NFPA Today

A man looking at plans

An Open Letter to the Electrical Inspection Community

Many of you in this community are aware of the recent announcement by IAEI (International Association of Electrical Inspectors) to create a partnership/alliance with the ICC (International Code Council). Since making that announcement, NFPA has received numerous questions and inquiries from stakeholders in the electrical inspection arena as to what that means for the long-time relationship between NFPA and IAEI. We believe that it is important to be transparent about what the future path looks like from our perspective.  First, it is critical to understand that NFPA believes that a strong electrical inspection system serves a vital role in safety and is in fact a critical part of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem. A voice of the electrical inspection community that is focused exclusively on the role that inspection plays while carrying both policy and technical viewpoints, unincumbered by other interests, is vital to safety.  Over many decades, NFPA has supported IAEI as the organization for that unique voice. This support has been across a wide spectrum including donating $100,000 for the renovation of the IAEI headquarters, licensing of NFPA intellectual property for IAEI publications at no charge to IAEI, providing thousands of print copies of the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) (more than $500K worth for the 2020 NEC alone) which IAEI, in turn, used as a membership benefit, and providing trainings and an active presence at IAEI Chapter and Section meetings. Despite all the additional support, IAEI (as stated in their own words) is still faced with declining membership and declining revenue. IAEI initiated a “Request for Proposal” process a few months ago. We were pleased to present a response that we believed would: best address the revenue and cost related pressures that IAEI was feeling, provide a path forward where the brand of IAEI as the strong voice for the inspector could be maintained, and provide IAEI Chapters with a good deal of autonomy through a more localized membership model and where the Chapters could provide locally focused training – both of which could be used to generate revenue at the Chapter level. In the end, our approach was not selected, and we very much understand it is the prerogative of IAEI leadership to make the decision they felt most appropriate for IAEI. This decision, however, focuses IAEI in a direction that is less in-line with it being uniquely and singularly focused on electrical inspection. For NFPA moving forward, this means we need to adjust to ensure that those focused on performing electrical inspections have a direct connection to us and are able to bring that sole focus forward. NFPA is at the core of the electrical industry through our commitment to electrical safety and through our development of the National Electrical Code.  In order to provide a community for the electrical inspector and ensure that critical perspective is heard, NFPA will consider a number of actions including the acceleration of efforts to grow, and devote essential resources to, the NFPA Electrical Inspector Section that was established in 2018. The Electrical Inspector Section can be a place where the electrical inspection community has their own unique voice and will be a source from which to draw additional participants for the electrical code development process representing the enforcer community. We will also look to offer ways for locally-formed chapters to affiliate with NFPA in some way. If you are already a member of the NFPA, you can check out the Electrical Inspectors Section membership on our website. If you are not an NFPA member, look for future announcements on a special program tailored to your needs. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments for us as we move forward with this effort to ensure a strong voice for electrical enforcers reach out by emailing us. Your voice matters. We look forward to working with you and continuing to deliver value to the enforcer community as we have for many years.
Suppression system

NFPA and industry experts to cover the latest in sprinklers, ITM, fire alarms, elevators, standpipes, and more on November 16

Did you happen to make a 2021 goal to skill up and learn more about fire protection systems, storage solutions, and suppression methods? Well, there’s still time to check the box, learn from some of the best in the business, and enhance your career. On Tuesday, November 16, NFPA staff and industry experts will delve into the world of sprinklers, ITM, fire alarms, elevators, standpipes, hose systems, water-based fire protection, storage solutions, and changes coming to the 2022 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The one-day learning forum is part of the 125th NFPA Anniversary Conference Series. The Keeping You Informed: Systems, Storage, Suppression, and More program, which can be attended that day or viewed anytime in the next year via on-demand, will feature 10 educational sessions and industry roundtable discussions, as well as networking, live chat opportunities, and sponsor demonstrations – all from the convenience of your home or office. Here are the scheduled sessions (detailed description and presenter information can be found here): NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems — An Interactive Evaluation of Inspection and Test Results Developing a Code-Compliant Fire Alarm ITM Program for Health Care NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code® (2019): Test Your Knowledge The Importance of Water Supply Assessment in the Era of Aging Infrastructure ·on an ITM Data Analysis NFPA 13 New ESFR Sprinkler Obstruction Code Changes and Obstruction Analysis Tool Holistic Protection Method of Top-Load Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems Elevator Fire Protection—Complying with NFPA 13, NFPA 72, and the Elevator Code Practical Application of NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems (2019) Industry Roundtable: NFPA 13 (2022)—What to Expect in the New Edition Not only will registrants glean best practices and new insights, and get a glimpse at what’s on the horizon, they can take advantage of a $98 BOGO offer by using the code EARLYBIRD125 before November 2. It’s an affordable and forward-thinking way to achieve professional development objectives. What’s more, you can earn up to CEU credit hours. Keeping You Informed: Systems, Storage, Suppression, and More on November 16 will help you finish the year strong and begin 2022 with new information and insights.

Fire Break

Man raking

It's time to start working on your 2021 renewal application!

Did you know that being recognized by the Firewise USA® program requires annual commitment to action? Each year, participating communities engage in educational outreach and science-based risk reduction within their boundaries. This annual work improves the overall condition of homes and properties, increasing the odds of withstanding a wildfire.  Firewise USA sites share the work they've done through the annual renewal application, found on the Firewise USA portal. This sharing keeps them In Good Standing for the next calendar year. In 2021, renewal applications are due Friday, November 19, and can be started now. In addition to the regular criteria, some participants may need to update their Action Plan. The Action Plan is a prioritized list of risk reduction projects or investments for an induvial Firewise site, along with suggested homeowner actions and education activities that the community will strive to complete annually or over a period of years. The Action Plan should be broken down by year and reflect the community’s goals. This document is required to be updated at least every three years so that it best reflects your community’s needs and past accomplishments. As circumstances change (e.g., activities are completed, a fire or a natural disaster occurs, new construction in the community started, etc.), the action plan may need to be updated more frequently. The Action Plan update should be completed by the community's Firewise committee, which is comprised of residents and wildfire experts. The plan can be as short as one page but should address the components in the definition above. The plan should include some basic measurements for each goal, such as “Increase number of residents participating in meetings by 5 percent,” or “Increase number of homes completing all recommended actions in the 0-5 foot space by 10 percent.”  Some ideas to address in your plan can include, but are not limited to: Increase overall participation in risk reduction efforts within your community. Are there a few homes or sections of a neighborhood that are not participating? Increase the number of homes that have had a fire safety check-up or risk evaluation.  What percentage of homes have tackled the 0-5 foot space in making it non-combustible? Highlight those positive efforts, share with other community members, and work to increase the number of homes that have completed recommended actions in that area. What do your community’s gutters and roofs look like, are they covered in debris? Identify homes that are not doing annual cleanup work and find ways to encourage them – maybe they just don’t know, maybe the owners are older and need assistance, etc. What educational outreach plans do you have? Is there room for expansion of those plans?   The updated action plan is submitted with annual renewal application. Visit the portal today to check your status and get started.

Recognizing a need for clarification: Firewise recognition vs. certification

As wildfires ignite landscapes and communities during this active fire year, interest in community action to improve wildfire safety is at an all-time high. Folks are seeking out the Firewise USA® recognition program in greater numbers than ever before, with hundreds of new sites in the process of having their applications approved. This is great news, but when articles come out that a new site has met the criteria, the headlines often say that the community has become “Firewise-certified” or “earned their certification from Firewise.” What's in a name? And why doesn't “recognition” smell as sweet to copy editors as “certification?” Often, the brief articles I see celebrating a community's hard work to become safer from wildfire will use NFPA's information about Firewise verbatim, and will talk about the community being recognized for its efforts, even when the headline says “certified.” All this would be simply a fussy English major's headache, if it weren't for the real concern our program team has about what “certification” and “certified” imply. A quick web search showed a pretty consistent pattern that certification applies most often to people, not to groups, and implies a high professional standard of achievement that allows an individual to access a certain job role or professional qualification. Certified accountants come to mind. One of the few certifications I found applying to an organization had to do with the ability of organizations to access specific government funding. And of course, NFPA develops and provides certifications of various kinds to help fire inspectors, electricians, and others demonstrate technical competency in their fields. NFPA's national recognition of neighborhoods where residents organize and follow guidelines to become safer from wildfire doesn't apply to individuals (and certainly not individual homes). Yes, there are criteria that have to be met, but they are fairly flexible and are intended to encourage people living in high-risk areas to get started on a years-long, community-wide journey toward greater safety. Unlike a certification, Firewise USA recognition is not an end-point, nor the end-all-and-be-all of wildfire safety. The more we see “certified” and “certification” being tossed around in articles and online conversation, the more the perception of Firewise USA seems to become warped and conflated with individual homes meeting some mythical standard of safety or insurability. This perception is understandable, especially in California, where more and more people living in high-risk areas have experienced insurance rate increases or have had to shop for insurance when their carrier declines to continue covering their property. However, we simply can't claim that any given property is safer or its risk has been reduced just because the minimum community-wide criteria have been met on a voluntary basis. While we've seen positive effects on overall community safety over time, Firewise recognition is not a magic wand we wave to make a home with a flammable roof and overgrown vegetation safe from wildfire. Recognition is our encouragement and acknowledgment that communities have taken the first steps toward safety, and toward a sustained effort to change the results when wildfire strikes. Photo: Community members presented with Firewise USA Recognition sign, NFPA.

Safety Source

Four Lives Saved in Roanoke, VA home fire thanks to two kids’ prompt response to sounding smoke alarms

The live-saving value of working smoke alarms – and the know-how to respond to them – was reinforced last Wednesday when two children were able to get themselves and two adults out of a home fire upon hearing the smoke alarms sound. “In this case, the kids knew what to do. They got out, they called 911, they gave us all the information. It was phenomenal,” said David Hoback, fire chief of Roanoke’s Department of Fire-EMS, who was quoted in a local news story covering the incident. According to WSLS 10 News, the two children got out safely, while the adults suffered life-threatening injuries. “I know this family didn’t go to bed last night thinking they were going to have a fire at 5:30 this morning. But if you practice and have active working smoke detectors it will save lives,” said Hoback. He’s right. Having working smoke alarms and knowing what to do when they sound can make the difference between a safe escape from fire and tragedy. Here are NFPA guidelines for properly installing, testing, and maintaining smoke alarms: Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.  Test your smoke alarms monthly. Press the test button to make sure each alarm is working. Replace smoke alarm batteries when the alarm begins to chirp, signaling that the batteries are running low. If the alarm continues to chirp or sound, it’s time to replace the alarm. Replace smoke alarms that are more than10 years old. You can determine the age of a smoke alarm by its date of manufacture, which is located on the back of the alarm. Smoke alarms should be interconnected, if possible, so that when one alarm sounds, they all do.  Also, when it comes to home escape planning, make sure to include all members of your household in developing the plan and practicing it regularly, at least twice a year. Get more information on how to develop and practice a home escape plan.

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

Fire Sprinkler Initiative

A sprinkler head

NASFM is helping NFPA Spread the Word About Home Fire Sprinklers

The effectiveness of home fire sprinklers is undeniable. Sprinklers respond immediately to fires, meaning they fight a fire before firefighters even arrive. In most cases, this reduces a significant amount of property damage and can even save lives. However, from 2010-2014, home fire sprinkler systems were only found in seven percent of all home fires, according to NFPA. It is imperative to spread the word about home fire sprinklers as they truly have the power to save lives. Jon Narva, the director of external relations at the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), sat down with Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (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. Educating the public about home fire sprinklers is a huge objective for NASFM. Narva emphasized this point, stating that what is necessary to get more people to install home fire sprinklers is to “focus on education, that has to remain key and continuing to develop the programs to help the marshals get the word out, not just to the firefighters or first responders in their state, but to all the stakeholders as well,” he said. NASFM is playing a huge role in promoting home fire sprinklers because of how effective they are at stopping a fire before it engulfs a home. Home fire sprinklers are “really a no-brainer,” Narva said. “NASFM’s mission is to protect human life, property, and the environment and that describes home fire sprinklers.” According to Narva, home fire sprinklers can also help reduce safety risks in any community. “Community risk reduction really takes a look at the whole picture of all the risks that are out there,” he stated. “If we can reduce the fire risk through fire sprinklers, we’re able to dedicate resources to higher risk or more recent risk areas and protect the community overall.” To help promote home fire sprinklers, NAFSM worked with HFSC to develop programs that give people incentives for installing home fire sprinklers. Listen to the full interview with Narva and Carli to learn more about why it is so important to educate the public about home fire sprinklers:   If you missed any of the previous interviews, including Carli’s most recent discussion with Kevin Quinn, the 1st vice chairman at the National Volunteer Fire Council, find the full video series on HFSC’s website.   Help NFPA and HFSC celebrate its 25th anniversary this year; share 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.
Kevin Quinn

Home Fire Sprinklers Reduce Risks for Volunteer Firefighters

There are 1.1 million firefighters nationwide, 67 percent of which are volunteers. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) represents the interests of volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. Kevin Quinn, the first vice chairman at the NVFC, sat down with Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) president, Lorraine Carli, to talk more about why home fire sprinklers are important to the volunteer firefighters as a part of a video series created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HFSC. In the video interview, Quinn emphasizes the importance of home fire sprinklers as they save numerous lives, “by knocking those fires down before they become that deadly, whether it be for residents, or for firefighters, volunteers and career alike,” he said. Quinn mentions while every home should be equipped with home fire sprinklers, they are especially important in rural areas. Of all the country’s volunteer firefighters, many are in rural areas. “Water supply is an issue for rural areas and there’s a little bit more of a response time,” Quinn said. “So, the home fire sprinklers are going to be impactful on those residential homes that have protection.” Home fire sprinklers stopping a fire before it can spread puts firefighters at much less risk and reduces injuries from fighting structure fires. However, it also prevents firefighters from inhaling carcinogens from fires, reducing their risk of cancer. Cancer in firefighters is a serious issue. According to Two studies from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, they find that: Firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnosis. Firefighters also face a 14 percent increase in cancer related deaths compared to the general US population. In the video, Quinn states that the NVFC helped put together the Lavender Ribbon Report, which is 11 of the best practices to reduce exposure and minimize any kind of additional risk put on firefighters. “Volunteers are your neighbors helping others,” Quinn said. “They give up so much and dedicate so much and we appreciate each and every one of them for what they do. But we also have to let them realize that there are other means such as home fire sprinklers that will help protect them, their communities, and their families.” Listen to the full interview with Quinn and Carli to learn more about how home fire sprinklers reduce risks for volunteer firefighters:   If you missed any of the previous interviews, including Carli’s most recent discussion with Mike O’Brian, a fire chief from the Brighton Area Fire Authority and a board member on the International Association of Fire Chiefs, find the full video series on HFSC’s website.   Help NFPA and HFSC celebrate its 25th anniversary this year; share 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.

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