Articles by Christian Dubay
In making its decision, the Council concluded there is a fundamental lack of consensus on how to test and evaluate residential upholstered furniture flammability exposed to a flaming ignition source After reviewing the entire record before it, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council voted to cease standards development of NFPA 277, Standard Methods of Tests for Evaluating Fire and Ignition Resistance of Upholstered Furniture using a Flaming Ignition source. In making its decision, the Council concluded there is a fundamental lack of consensus on how to test and evaluate residential upholstered furniture flammability exposed to a flaming ignition source. “Burning upholstered furniture presents a significant fire issue that demands a solution to protect both citizens and first responders,” said Christian Dubay, vice president of NFPA’s Engineering division. “Unfortunately, creating a test method to assist in addressing this part of the fire problem has proved quite challenging, and ultimately resulted in the Council’s decision.” Addressing fire problems caused by upholstered furniture In 2014, the Standards Council voted to approve the development of a new test method that was to evaluate fire/ignition resistance of upholstered residential furniture subject to a flaming ignition source. After extensive discussion and review of available information and data, the Technical Committee on Fire Tests decided to address the fire problem associated with residential upholstered furniture by measuring total and peak heat release after ignition and developing pass/fail criteria to reduce flashover. The draft document proposed by the Technical Committee for entry into revision reflects that proposed approach, which served as a change in direction from the original proposed scope. However, numerous comments in opposition to the draft of NFPA 277 received by the Standards Council expressed stakeholder and industry concerns with the document’s scope; the pass/fail criteria; industry concerns; health and safety issues; the technical requirements of the test method; and fundamental aspects of the test method, including duplication of existing test methods. Fire sprinklers have been proven to dramatically reduce the likelihood of civilian fatalities, injuries and direct property damage Installing fire sprinklers for safety “Given this decision, we are faced with the same pressing question we started with: How can the persistent fire problem of residential upholstered furniture flammability be addressed in an effort to mitigate the nation’s home fire problem?” said Dubay. NFPA believes that one clear path forward for addressing the U.S. home fire problem is the adoption and enforcement of requirements contained in the model building codes for the installation of home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family construction. Fire sprinklers have been proven to dramatically reduce the likelihood of civilian fatalities, injuries and direct property damage. They also provide enormous health and safety benefits to firefighters by extinguishing fires or keeping them small and reducing exposure to toxic hazards. Protecting public and first responders In addition, NFPA firmly believes that the participants who raised concerns about the toxicity of flame retardant chemicals, including first responders, need answers to their concerns. “I implore the individuals and organisations that weighed in to our process and expressed a desire to reduce the fire problem and to better protect the public and first responders from the devastating effects of fire, remain vocal and engaged towards the solution that exists in home fire sprinklers,” said Dubay. “NFPA aggressively advocates for widespread installation of home fire sprinklers and needs others to do the same,” said Dubay.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has received just shy of a million dollars in Fire Prevention and Safety Grant money from FEMA to develop a free public safety drone compliance program that includes educational training and a searchable knowledgebase that tracks fire service drone programs and usage. Fire departments have rapidly expanded the use of drones as more communities have realized the lifesaving impact that aerial technology can have in response to structural fires, wildland firefighting, search and rescue efforts, hazardous material responses, natural disaster efforts, and any other events that would benefit from increased situational awareness. drone safety policies The new initiative will follow the successful NFPA Emerging Technologies training development and dissemination model Although drone safety policies and standards continue to evolve, many U.S. fire departments are without the proper information, knowledge, and experience needed to establish and maintain a legally sound public safety program that is compliant with FAA regulations, and the standards produced by ASTM International, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and NFPA. Without proper understanding of how to integrate drones into public safety efforts, fire departments may deploy unmanned aerial devices inaccurately; may inappropriately gather information during an incident; and may interfere with manned and unmanned flight operations in the area. All these missteps needlessly expose fire departments to liability. public safety drone programs The NFPA drone project will generate the guidance, learnings, and best practices that U.S. fire departments need to establish a compliant, successful drone program by: Assessing the current level of understanding, policies, and standards on public safety drone usage Developing a drone program framework, including resources, education, and an accessible portal which allows departments to comply with current regulations and standards Tracking fire service drone programs and their relevant use cases Freely disseminating essential information and training so that departments can establish regionally and nationally compliant public safety drone programs The new initiative will follow the successful NFPA Emerging Technologies training development and dissemination model that has been in effect since 2010. technical advisory panel The Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, will begin by performing a literature review of the fire service drone landscape and collecting compliance and usage data. NFPA will then collaborate with subject matter experts at the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting at the State of Colorado, Department of Fire Services to conduct a comprehensive review of the latest public safety drone usage research, testing, regulations, policy, and training content. The Research Foundation will convene a technical advisory panel consisting of fire authorities, standards developers, public safety officials, emergency managers, researchers, regulators, and government leaders to advise on the project’s scope, messaging, curriculum, and deliverables. The NFPA data and analytics team will synthesize the collected information to support curriculum development efforts and populate the portal. The Research Foundation will host a public safety drone workshop for interested stakeholders and findings will be distributed. safety drone deployment The NFPA data team will build a freely accessible online repository for all information captured Public safety drone subject matter experts and curriculum developers will build a self-paced, interactive online training program, educational videos, and immersive augmented virtual reality tools as part of a full educational suite. The curriculum will cover proper administration, operation, safety, and maintenance of public safety drone deployment. All materials, research, and information collected as part of this project will be available for free to U.S. firefighters on the NFPA website. The NFPA data team will build a freely accessible online repository for all information captured, and host all deliverables on a dedicated, interactive, searchable web portal so that departments can upload and search drone action incident reports. Unmanned Aerial Systems “As we have seen with NFPA alternative fuel vehicle and energy storage system training, the fire service is eager to learn about emerging technologies that may present new hazards, or in this case, help to mitigate and monitor safety challenges,” said Christian Dubay, P.E., NFPA Vice President and Chief Engineer. “The new educational resources and portal will help fire departments across the country confidently establish and maintain public safety drone programs.” In 2018, NFPA released NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems to help the fire service address organizational deployment, professional qualifications, system selection, as well as care and maintenance for public safety drone programs. The new NFPA drone research project will begin in fall 2019, with deliverables expected to be completed by September 2021.
To help provide answers to different stakeholders interested in energy storage system (ESS) technologies, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, the first comprehensive collection of criteria for the fire protection of ESS installations. The standard provides requirements based on the technology used in ESS, the setting where the technology is being installed, the size and separation of ESS installations, and the fire suppression and control systems that are in place. Increased Fire Intensity Global deployment of ESS will expand thirteen times in size over the next six years (2018-2024) Per industry expert Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewable, global deployment of ESS will expand thirteen times in size over the next six years (2018-2024), with the greatest growth occurring in the United States and China. Certain ESS technologies can pack a lot of energy in a small envelope, which makes these technologies useful but also increases fire and life safety hazards such as the release of toxic/flammable gases, stranded energy, and increased fire intensity. These potential threats are driving the need for first responders and those that design, build, maintain, and inspect facilities to become educated and proactive about ESS safety. Providing Countless Benefits And Applications “NFPA 855 is the culmination of several years of extensive consideration and dialogue at technical committee meetings, educational sessions, and workshops attended by a broad spectrum of professionals,” said Christian Dubay, P.E., vice president and chief engineer. While energy storage systems provide countless benefits and applications, the technologies do not come without risk" “Understanding how to safely use ESS is important to many different segments that NFPA serves – designers, engineers, builders, manufacturers, enforcers, responders, and policy makers. While energy storage systems provide countless benefits and applications, the technologies do not come without risk. NFPA 855 aims to mitigate risk and ensure that all installations are done in a way that takes fire and life safety into consideration,” said Brian O’Connor, P.E., NFPA staff liaison for NFPA 855. Extensive Requirements For ESS Fire Safety In addition to looking at where the technology is located, how it is separated from other components, and the suppression systems in place, NFPA 855 considers the ventilation, detection, signage, listings, and emergency operations associated with ESS. Current editions of NFPA 70® and NFPA 1 also contain extensive requirements for ESS fire safety. The effort to develop NFPA 855 began in 2016 as ESS technology usage began to soar due to consumer, business and government interest. More than 600 public inputs and 800 public comments were received during the development process. NFPA has been informing audiences for years about ESS via relevant research, the world’s first online training for the fire service, a fact sheet for policy makers, and NFPA Journal content.
Mark W. Earley, former National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chief electrical engineer and NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) staff liaison, has been presented the Richard G. Biermann National Electrical Code Outstanding Volunteer Award. Earley has worked for NFPA since 1986 and served as staff liaison and secretary to the NEC Correlating Committee from 1989 until his retirement in August 2019. He has co-authored NFPA’s reference book, Electrical Installations in Hazardous Locations, and been a contributing editor to NFPA 70E, Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. Outstanding Service Award Earley’s achievements in the electrical industry include a distinguished service award from the U.S. National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission, the Meritorious Service Award from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the award for Outstanding Service to the Electrical Industry from NECA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Mark has served as an outstanding expert, demonstrating his commitment to the development of the NEC” “Mark has served as an outstanding expert, consistently demonstrating his commitment to the development, promotion, and advancement of the NEC,” said Christian Dubay, vice president of Engineering at NFPA. “NFPA is extremely pleased to honor Mark with this award for his exceptional accomplishments. His understanding and passion for the code-making process will continue to serve as a model for others.” Outstanding volunteerism on task groups The award, created in 2016, honors the memory of Richard G. Biermann, former chair of the NEC Correlating Committee. Biermann’s service on the NEC included serving as chair of Code-Making Panel 16 and as a member of several other code-making panels. He was a member of the NFPA Standards Council and a member of NFPA’s Board of Directors. In 1995, Biermann received the Paul C. Lamb Award in recognition of his outstanding service to NFPA. Biermann, who represented the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), ran a successful electrical contracting business and during his tenure as chair of the correlating committee, devoted at least one day per week to the NEC. This award honors outstanding volunteerism on task groups, code-making panels, and the Correlating Committee, and in the promotion of the adoption and application of the NEC during the membership adoption year of the code.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council approved a plan to consolidate the information currently contained in 114 NFPA Emergency Response and Responder Safety (ERRS) standards, guides, and recommended practices into 38 overarching standards. The move will not only provide emergency responders with easier access to well-rounded safety information, but also improve the standards development experience for more than 2,000 principle and alternative NFPA Technical Committee Members. NFPA ERRS standards consolidation project The five-year NFPA ERRS standards consolidation project will begin in January 2020, with 20-25 standards being combined annually, in their proper cycle. Related standards will be merged into all-inclusive standards with existing documents becoming separate chapters. In recent years, responders and the Technical Committee members that volunteer to develop NFPA standards via a balanced consensus process, have expressed concerns about conflicts within emergency services standards. Other concerns include a lack of knowledge about what different Technical Committees are working on and the inability to have representation on some committees due to the sheer number of standards. Accessing comprehensive PPE manufacturing guidance Our Standards Committees came together to address different challenges and opportunities" Combining applicable information into one-third of the existing standards will allow responders to access comprehensive PPE manufacturing guidance, selection, care and maintenance tips, professional qualifications benchmarks and other critical information so that they can do their jobs more effectively. “Over the last century, NFPA has produced more than 100 codes and standards for the benefit of the responder community. As new threats and hazards presented, our Standards Committees came together to address different challenges and opportunities,” said NFPA’s Vice President and Chief Engineer, Christian Dubay. Blending critical information for responders He adds, “Now is the time to take that wealth of knowledge and combine it in a way that is relevant and accessible for responders today. This undertaking blends the critical information that responders need to know to keep safe and delivers it in a format that is more complete and convenient.” A new revision cycle specifically for ERRS standards has been established. Both the First and Second Draft Meetings of the standards process, as well as any necessary Correlating Committee meetings, will now occur during the same year with one meeting taking place in January and another in November. If additional meetings, such as pre-draft sessions are required, they will occur on an as-needed basis. The consolidation announcement has been applauded by Technical Committee members who will now be able to gather in one location, allowing for more committee interaction, fewer document conflicts, and greater travel efficiencies.