Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on May 1, 2018.

The Making of a (PS)

NFPA 3000 is only the second provisional standard released by NFPA in its 122-year history


In 2010, an explosion at a power plant under construction in Connecticut killed six people and injured dozens more. An investigation revealed that the blast was triggered by gas blowing, a process that involves forcefully blowing flammable gas through pipes to clean them. While construction of the plant was heavily regulated, there was no standard guiding the gas blowing, according to a 2011 NFPA Journal article.

Identifying the need for guidance on the issue, NFPA acted swiftly and began work on what would become the organization’s first provisional standard, NFPA 56, Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems. NFPA 56 was issued after less than 24 weeks of deliberation by the responsible technical committee, a fraction of the time typical for the NFPA standards development process.

With the release of NFPA 3000™ (PS), Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, NFPA has again created a provisional standard to meet an urgent need. Tackling an arguably more complex issue than gas blowing, the NFPA 3000 technical committee spent about 46 weeks developing the document, from its first meeting to the issuance of the provisional standard on May 1.

Normally, the NFPA standards development process consists of multiple drafts released for public review and stakeholder participation, and takes approximately two years. But the process of writing a provisional standard, as permitted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is intended to address urgent public safety needs and requires no public review prior to issuance. Per ANSI requirements, a document can only retain its provisional standard status—denoted by a “PS” after the standard number—for two years. NFPA has already initiated the full revision process for NFPA 3000.

When Otto Drozd, chief of Orange County Fire Rescue in Florida, submitted the request for NFPA to develop a standard like NFPA 3000 in October, 2016—about four months after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which his department responded to—the intention wasn’t to develop it as a provisional standard. But with each active shooter event that occurred in the country thereafter, including the Las Vegas shooting and the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting, the urgency behind the document increased. In December, 2017, the NFPA Standards Council voted to allow the project to move forward as a provisional standard.

“The Council found that there are numerous recent active shooter and hostile events of increasing magnitude occurring across the globe, which are resulting in tragic loss of life as well as countless injuries,” the Council wrote in its decision. “The very nature of these unpredictable deadly events and the frequency of recurrence establishes the need for prompt dissemination of standards for preparedness and response.”

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: XXXX