Author(s): Fred Durso. Published on July 1, 2012.

Vegas Recap
Voting members accept 2013 editions of NFPA 13 and 72 at NFPA’s Association Technical Meeting. Plus, award winners take the stage at the Conference & Expo.

NFPA Journal®, July/August 2012

By Fred Durso, Jr.

Voting members at NFPA’s Association Technical Meeting, held June 13-14 in Las Vegas, considered 19 documents, including NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler SystemsNFPA 13R, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies; and NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. Only documents with certified amending motions were considered at the meeting; all other documents will be submitted to the Standards Council for issuance as consent documents.    

Other documents accepted at the Technical Meeting include:

Conference Award Winners
Edward K. Budnick received this year’s Standards Medal, the most prestigious award given by NFPA’s Standards Council, during NFPA’s Conference & Expo. Budnick, who recently retired from the consulting firm Hughes Associates, was honored for his longtime commitment and contribution to NFPA committees, including the Technical Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinkler Systems and the Fixed Guideway Transit Systems Technical Committee.

Gregory T. Linteris won this year’s Harry C. Bigglestone Award for Excellence in Communication of Fire Protection Concepts. A mechanical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Linteris received a $5,000 cash prize for his paper, “Clean Agent Suppression of Energized Electrical Equipment Fires,” published in NFPA’s quarterly peer-reviewed journal Fire Technology.

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems of El Segundo, California, was awarded the Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award for its work in promoting last year’s Fire Prevention Week Theme, “Protect Your Family From Fire,” to its employees and their communities. Raytheon sold at-cost fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and safety escape ladders while presenting fire prevention speeches to employees.

The project “High Volume/Low Speed Fans and Sprinkler Operation” won the Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal for best exemplifying the Foundation’s fire safety mission and a collaborative approach to execution that’s the hallmark of all Foundation projects. Prepared by Aon Fire Protection Engineering, the project evaluates the effect of high volume, low speed fans on specific sprinkler types protecting both rack storage and palletized commodities.

Marsha Giesler, public education officer of the Downers Grove Fire Department in Illinois, has been named NFPA’s 2012 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Giesler received a $1,000 honorarium and travel accommodations to the award presentation at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Giesler’s accomplishments include visiting 17 elementary schools each month and routinely conducting evacuation drills in her community. She has made NFPA’s fire safety education programs, including Risk Watch® and the Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program®, the cornerstone of her educational outreach. She is also the author of the reference book Life Safety Educator.

Call for 2013 Education Presentations
The “Windy City” of Chicago will host the next Conference & Expo, June 10-13, 2013, at the McCormick Place Convention Center. NFPA is seeking proposals for education sessions at the 2013 conference. To submit proposals online by the September 12 deadline, visit

Staying Current
NFPA teams with ICC to lead a new coalition to promote adoption of the latest editions of safety codes.

By Fred Durso, Jr.

Jurisdictions looking to cut costs during a sluggish economy might consider foregoing the adoption of the most recent versions of codes and standards developed by the private sector. A new coalition, however, is advocating the approach that staying up-to-date on fire, building, and life safety code provisions will save money in the long run.

NFPA has partnered with the International Code Council (ICC) to form the new Coalition for Current Safety Codes (CCSC), which officially formed in June to advance public safety by advocating for states and municipal jurisdictions to adopt current editions of all fire, building, and life safety codes. More than a dozen supporting organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, have joined more than 30 individuals with a vested interest in NFPA’s and ICC’s mission to spread the coalition’s message.

“For more than 100 years, the public and government on all levels have benefited from the life and property saving work of private standards developing organizations,” says NFPA President James Shannon. “CCSC is an effort to ensure those same parties are taking full advantage of the latest information in the most up-to-date codes.”

The apparent disadvantages of not staying current on codes are far-reaching. Delaying the enforcement of current code provisions, the CCSC argues, leaves jurisdictions in the position of playing catch-up to public safety — a practice that is labor intensive, requires more training, and delays innovation. Codes and standards are updated on regular cycles to benefit from new science, lessons learned from the field, and new technologies and products.

“The efforts of NFPA’s and ICC’s membership have dramatically strengthened codes and standards while protecting the public,” says Rick Weiland, ICC’s chief operating officer. “This coalition is a great way to spread the word about how to protect the environment as well as the health and welfare of our society.”

CCSC is currently looking for other interested parties to join the coalition. Visit for more information.

Success Stories
South Carolina maintains home fire sprinkler provisions. Plus, governors in Maryland and Minnesota take action on related legislation, and Illinois celebrates another sprinkler victory.

By Fred Durso, Jr.

Following the reCENT launch of South Carolina’s “Faces of Fire” campaign, the state’s Building Code Council voted to keep sprinkler requirements intact.   

Up for debate during the council’s May meeting was the adoption of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC), which requires home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family dwellings, a provision members voted to keep in place. Council members had already voted to adopt the 2009 IRC, which included similar residential sprinkler provisions, but legislative action delayed the implementation and future sprinkler provisions from taking effect until 2014.

A day before the council meeting, the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition teamed up with NFPA to kick off a statewide effort to educate the public on the life safety and other benefits of fire sprinkler protection for one- and two-family dwellings, bringing together fire service members, burn survivors, and other home fire sprinkler advocates. Billboards complemented public-service announcements featuring stories of burn survivors and testimonials of local residents impacted by fire.

The Council’s decision now heads to the state Legislature for approval.

Governors’ support
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law in May also mandating the fire sprinkler provision required in the 2012 IRC, which references NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. The legislation prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting amendments to the state’s building codes if the amendments weaken home fire sprinkler system provisions. The law also forbids jurisdictions from opting out of the sprinkler requirement.

The state’s first residential sprinkler requirement took effect more than two decades ago in Prince George’s County, which is considered one of the most successful models for home fire sprinkler implementation, according to the Maryland State Firemen’s Association. Several Maryland counties and municipalities eventually followed suit.  

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton took a similar stance in support of home fire sprinklers by vetoing anti-sprinkler legislation. A bill introduced this year would have prohibited local jurisdictions from requiring home fire sprinklers in single-family dwellings, but Dayton vetoed the bill in May, as well as similar legislation last year.

“I take very seriously the concerns which fire safety professionals have expressed about the safety of home residents, their properties, and the lives of the men and women who courageously risk their lives to fight those fires,” Dayton stated in the letter he drafted to the Senate explaining his decision. “[Fire safety professionals] contend that, with sprinkler systems in place, fires could be more readily contained, resulting in fewer injuries and deaths to homeowners and firefighters.”

The more, the merrier
The village of Gurnee, Illinois, joins 77 other communities in the state that require home fire sprinkler protection in new home construction. After five board meetings on the issue, Gurnee’s Village Board voted in favor of adopting the 2012 IRC.

“As a measure leading up to the vote, individuals from the fire and building departments worked hard to educate their peers and the Village Board about the benefits of fire sprinklers and help dispel the misinformation about fire sprinklers,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), which enlisted support from NFPA.

James Shannon, NFPA’s president, wrote a newspaper op-ed explaining how sprinkler ordinances lead to safer communities. Russ Sanders, director of NFPA’s Central Regional Office, and Maria Figueroa, communications project manager for NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, also drafted letters to board trustees and Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik. “This was a great case study of effective grassroots advocacy,” says Figueroa.

Gurnee is the fourth jurisdiction in Illinois to pass home fire sprinkler requirements this year, according to NIFSAB.

For additional sprinkler legislative updates, please visit

Top Dog
The American Humane Association taps Sparky for an upcoming awards ceremony in Hollywood. Plus, the lovable Dalmatian receives another gift following his 60th birthday.

By Fred Durso, Jr.

You apparently can’t keep a good dog down.



Following Sparky the Fire Dog’s® yearlong celebration of his 60th birthday in 2011, the American Humane Association (AHA) has named him the official spokesdog for its Hero Dog AwardsTM, to be held October 6.

Taking place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the star-studded ceremony honors dogs of all backgrounds through a series of awards divided into eight categories, including search-and-rescue dogs and law enforcement/arson dogs. The public can vote on this year’s finalists at

“AHA has a longstanding commitment to child and animal welfare, and we are thrilled to work with them to put a spotlight on this important work,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Communications. “At the same time, Sparky’s presence reminds people of the importance of fire safety.”

Sparky gets a Bulldog
As if Sparky’s big year couldn’t get any better, NFPA was recently honored with a Bulldog Media Relations Award for Excellence in Media and Publicity Campaigns for its “Sparky the Fire Dog Turns 60” campaign last year. NFPA received a bronze award in the category “Best Not-For-Profit/Association/Government Campaign.” Sparky participated in a number of celebratory events that included a trek through New York City with other famous mascots for the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame Contest and the creation of a new picture book for children.

For all things Sparky, visit or follow him on Facebook at

CPR from an App?
Tools for medical emergencies and emergency preparedness

Clueless on how to assist a person going into cardiac arrest? There’s an app for that.

The Team Life CPR App guides users through the live-saving procedure using audible prompts and step-by-step visuals for administering chest compressions and subsequent breaths to victims.

Emergency medical technicians respond to more than 380,000 sudden cardiac arrest incidents in the U.S. each year, according to the American Heart Association. However, only 11 percent of victims going into cardiac arrest outside the hospital setting survive, since many people don’t know what to do when they encounter these victims.

Developed by Team Life, Inc., an emergency health training company, the app, available at for $1.99, is compatible with iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry smart phones as well as tablets.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also launched new apps that utilize social media in the event of an emergency. The bReddi Facebook App allows users and their loved ones to coordinate preparedness plans — such as establishing a meeting place and a person of contact during a disaster — and uses Facebook, Twitter, and text messages to provide updates on an area’s threat level.

In addition, the Project: Lifeline Facebook App establishes a network of Facebook friends and determines everyone’s status during and after a disaster. The established “lifelines” provide real-time updates on their whereabouts and can begin a coordinated search for missing individuals using the app. 

Access the free apps at

There’s a Field Guide for That
NFPA’s EV safety initiative introduces a vehicle guide to aid emergency responders. Plus, grant money for training, and an upcoming summit.

NFPA recently debuted the Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide, which was developed with assistance from vehicle manufacturers and provides safety information for emergency responders on all current makes and models of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The field guide offers tips on “sizing up” vehicles involved in an incident and initiating a proper response. Other topics include vehicle identification, securing and disabling a vehicle, and emergency operations. Guides can be purchased at the “Training and Products” section of

Grant funds available
First responders can now apply for financial assistance to receive NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training, a nationwide program designed to help firefighters and other first responders prepare for the growing number of electric vehicles on the road in the United States. Fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service providers are eligible to apply for grants available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

“We are encouraging first responders everywhere to consider applying for this much-needed program,” says Andrew Klock, NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training project manager. “With cuts affecting fire departments across the country, grants like this will allow many to educate their personnel with the necessary electric vehicle safety information to better protect their communities.”

Starting in July, NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training course will be available online for $19 per participant. Fire departments can apply for FEMA’s AFG program to cover the cost of this online training, or to receive an instructor-led classroom training course.

Grant applications must be received by July 6. Career, volunteer, and combination fire departments are eligible to apply. For more information or to apply, visit For information about NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training, visit

EV safety summit announced
The 3rd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit will be held October 18 at the COBO Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Hosted by NFPA and SAE International, the summit offers an opportunity to join industry leaders, including vehicle manufacturers, governmental agencies, standards development organizations, and emergency responders, for an up-to-date look at a range of EV safety issues.

For more information, visit