Topic: Emergency Response

NFPA's Andrew Klock on Fox

Electric Vehicles in the (Fox News) Spotlight

A Fox News Spotlight on America investigative piece recently zeroed in on the challenges that firefighters face when responding to incidents involving electric vehicles (EVs). The months long Fox News investigation looked at related challenges and featured, in part, footage from a Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute training session, references to a recent National Transportation Safety Bureau NTSB) report on EV safety, and NFPA perspective and resources. The coverage comes at a time when we are seeing an uptick in EV offerings, communities offering sustainable solutions incentives, and the current administration embracing green technologies. But although we know that EVs and other innovations are great for the environment, we can’t lose sight of the fact that new technologies often present a learning curve for first responders. Hence, the reason for the Fox story which included outreach to more than 30 fire departments in the US to see if first responders were trained on potential hazards and response tactics. Only one-third of the departments contacted responded to confirm that they, in fact, have conducted EV response training. “Unlike gasoline, which can be drained from a vehicle’s tank, there are no surefire methods of removing energy from a car’s lithium-ion battery when the battery has been damaged in a crash. Because of this, energy remains trapped inside the battery and a process known as thermal runaway can occur, in which the battery essentially continuously overheats and over-pressurizes and is prone to fires, arc-flashing, off-gassing, and sometimes explosions,” NFPA Journal’s Angelo Verzoni wrote in a recent EV story. NFPA has been developing and promoting EV tools for the fire service and others for more than a decade and as such was an obvious interview choice for the Spotlight story. Andrew Klock, emerging issues lead manager at NFPA, pointed out to the investigative team that firefighters have been responding to automobile fires for more than 100 years and that EV response requires a paradigm shift for first responders. Stressing that EVs are not more dangerous than gas-fueled cars but present unique considerations, Klock said that the ultimate responsibility to skill up on new technologies and risks falls on local fire departments. Klock explained that departments are already pressed for time when it comes to emerging issues and new technologies. "When they train, they're not putting out fires, they're not on the trucks. So, it's a real challenge to backfill when you're doing in-person training, which is why we feel like online training is a much better way to go," Klock commented. “But it’s really up to the individual fire departments to say this is something that's coming. This is an emerging technology that we need to get a handle on." Leading fire authorities and federal agencies agree that responders need to be trained on EV safety and have been working to raise awareness and to drive change. Last week, the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI) passed a resolution that supports federal legislation, as well as funding and policies that educate responders and promote the use and enforcement of the most current consensus-based codes and standards that address new technologies such as EVs. The NTSB has also been promoting a report entitled, “Safety Risks to Emergency Responders from Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Electric Vehicles” based on their findings from crash investigations. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have recognized the critical need for keeping pace with progress, too, and have awarded NFPA funds to develop responder training, research, and resources so that communities have convenient access to training and tools. Fire departments can take advantage of all these resources in the interest of responder safety and the well-being of citizens. Learn more about NFPA EV resources at  www.nfpa.org/ev.
Items on a desk

Fire Protection Research Foundation 2021 Semi-Annual Activity Summary

Have you missed what’s been going on at the Fire Protection Research Foundation? Learn about our new projects on Alarm Technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Population, Phase II of Oxygen Reduction Systems for Warehouse Storage Applications, the Economic Impact of Fire Protection and more. Catch up on our nine recently completed research reports and project summaries ranging from the FF Breathing Air Replenishment Systems Report to workshop proceedings on preparing for disasters and advancing WUI resiliency. If you missed out on any of several articles on exciting FPRF projects, please check out the podcast on Cybersecurity in Building Systems, watch the Learn Something New video about what you may not know about carbon monoxide poisoning and alarms, or catch up on one of our past five webinars on building, life safety and suppression topics. Upcoming events include a webinar on Traditional and Particulate-Blocking Hoods on August 4th, 12:30-2pm, and the SUPDET/AUBE conference to be held September 21-23 in Germany which provides updates on the latest research and applications for suppression (i.e. ”SUP”) and detection (i.e.“DET”) systems. (In person and virtual attendance options are available). For the complete list of current FPRF projects, visit here. The latest information and knowledge from the Foundation is provided here, at a glance: 2021 Q1 & Q2 Completed Projects New Projects initiated in 2021 Variables impacting the probability and severity of Dust Explosions in Dust Collectors Carbon Monoxide Detection and Alarm Requirements Public Safety sUAS Compliance Training Workshop Proceedings NFPA 1700, Guide for Structural Fire Fighting Online Training Preparing for Disaster: Workshop on Advancing WUI Resilience Analysis of Firefighting Breathing Air Replenishment Systems Fireground Exposures of Firefighters: A Literature Review Fire Safety in the US since 1980 (Advisory Service) ITM Data Exchange Workshop Proceedings   Impact of Medications on Older Adult Fall and Fire Risk - Remembering When Revisited Oxygen Reduction Systems for Warehouse Storage Applications- Phase II Review of Alarm Technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Population CaReDeX: Enabling Disaster Resilience in Aging Communities via a Secure Data Exchange Static Electricity Incident Review Fires in Animal Housing Facilities Economic Impact of Fire Protection   Featured publications from 2021 Q1 & Q2 (representative sample) NFPA Journal – Disrupting the Flow on FPRF “Impact of Obstructions on ESFR Sprinklers” research program. NFPA Journal – Building Cybersecurity “Weak Spots” on FPRF “Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems” project. NFPA Journal – A Better Fit on “Female Firefighter PPE” project with Florida State University. NFPA Journal – General Negligence on FPRF “Carbon Monoxide Detection and Alarm Requirements” project. NFPA Journal Column – Green Questions on FPRF “Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings” project. Fire Technology – Fire Hazard Analysis of Modern Vehicles in Parking Facilities. SFPE Fire Protection Engineering Magazine – Modern Vehicle Fire Hazards. Safety Science – The simulation of wildland-urban interface fire evacuation: The WUI-NITY platform. UK Fire Magazine – Evidence-based recommendations for structural firefighting now available in NFPA 1700. International Fire Protection – on “Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Garages” research. Healthcare Facility Management (HFM) – “Cybersecurity and Fire Protection – Is your system a pathway for internet attacks?” NFPA Journal – A New Approach to ITM on FPRF “ITM Data Exchange” research project. NFPA Journal – Happy Camper? on FPRF “Damage and Loss Assessment of Recreational Vehicles” report. NFPA Journal ‘In Compliance’ – Protecting against the ‘Silent Killer’: Carbon Monoxide Requirements in the Life Safety Code on FPRF “CO Detection and Alarm Requirements: Literature Review” study. NFPA Journal – Battered Batteries on FPRF work on Electric Vehicles Industrial Fire World – Fluorine Free Foam (F3) Research Highlights Major Deficiencieson FPRF Fluorine-Free Foam work. Multi-media Podcast – Cybersecurity in Building Systems- Interview with Tyler Robinson from FPRF Technical Panel for “Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems” project. Podcast – A Better Fit – Interview with Meredith McQuerry, lead researcher from Florida State University, regarding a FRPF Advisory Service Project onthe design and fit of “Female Firefighter PPE”. Podcast - The Evolving Science of Firefighting – Dan Madrzykowski and Stephen Kerber, UL FSRI, discuss findings of their extensive research and how this knowledge has been collected and distilled into NFPA 1700. Podcast – Fires and Recreational Vehicles - Interview with Doug Mulvaney from Campgrounds of America Video – Learn Something New “What you didn’t know about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Alarms” Video –Key findings of the “Damage and Loss Assessment of Recreational Vehicles” report. Video – Learn Something New “The Modern US Fire Problem” on the “Fire Safety in the US” project. 2021 Q1 & Q2 webinar update Upcoming Webinars FPRF Webinar: Traditional and Particulate-Blocking Hoods: Pros, Cons, and Trade-Offs, on August 4th, 12:30-2pm ET. Register here. FPRF Webinar Panel Discussion: Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems in September 2021 (Date – TBD) from 12:30 – 2:00 pm ET. Other news FPRF launched a new paid “Energy Storage Research Consortium” to support research planning and implementation of projects to fill data gaps for emerging technologies. Email research@nfpa.org for more information. SUPDET/AUBE 2021, The Research Foundation’s Annual “Suppression, Detection, Signaling and Applications” Conference in collaboration with the University of Duisburg-Essen’s AUBE Conference, will be held September 21 – 23, 2021 in Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany. In-person and virtual attendance options are available. Register here. 2021 Foundation Medal was awarded to: Evaluation of fire protection effectiveness of fluorine free firefighting foams project by Jensen Hughes & Naval Research Laboratory. Holistic Protection Method of Top-Loading Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (January 27). Access the webinar here. Obstructions and Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinklers (February 10). Access the webinar here. Combustible Gas Dispersion and Detector Location Analysis in Residential Occupancies (March 10). Access the webinar here. FPRF Webinar: “Fire Safety Challenges of Green Building and Attributes” on April 14, 2021. Access the webinar recording here. FPRF Webinar: “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses” on June 29, 2021. Access the webinar recording here. Check out our quarterly newsletter, available at www.nfpa.org/foundation, to stay up to date on the latest information, knowledge, and events from the Foundation.
Testing and maintenance

Research Foundation workshop proceedings and webinar recording on “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses” is now available

Fire protection systems are an essential part of a building’s safety ecosystem. The installation of such systems is just the beginning of a more dynamic safety process that requires diligent inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) efforts. ITM plays a significant, fundamental role in managing facility risks, and ensures that systems will activate as intended, when needed, and ultimately minimize downtime — because down time equates to accumulated risk. There are nearly 70 NFPA codes and standards requiring some form of ITM. In recent years, there has been interest in using inspection, testing, and maintenance activity data to inform decisions related to system reliability, risk acceptability, and ITM frequencies. These data are being captured in thousands of different formats, through hundreds of different approaches, and by thousands of different groups, but one key element has been lacking to date - standardization. This void has restricted the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies and prevents stakeholders from exchanging and analyzing data that can influence safety and efficiencies. To address this need, a novel approach to standardizing ITM data using concepts of linked data and graph-modeling was pilot tested through a Fire Protection Research Foundation project. The project developed a proof-of-concept comprehensive, scalable, and extensible ITM data exchange model that can facilitate data sharing from diverse data sources to support reliability analyses and predictive analytics. Guided by the concepts of fair data principles, this case study demonstrated how graph-modeling and other cutting-edge techniques are being leveraged to collect and consolidate data to enable further analysis, reporting, and sharing of ITM data for the needs of various stakeholder groups. Earlier in January 2021, the FPRF hosted a workshop with various stakeholders including AHJ’s, facility managers, building owners, fire protection contractors, inspectors, fire protection engineers or consultants, codes & standards representatives, fire protection manufacturers, insurers, data solution providers and other relevant stakeholders. The primary objectives of this workshop were to: Review the developed ITM Data Exchange model and the supporting material and provide a forum for stakeholders to provide feedback on the developed model and analytics dashboard. The workshop also touched on aspects such as how to move this concept forward as a community, how to develop and implement a community review and update process, and how to leverage this data model to share and exchange data to support analyses for the benefit of the fire protection community. The outcomes from this workshop are summarized in the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance (ITM) Data Exchange Model Workshop Proceedings, which are now accessible on the FPRF website. The Foundation also presented this ITM data exchange model as a webinar on June 29, 2021, as a part of their 2021 webinar series. If you missed attending the webinar live, the webinar recording is now available for viewing here. Visit www.nfpa.org/webinars for more upcoming NFPA and FPRF webinars and archives.

Congressional Fire Service approves resolution calling for electric vehicle, energy storage system, and flammable refrigerants training and resources

A resolution proposed by NFPA and others regarding emerging technologies, such as electrical vehicles (EVs), received unanimous approval during a Congressional Fire Services Institute Board (CFSI) National Advisory Committee. The CFSI resolution supports federal legislation, as well as funding and policies that educate responders and promote the use and enforcement of the most current consensus-based codes and standards that address new technologies. Put forth by NFPA, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and the International Code Council (ICC), the resolution explains that, by every measure, technology is changing and improving at the fastest rate in history. It stresses the importance of educating and equipping first responders so that they can safely and successfully deal with potential challenges, and references support and strategies from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The resolution zeroes in on: EVs, hybrid, propane, hydrogen fuel cell, and natural gas vehicles Distributed energy systems including microgrids, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy storage systems (ESS) Environmentally friendly refrigerants that have a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) but can pose flammability and toxicity risks when involved in fire events The Biden Administration has a progressive sustainability agenda and tragic incidents involving EVs and ESS have caught the attention of the press, public, and policy makers recently. NFPA has been developing emerging technologies training, resources, and research for the nation’s 1.1 million career and volunteer firefighters for more than a decade, in the interest of safety. But, as the resolution points out, only 20 percent of the firefighters in the US have participated in available EV and ESS training to date (let alone newer training related to lesser-known flammable refrigerant hazards). Fire departments train on a frequent basis, usually in-house, and will find helpful online training solutions, research, codes, and standards, and more on the following microsites: www.nfpa.org/ev www.nfpa.org/ess www.nfpa.org/refrigerants We can’t let innovation outpace safety. That is why NFPA is continuously looking at what’s next. Last fall, the Association received a DOE award entitled, “NFPA Spurs the Safe Adoption of Electric Vehicles through Education and Outreach” and is currently working on a three-year effort with the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office’s Clean Cities Coalitions (CCC) network. The project goes beyond first responders and will help communities evaluate their EV infrastructure, training programs, incentives, and code compliance readiness, and will provide guidance for formulating plans that will raise awareness and speed the safe adoption of EVs across the country.  A second DOE award will result in an NFPA Distributed Energy Resources Safety Training program and allow NFPA to update its current EV Safety classroom training for the fire service and develop an online immersive simulation for distributed energy resources including EVs, charging stations, ESS, and solar systems.
Craig 1300 NFPA

NFPA officially launches CRAIG 1300™, an all-new Community Risk Assessment Insight Generator that helps identify, assess, and mitigate public safety risks

 This week, NFPA announced the official launch of CRAIG 1300™, an innovative community risk assessment (CRA) dashboard powered by mySidewalk, a leading technology company that specializes in community data. CRAIG 1300 helps fire departments and safety officials collect community data, enabling them to identify, assess and share local demographic, geographic and economic needs. Community risk reduction (CRR) has continued to gain recognition in recent years as an effective approach to mitigating community risks; conducting a CRA that utilizes community data is a critical first step in the CRR process. CRAIG 1300 was developed to give fire departments, prevention advocates, and safety officials the tools and data resources to successfully execute these efforts. Uniquely aligned with NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, CRAIG 1300 features a user-friendly dashboard with customized maps, graphs, and charts. Community leaders can use CRAIG 1300 to: Learn about the people, places, and conditions that are at-risk in the community. Shave months of human resources typically needed for data analysis and refocus resources on CRR plan development to drive enhanced community safety.     Activate teams in the development and management of CRR initiatives informed by NFPA 1300 with regularly updated data sources. Engage stakeholders, grantors, and partners in cross-community initiatives with easy-to-use visualization tools. Communicate the effectiveness of initiatives with stakeholders, grantors, and partners. Over the past two years, NFPA has worked in collaboration with mySidewalk and more than 300 communities who pilot-tested the digital platform, providing insights that helped maximize its usability and value. CRAIG 1300 is available as a product suite with three dashboard options: CRAIG 1300 PRO, CRAIG 1300 PLUS, and CRAIG 1300 FLEX. To learn more about CRAIG 1300 and its offerings, visit www.nfpa.org/CRAIG1300. Follow NFPA’s CRR efforts on social media using #itstartswithinsights.
Fire truck responding to a call

Research shows progress and problems since "America Burning"

"The striking aspect of the Nation’s fire problem is the indifference with which Americans confront the subject. Destructive fire takes a huge toll in lives, injuries, and property losses, yet there is no need to accept those losses with resignation. There are many measures--often very simple precautions-that can be taken to reduce those losses significantly.” Nearly 50 years ago, these salient words were reflected in the opening pages of America Burning, the historic report written in 1973 and revisited in 1980. Over the decades since the landmark account was published, I have heard countless people cite America Burning findings, point to the recommendations within, and talk about what the findings did for fire protection, fire prevention, and responder safety. I whole-heartedly agree that America Burning was a groundbreaking tool in our arsenal and yet, today, in arguably the most advanced nation in the world – nearly 3,000 people still succumb to house fires, not to mention in other occupancies. On the same page of that report, the authors wrote, “These statistics are impressive in their size, though perhaps not scary enough to jar the average American from his confidence that “It will never happen to me.” And therein lies the problem. Complacency. It’s a killer of people, of property, of perspective, and of progress. But as has often been said, knowledge is power. NFPA has spent the last 125 years, believing this tenet to be true and furthering understanding in the interest of safety. Our vision of eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards is not merely a cliché, it is at the core of everything we do, everything that the America Burning report touched on back in the 70s and 80s, and served as the impetus for a new seminal report from NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation, our research affiliate. The Fire in the United States Since 1980, Through the Lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem Report shows the progress we have achieved in reducing loss in certain structures; the strides we’ve made with fire protection technologies such as smoke alarms and sprinklers; the success that we have achieved through public education; and the positive effect that mandated codes and standards have played in altering the fire experience in our country. Today, we rarely see people perish in healthcare settings or hotels. Children are less likely to die from playing with fire. Fires in apartment buildings and hi-rise buildings have decreased. Our schools and the children, educators, and staff that occupy them are significantly safer. These are all positives that, in many ways, point to the components of the Ecosystem that we have been talking about for three years now. Yes, at NFPA, we look at safety through the lens of the Ecosystem – not because we developed this framework a few years back but - because after more than a century of championing safety, two America Burning studies and this new research from NFPA – it is abundantly clear that fire safety requires a holistic, purposeful approach, and unwavering accountability. That holistic, purposeful approach and unwavering accountability is what it’s going to take for us to move the needle on the most pressing fire safety issues of today. The new research reminds us: We need all the elements of the Ecosystem working together on Community Risk Reduction (CRR) strategies so that we can decrease the number of elderly dying in home fires. With roughly one of every three fatal home fire victims being 65 or older, more research and resources are needed to protect our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why our Data, Analytics and Research team and the Research Foundation work to inform our Remembering When program which educates communities on older adult fire and fall prevention. States with higher fire death rates have larger percentages of people who have a disability; have incomes below the poverty line; live in rural areas; or are populated by African Americans, Blacks, Native Americans, or Alaskan Natives. There is more work to do to reach those at greatest risk. We must stem the trend of wildfire-caused human and property losses. Wildfire is becoming the dominant type of fire that causes catastrophic multiple deaths and property destruction in our country. In fact, 7 of the 10 costliest fires in the US were fires in the wildland/urban interface. We launched our new Outthink Wildfire™ policy campaign to advocate change around where and how we build and to bring together policy-makers, the fire service, and the public to work with all elements of the Ecosystem, so that we can redraft history and change the narrative. “Each one of us must become aware – not for a single time, but for all the year – of what he or she can do to prevent fires,” President Richard Nixon said in 1972. (The quote can be heard in the latest NFPA Learn Something New video about the new research.)   I urge you to use the knowledge in this new report to power your fire prevention and protection steps so, together, we can rewrite history.
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