, executive director of the Insurance Council of Texas; and Miss Texas USA’s Victoria Hinojosa, who helped officially kick off Fire Prevention Week in the city of San Antonio. Chief Hood, who is also a board member of the National Fallen Fire Fighters Association (NFFF), remarked that while Fire Prevention Week happens once a year, fire and burn prevention education happens all year long, due to the collaborative efforts of the fire department with their community partners.   Overall, State Farm donated 3,500 FPW kits and 1,500 Sparky the Fire Dog® educator kits to thousands of fire departments and school systems nationwide in support of this year’s campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety™.” Each FPW toolkit includes a host of resources for promoting the campaign’s messages, including brochures, magnets, posters, activity booklets and more that fire departments can distribute at schools, open houses, and other community events. The Sparky educator kits, which include an educator edition of The Story of Sparky, a Sparky stuffed doll, and 30 individual books for students; these resources help teach children about fire safety through Sparky’s start as the official NFPA mascot. For more information about this year’s Fire Prevention Week efforts, visit https://www.nfpa.org/fpw
Firefighters

NFPA Hosts the Urban Fire Forum

NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley welcomed fire chiefs from Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States at the Urban Fire Forum (UFF) last week at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, Mass. At the UFF, Pauley provided an overview of the association’s mission, reinforcing the critical role urban fire service leaders play in reaching the Association’s goals and initiatives. Special guests included Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council of the United Kingdom, CFO Mark Hardingham; United Kingdom Chief Inspector Crown Premises Fire Safety CFO Peter Holland; Chief Tonya Hoover, administrator of the United States Fire Administration (Acting); International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) CEO and Executive Director Chief Rob Brown; and Chief Stephan Wevers, president of the Netherlands Fire Service and Federation of the European Fire Officer Associations. Chiefs Hoover, Holland, Hardingham, and Wevers participated virtually. The Urban Fire Forum brings together fire chiefs who are responsible for protecting some of the largest urban centers in the world. The program objectives are to provide the chiefs an opportunity to learn from their peers and expert speakers, and for NFPA to stay abreast of current trends and needs in the fire service. As part of the overall mission of the UFF, chief officers share UFF deliverables and related information with fire officers from all over the world. The group endorsed four important documents as official UFF-Metro Chiefs position papers: Data and the Modernization of the Fire Service COVID Long Haulers – What Chiefs Need to Know Intelligence on Homegrown Violent Extremist – Domestic Terrorism Effect of Crew Size on Fire Fighter Health and Safety The topics largely discussed during the Forum were the particular timeliness of the COVID Long Haulers and Effect of Crew Size on Fire Fighter Health and Safety. However, other important topics, such as the National Firefighter [Cancer] Registry, the Digitization of the Fire Service, Outthink Wildfire, Preparedness for Domestic Terrorism, and the latest research reports from the Fire Protection Research Foundation, FM Global, and UL Fire Safety Research Institute were also brought up. The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career firefighters. For more information, contact Metro Executive Secretary, Russ Sanders. The presentations and deliverables for all Urban Fire Forum’s since 2013 can be viewed on the NFPA Urban Fire Forum website.
PPE 1971

NFPA releases Standards Council TIA decision on NFPA 1971

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog explaining how individuals could get involved in the conversation about NFPA standards and firefighter PPE.  That blog provides a good overview for reference, and this piece provides new developments related to one particular standard - NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, 2018 Edition. A recent NFPA Standards Council decision relating to NFPA 1971 has been partially referenced in many areas of social media and publications. Throughout the processing of the Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA), several serious safety concerns were raised by firefighters and others on both sides of the technical issue. Ultimately, the NFPA Standards Council determined that the balanced consensus Technical Committee (TC) and the current Task Group working on this issue were the best place to determine a proposed technical solution that provided the vital lifesaving performance requirements of PPE and the moisture barrier while at the same time addressing health risks to first responders.  NFPA Standards Council Decision The NFPA Standards Council voted on August 26, 2021, to deny an appeal requesting that the Council overturn the TC ballot results and issue TIA (No. 1594 on NFPA 1971 (2018 edition). The TIA was seeking to remove an ultra-violet (UV) light degradation test applicable to firefighter turnout gear. The appellant asserts that requiring this test causes the use of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the moisture barriers of turnout gear.  TIA No. 1594 was balloted through the Technical Committee on Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting Protective Clothing and Equipment and the Correlating Committee (CC) on Fire and Emergency Services Protective Clothing and Equipment in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards (Regs) to determine whether the necessary three-fourths majority support was achieved for recommendation of issuance. The TIA failed to achieve the necessary support of the TC on both technical merit and emergency nature, as well as failed to achieve the necessary support of the CC on both correlation and emergency nature. When a TIA fails to achieve the recommendation of the responsible committee, the resulting recommendation of the standards development process is to not issue the TIA. On appeal, the Council accords great respect and deference to the NFPA standards development process. In conducting its review, the Council will overturn the results of that process only where a clear and substantial basis for doing so is demonstrated.  The Council found no such basis demonstrated in this matter. Here are a few key points from the decision: As stated above, the TIA failed on all levels, including the Technical Committee and the Correlating Committee. From the decision, “The TIA failed to achieve the necessary support of the TC [technical committee] on both technical merit and emergency nature, as well as failed to achieve the necessary support of the CC [correlating committee] on both correlation and emergency nature.” This is not a simple issue. The moisture barrier provides significant protection to firefighters from various threats, and if this test is eliminated the Committee’s position was that it was not known technically what other impacts there may be on firefighter protection. From the decision, “This TIA seeks to remove an ultra-violet (UV) light degradation test applicable to firefighter turnout gear. The appellant asserts that requiring this test causes the use of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the moisture barriers of turnout gear. Appellant expressed serious concern for health consequences to firefighters with continued use of PFAS in the moisture barrier.  Opponents to the TIA agree that PFAS should be removed or limited where possible, but express concern that removing this test without understanding of how removal will affect the moisture barrier could inherently be a serious risk to firefighter safety given the barrier is a primary protection from water and other common liquids, including chemicals and bloodborne pathogens encountered.”  The Technical Committee Chair formed a Task Group to address this topic in June 2021. The Council believes that the Task Group and the Technical Committee are in the best position (since they are the experts) to determine the best solution. From the decision, “The TC chair formed a Task Group in June 2021 to address this issue (and evaluate other issues related to hazardous substances). The Task Group membership includes topical experts, such as the appellant (IAFF), a representative from a nationally recognized testing lab, a turn-out gear manufacturer, and representatives from fire departments, among others. For these reasons, Council finds that the Task Group is in the best position to consider all technical and scientific information and to make an informed recommendation for the responsible TC’s consideration.”  The Council indicated that this is an important issue and urged the Task Group to continue its work. From the decision, “The Council notes that all parties in favor and against this appeal agreed that the TIA raises timely, important issues therefore the Council directs that the progressing Task Group work on this issue be expedited.  Additionally, the Council encourages the Task Group to submit a TIA for processing to the current edition and in parallel to the work being done within the next edition of the standard, if appropriate.” Background on NFPA Standards Process and NFPA 1971 NFPA does not write the standards. NFPA facilitates the development process for more than 300 different standards, including 114 that are fire-service-related. Technical Committees comprised of subject matter experts employ a transparent process that has relied upon diverse participation for 125 years. NFPA standards are typically updated every 3 to 5 years. NFPA standards do not specify or require the use of any particular materials, chemicals, or treatments for PPE. Those decisions are up to the manufacturer. NFPA 1971 specifies the minimum design, performance, testing and certification requirements for structural and proximity firefighting turnout gear including coats, trousers, coveralls, helmets, gloves, footwear, and interface components. The standard safeguards firefighting personnel by establishing minimum levels of protection from thermal, physical, environmental, and blood-borne pathogen hazards encountered during firefighting operations. NFPA 1971 does not, however, dictate what materials are used or how the manufacturer complies with the performance requirements of the standard.   Next Steps When the Task Group was established in June 2021, they were asked to submit their recommendations as public input on the next edition of the standard, which must be received by Nov 10, 2021. However, it is possible that the Task Group will continue to work beyond this date to complete or refine their recommendations. If a new consensus position is not reached in the First Draft stage, changes can still be considered in later stages (pending certain circumstances exist) or be adopted through a TIA, should one be filed. Public input to the next edition of the standard (which will be a consolidated standard as NFPA 1970) closes on November 10, 2021. Anyone (except NFPA staff) can propose a change to the standard by going online and suggesting specific wording and providing a rationale. NFPA anticipates that the First Draft Reports will be posted for public comment in the fall of 2022. The latest information on this standard can be found at nfpa.org/1970next.
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