Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on July 1, 2017.

Tech Session 101

Members consider motions on 13 documents, including the Life Safety Code, at the association technical meeting in Boston. Also, a wrap-up of C&E award winners.


Discussions over door locking to prevent unwanted entry, as well as other issues related to NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, highlighted the recent 2017 NFPA Technical Meeting, held as part of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston in June. For more than 11 hours, NFPA members debated the merits of numerous changes to the 13 NFPA codes and standards presented for floor action at the Technical Meeting. Some of the other prominent codes up for debate included NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code; NFPA 1, Fire Code; and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®.

A group of motions pertaining to door locking to prevent unwanted entry was the subject of considerable debate. The proposed next edition of the code had included text allowing existing educational, day care, and business occupancies to install locks on doors that require two latch and/or lock-releasing operations to open. Those provisions were successfully challenged and the new text was deleted, keeping a requirement that latches and locks have only one releasing operation. These revisions are subject to technical and correlating committee balloting, as well as appeals to and final action by the Standards Council.

In all, 69 certified amending motions were made on the 13 documents up for review. Appeals to the tech session action were due by June 27 and will be heard by the NFPA Standards Council at its August meeting.

A list of the motions and how they fared can be found online.


Here’s a wrap-up of the major awards announced at this year’s Conference & Expo:

DiNenno Prize

The inventors of the Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus, known as VESDA, were awarded the prestigious DiNenno Prize along with its $50,000 in prize money. David Packham, John Petersen, and Martin Cole were presented with the award, with commendation given to deceased co-inventor Len Gibson. The DiNenno Prize was launched in 2014 to recognize groundbreaking innovations that have had a significant impact in the building, fire, and electrical safety fields.

Standards Medal

Kenneth E. Isman, a clinical professor in fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland, was awarded the 2017 NFPA Standards Medal. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to fire safety and the development of NFPA codes and standards.

Isman, who was a member of the NFPA Standards Council for seven years, has served on numerous NFPA committees and is active on the NFPA 101, 5000, 20, 13, 13D, and 13R committees. He has contributed significantly to the handbooks for NFPA 13, 13D, and 13R, has participated in Fire Protection Research Foundation projects, and played an integral role in creating the first edition of NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.

Shannon Advocacy Medal

Ann Jones was named recipient of the 2017 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal for her lifelong devotion to fire safety and her influential role in her home nation of Wales enacting a national requirement for residential sprinklers. The medal, established to honor former NFPA president Jim Shannon, honors a person who advances the mission of promoting fire safety by proactively working toward key changes that reduce fire loss. Because of Jones’ efforts, Wales became the first country in the world to pass a national sprinkler requirement in 2011.

Harry C. Bigglestone Award

Enrico Ronchi, Erica D. Kuligowski, Daniel Nilsson, Richard D. Peacock, and Paul A. Reneke were awarded the 2017 Bigglestone Award for their paper, “Assessing the Verification and Validation of Building Fire Evacuation Models.” The award, honoring former Fire Protection Research Foundation trustee Harry C. Bigglestone, is given annually to a paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The paper discussed issues relating to standard procedures for verifying and validating building fire evacuation models and protocols.

Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal

A research report aimed at developing guidance for the fire protection of lithium-ion batteries earned the 2017 Research Foundation Medal. The medal recognizes a FPRF project completed in the previous year that best exemplifies the Foundation’s mission, commitment to overcoming technical challenges, and a collaborative approach. The project is the third phase of a larger project that seeks to provide technical data to NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, on how to protect lithium-ion batteries in storage. Benjamin Ditch of FM Global received the Medal on behalf of all those involved.

Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award

Siemens Building Technologies’ comic-book-inspired Fire Prevention Week program was named winner of the Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award. The award recognizes businesses that promote fire and related safety messages to their employees and communities during Fire Prevention Week. Siemens partnered with Marvel Comics to produce the comic.

JESSE ROMAN is associate editor for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: NFPA