Author(s): Kristin Bigda. Published on September 1, 2016.

Mission: Marijuana

An NFPA task group designs a pot-focused chapter for NFPA 1, Fire Code


THE TOPIC OF FIRE SAFETY at marijuana processing and extraction facilities was introduced to the full NFPA 1 Technical Committee during its First Draft meeting in October 2015. As a result of the committee’s interest, a task group was formed to develop the language further and propose a new chapter for NFPA 1, Fire Code, to the committee at the Second Draft meeting.

The task group consists of members of the NFPA 1 Technical Committee, code officials, and experts and leaders from the marijuana industry. The group has met numerous times over the past 10 months to develop the new chapter, addressing issues including extraction materials, process hazards, fire protection systems, and how existing code requirements for other facilities and processes may apply to marijuana processing and extraction facilities.

The task group will report to the full committee at the upcoming Second Drat meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 3–4. If accepted as a Second Revision, the new chapter will be included in the 2018 edition of NFPA 1.

The members of the NFPA 1 Task Group on Marijuana Processing and Extraction Facilities come from several different areas. Members coming from the NFPA 1 Technical Committee include John Sharry (chair), Lawrence Livermore National Lab, California; Scott Laramee, Aon Corporation, California; Cathy Stashak, Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal; and Reinhard Hanselka, aidi, Inc., Florida.

Members from the marijuana industry include Ryan Cook, The Clinic Marijuana Center, Colorado. Chris Witherell, Pressure Safety Inspectors LLC, in Colorado, represents the design/certification of equipment and labs.

Code officials and authorities having jurisdiction include Brian Lukus, Fire Prevention Division, City of Denver; Shawn Shepherd, deputy fire marshal, Kitsap County, Washington; Scott Prose, West Metro Fire Department, Colorado; Amy Ray, fire marshal, Truckee Meadows District, Nevada; and Jay Nelson, deputy fire chief of Breckenridge, Colorado.

NFPA staff on the task group include Steve Sawyer, Kristin Bigda, Ray Bizal, and Gary Honold.

KRISTIN BIGDA is principal engineer for Building Fire Protection at NFPA.