Articles by Lorraine Carli
NFPA’s fire safety recommendations for revelers for the 4th of July celebrations With the Fourth of July fast approaching and the summer months upon us, indulging in barbecues, holiday parties and swimming often top the list of activities to enjoy during the summer season. To help everyone do so safely, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding people about potential summer fire and electrical hazards and providing tips and recommendations to minimise them. “By knowing where potential fire and electrical hazards exist during the summer months and taking the needed steps to prevent them, people can enjoy activities such as grilling, swimming and celebrating the Fourth of July while keeping their families, guests and homes safe,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy Division. Following are NFPA’s summer-related safety statistics and tips: Fireworks NFPA recommends that revelers refrain from using consumer fireworks and attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals NFPA recommends that revelers refrain from using consumer fireworks and attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. Fireworks annually cause devastating burns, injuries, fires, and even death, making them too dangerous to be used safely by consumers. On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for nearly half of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2017 Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets. Sparklers were the most common type of fireworks causing injury to pre-schoolers, and 400 of the 900 sparkler injuries were related to children under five years old. Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2016. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July and 58 percent grill on Labor Day Grilling Fire Safety All types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June and August. Roughly 9,600 home grill fires were reported per year. The leading causes were a failure to clean, using the grill too close to something that could burn or having things that could catch fire too close to the grill, and unattended grill use. Leaks were the leading cause of gas grill fires. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July and 58 percent grill on Labor Day. The following are tips for grillers: The grill should be placed well away the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. The grill should also be a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Have a three-foot (1 meter) “kid-free zone” around the grill. Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays below. Never leave your grill unattended. Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) Electric Shock Drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. Here are tips for swimmers and boat owners: Tips for swimmers Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running. Obey all “no swimming” signs on docks. Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended.
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2018 theme aims at enhanced home fire security The latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that if you have a reported fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were a few decades ago. This startling statistic is behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware - fire can happen anywhere.” Fire Prevention Week takes place October 7-13, 2018. Fire Prevention Week 2018 Through three simple calls-to-action, this year’s theme identifies basic but essential ways people can reduce their risk to fire and be prepared in the event of one: Look for places fire can startListen for the sound of the smoke alarmLearn two ways out of each room “People take safety for granted and are not aware of the risk of fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Paying attention to your surroundings, looking for available exits in the event of a fire or other emergency, and taking the smoke alarm seriously if it sounds can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation.” Residential fire safety FPA continues to focus on home fire safety, as the majority of U.S. fire deaths occur at home each year This year’s Fire Prevention Week messages apply to virtually all locations. However, NFPA continues to focus on home fire safety, as the majority of U.S. fire deaths (four out of five) occur at home each year. In fact, the fire death rate (per 1000 home fires reported to the fire department) was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980. “While we’ve made significant progress in preventing home fires from happening, these statistics show that there’s still much more work to do when it comes to teaching people how to protect themselves in the event of one, and why advance planning is so critically important,” said Carli. Fire prevention and protection steps ‘Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.’ works to remind the public that fires can and do still happen – at home, as well as other locations - and that there are basic but vitally important steps people can take to remain safe. As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA works with local fire departments throughout North America to promote the campaign in their communities and reaches out to the public directly to encourage everyone to take action to be safe.
NFPA unveils key security measures to avoid shock hazards in water bodies With Memorial Day and the start of summer just around the corner, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding people about the potential electrical hazards in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps. Countering the threat of electric shock drownings Electric shock drowning (ESD) happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. NFPA reminds people about the potential electrical hazards in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps. “Most people are not aware, including boat and pool owners and swimmers, are not aware of the risks of electric shock drowning,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “NFPA is raising awareness of this troubling trend and sharing our water safety resources so that everyone can safely enjoy summer water activities.” Here are tips for swimmers, pool and boat owners: Tips for swimmers Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running. While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker or work intermittently. If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock. Tips for pool owners If you are putting in a new pool, hot tub or spa, be sure the wiring is performed by an electrician experienced in the special safety requirements for these types of installations. Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool, spa or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency. Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away. Tips for boat owners Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification. Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina’s electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code (NEC). Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.
NFPA provides safety tips on grills to avoid structure and unclassified fires Grilling season is right around the corner and grill gurus everywhere are preparing for many family parties and barbecues. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages grillers to pay attention to safety during the spring and summer months when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often. High rate of structure and unclassified fires In 2011 – 2015, fire departments responded to an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues each year. That number included 4,100 structure fires and 5,500 outside or unclassified fires, according to NFPA. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $133 million in direct property damage per year. July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June and August. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July, 60 percent do so on Memorial Day, 58 percent grill on Labor Day, and 45 percent grill on Father’s Day. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Surveillance System, grills caused an average 4,500 non-thermal contact burns in patients seen at emergency departments in 2012 – 2016. Children under five suffered 1,600 or 35 percent of these burns. This type of injury typically occurred when someone bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals. NFPA issues fire safety tips for grills - NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. Place the grill well away from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches, per manufacturer’s instructions. According to NFPA’s most recent fact sheet, 11 percent of home grill structure fires began when an outside wall caught fire and in roughly one of every five fires, the grill had not been cleaned. “As grilling season approaches, it is important that grillers review basic safety tips to ensure they are grilling properly and safely,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Failing to properly clean the grill or having the grill too close to something that could burn are the leading causes of fires. Good practice dictates that home chefs check for damage before using the grill for the first time each year, and to check the entire grill regularly.” Inspecting propane tank hoses NFPA offers tips for checking damage to propane tank hoses before using. Additional grilling fire safety tips include: Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the grill area Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the gates and trays below Never leave your grill unattended
NFPA and HFSC initiate action day to tackle the growing menace of home fires In the U.S., home fires claim the lives of seven people each day and injure 13,000 annually. Home fire sprinklers can help eliminate these tragedies, but legislative barriers and a general unawareness of this technology have prevented its use in new homes. Safety advocates across North America will be taking collective action on the same day to raise awareness of these challenges and a fire sprinkler’s life-saving ability. NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative The National Fire Protection Association's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are initiating Home Fire Sprinkler Day on Saturday, May 19, 2018. This project tasks safety advocates with hosting events that promote home fire sprinklers. While raising awareness of the home fire problem, these events will also underscore the life-saving impact of fire sprinklers and legislative barriers to its use. Research has proven that home fire sprinklers can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 80 percent. Residential fire and life safety “The alarming number of home fire deaths and injuries each year should serve as a call to action,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and HFSC’s president. “On Home Fire Sprinkler Day, we hope to illuminate the fire problem and its solution. Taking collective action will send a powerful message that fire sprinklers are widely accepted and must be required in all new homes.” On May 19, safety advocates in the U.S. and Canada will be hosting a variety of events, including side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstrations and fire department open houses featuring fire sprinkler information.
The National Electrical Code is updated every three years to include the latest in proven safety technology Flipping a light switch. Plugging in a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop or iPhone. These actions are second nature for most of us. Electricity makes our lives easier, but its potential for shock and fire-related hazards are often taken for granted. That is why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety, each May. “Computers, kitchen appliances, heaters, fans, air conditioners – any equipment powered by electricity has the potential to be involved in an electrical fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The good news is, people can take simple steps to greatly reduce electrical hazards like learning the proper way to plug in appliances, safeguarding electrical outlets in the home, and more.” Safety tips to prevent electrical fire hazards According to a recent NFPA report, U.S. Home Structure Fires, during 2011 – 2015 electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in the ignition of 34,000 reported home structure fires, on average, per year. These fires involved equipment such as wiring, lighting, cords and plugs. The report also states that electrical distribution or lighting equipment ranked first in direct property damage and third among the major fire causes in the number of home fires. The NFPA report states that electrical distribution or lighting equipment ranked first in direct property damage and third among the major fire causes in the number of home fires To help address this issue, NFPA and ESFI ask residents to adhere to the following safety tips: Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged. Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords. Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage in a lamp or other light fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use Inspection by a qualified electrician Residents should also have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodelling a home. In addition, residents should call a qualified electrician or landlord when encountering the following warning signs in a house or apartment: Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers A tingling feeling when touching an electrical appliance Discoloured or warm wall outlets A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance Flickering or dimming lights Sparks from an outlet “The National Electrical Code is updated every three years to include the latest in proven safety technology, and ESFI is committed to educating the public about the importance of upgrading to stay up to code,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “To prevent electrical fires and electric shock at home, have your house inspected annually by a qualified electrician.”
The project tasks safety advocates across the U.S. with hosting simultaneous events promoting home fire sprinklers Home fires claim the lives of seven people each day. Home fire sprinklers can help eliminate these tragedies, but legislative barriers and a general unawareness of this technology have prevented its use in new homes. America’s fire service and safety advocates will be able to take action in unison to raise national awareness of these challenges and a fire sprinkler’s life-saving ability. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are initiating Home Fire Sprinkler Day on May 19, 2018. This project tasks safety advocates across the U.S. with hosting simultaneous events promoting home fire sprinklers. While raising awareness of the home fire problem, these events will also underscore the life-saving impact of fire sprinklers and legislative barriers to its use. The aim is to have the fire service and other safety advocates host at least one sprinkler-related event on the same day in all 50 states. Illuminating fire problem and its solution “The alarming number of home fire deaths and injuries each year should be on the radar of every decision maker and member of the media,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and HFSC’s president. “Through this event, we hope to illuminate the fire problem and its solution on a national scale. Fire sprinklers have been a U.S. model building code requirement since 2009, yet challenges to its adoption still exist. Taking action collectively will send a powerful message that fire sprinklers are widely accepted and must be embraced in every state.” Taking action is easy. Some possible activities include: Host a side-by-side live burn/fire sprinkler demonstration Conduct a fire department open house featuring fire sprinkler information and sprinkler riser display
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says these dramatizations turned a spotlight on fire safety, a topic many think little about until it’s too late Over the past few weeks, the NBC television show, ‘This is Us’, has effectively dramatized home fire missteps that can have deadly consequences. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says these dramatizations turned a spotlight on fire safety, a topic many think little about until it’s too late. “‘This is Us’ showed viewers how characters’ actions and oversights led to tragedy and provides a powerful opportunity to talk about what can be done to prevent fire fatalities in real life,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. Increase in number of deaths due to home fire Generating conversation and increased awareness around home fire safety is more important than ever. While the number of U.S. home fires has declined in recent decades, the likelihood of dying if you have a home fire has actually increased. This is largely due to the fact that today’s home fires burn faster, minimising the amount of time people have to escape safely. In ‘This is Us’, the Pearson family made critical errors in escaping a home fire. First and foremost, no one should ever re-enter a burning building. Getting outside and staying out once you’ve escaped a burning building is among the most critical take-aways from the show" Never ever enter a burning building “Getting outside and staying out once you’ve escaped a burning building is among the most critical take-aways from the show,” said Carli. “If a person or pet is still trapped inside, tell the firefighters where you think that person might be. Never ever go back inside a burning building.” Carli notes that it is unlikely that Jack would have been able to re-enter the home, locate the dog and other momentos, and safely exit through the front door with the fire raging quickly. Importance of smoke alarms In addition, a home escape plan would have been a big help to the family, ensuring that they each knew how to exit the home as effectively and efficiently as possible. They also would have known to call the fire department immediately upon getting out. Previous ‘This is Us’ episodes highlighted the vital importance of installing batteries in smoke alarms, as well as making sure cooking appliances are in good working order and kept well away from anything that can burn. According to NFPA research, the majority of fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The award honours other advocates involved in activities that help advance NFPA’s mission: to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge, and passion The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is accepting applications for the 2018 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal, which recognises outstanding efforts of people taking a firm stance on fire and life safety issues. The James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal was established in honour of former NFPA President James Shannon. Under his leadership, NFPA significantly advanced its mission of protecting the general public and members of the fire service by working towards key changes to reduce fire loss. Shannon, for example, was a vocal advocate for home fire sprinklers and intensified NFPA’s efforts to support requirements for this technology. Honouring advocates who saves lives The award honours other advocates involved in activities that help advance NFPA’s mission: to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge, and passion. “This award honours fire and life safety advocacy at its best,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “We take pride in recognising these courageous individuals who have been vocal allies in the push for a safer world.” Nominations are open to members of the fire service or any other person or group advocating for a cause pertaining to fire and life safety. Candidates who have collaborated with NFPA and beyond to help spread the reach of their efforts are strongly encouraged to apply. The award recipient will be honoured at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in June.
Between 2011 and 2015, portable and stationary space heaters accounted for more than two of every five U.S. home heating fires and five out of six home heating fire deaths Keeping sufficiently warm during the winter months can prove challenging, particularly when frigid temperatures persist, as they have recently for much of the country. While portable space heaters can help generate heat, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding the public that they do present potential fire hazards and must be used with caution. According to NFPA’s latest U.S. Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment report, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths. More than half (53 percent) of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding. Precautions to take while using space heaters Between 2011 and 2015, portable and stationary space heaters accounted for more than two of every five (43 percent) U.S. home heating fires and five out of six (85 percent) home heating fire deaths. “Space heaters can be effective tools for providing added warmth at home, but it’s critical that people follow basic precautions to ensure that they’re used safely,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy division. Carli says space heaters should be placed a minimum of three feet away from anything that can burn, and must be turned off when people leave the room or go to sleep. “Make sure children and pets are kept well away from space heaters at all times, and remember that space heaters should never be left unattended,” said Carli. “When you’re ready to go to sleep, it’s time to turn off your space heater.” ‘Put a Freeze on Winter Fires’ an annual campaign run by NFPA and the USFA, provides a wealth of information and resources to help reduce the risk of home fires Reducing the risk of home fires December, January and February are the leading months for home heating fires. The peak time of day for home heating equipment fires is between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (27 percent of fires), with another 20 percent occurring between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. The fewest fires occur between midnight and 8:00 a.m. (18 percent), but these fires caused almost half of the heating fire deaths. ‘Put a Freeze on Winter Fires’ an annual campaign run by NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), provides a wealth of information and resources to help reduce the risk of home fires during the heating season. Following are important home heating safety tips and recommendations: Have a three-foot 'kid-free zone' around open fires and space heaters. Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company. Never use your oven to heat your home.
Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live Every year, brush, grass and forest fires burn across the U.S., and more people are living where wildfires are a real risk. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when will a community experience a wildfire threat. To help address this wildfire challenge, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm are announcing the launch of the project funding awards application period for its’ fifth national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 5, 2018, which helps communities prepare for and reduce their risk of wildfire damage. Funding for 150 wildfire risk reduction projects State Farm is providing funding to NFPA for the Preparedness Day event and a portion will be awarded to 150 neighbourhood wildfire risk reduction projects being implemented on Saturday, May 5. Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. A free webinar, ‘Completing a Successful Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Funding Application’, will be held on Thursday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. Project applications can be submitted through March 2. During Preparedness Day 2017, more than 400 projects were undertaken in 37 states and 150 recipients received funding from State Farm During Preparedness Day 2017, more than 400 projects were undertaken in 37 states and 150 recipients received funding from State Farm for activities that helped make residents and firefighters safer when wildfires happen. Taking actions regarding wildfire safety According to reports, on average, wildfires burn twice as much land area each year as they did 40 years ago, and the threat continues to increase. In 2017, California saw its largest fire in history, the Thomas Fire, burn over 273,000 acres and claim the lives of two people, including a firefighter. Wildfires once described by ‘seasons’ are now burning earlier and later in the year across the U.S. "NFPA is pleased to be working with State Farm on our fifth Preparedness Day campaign," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. "For the last four years we have watched participation continue to grow. In 2017 we saw devastating wildfires affect communities across the U.S., but we are encouraged and inspired by the number of residents who feel empowered to take the necessary action with regard to wildfire safety." “State Farm finds it important to inform and encourage homeowners and communities to adopt effective wildfire mitigation programs that produce stronger, safer homes where lives are saved and a family’s largest investment is better protected,” said Vickie Hodges, Underwriting Analyst.
Not just for the lawn: sprinklers should be brought inside the home to maximize domestic fire protection A new NFPA advocacy campaign is pushing for home fire sprinklers. In this article Lorraine Carli, Vice-President of Communications at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gives her personal take on the issue. Nearly 10 years ago, my husband and I built our home in a typical New England development. It was a demanding process filled with lots of decisions. We picked sizes and colors for countless products. We learned that faucets don't come with handles and toilets don't come with seats - those are separate choices. Most of the choices we made added to the cost, a few hundred dollars here, a few thousand there. We also chose sprinklers - for our lawn. (This despite the fact that I think suburban lawns are overrated and not worth the cost and effort of trying to keep them green all summer.) We were fortunate to have a good contractor to guide us through the process and tell us which decisions were more important than others. But he never told us about home fire sprinklers, and we never asked. After all, that was about seven years before I came to work at NFPA. Since then, my perspective has changed. Like many of my colleagues in the fire safety business, I've become hypersensitive about fire protection. I go to the movie theater and look for the exits, and I look for the sprinklers when I check into a hotel. The argument for domestic fire sprinklers One of my first assignments at NFPA was to coordinate the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes with Gary Keith, NFPA's vice-president for Field Operations and Education. In just three years, life-saving legislation requiring cigarettes to meet a fire safety standard has been enacted in almost 40 states. "You are 82 percent less likely to die in a house fire if sprinklers and working smoke alarms are both present" The campaign has been successful for a number of reasons: it advocates the use of a proven, effective technology; it is championed by, among others, the fire service, which lends the argument a strong, credible voice; and it is singularly focused on one goal - saving lives. Since smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire fatalities, fire-safe cigarettes will undoubtedly have a meaningful impact on the fire death problem in this country. Home fire sprinklers can have the same impact. We have long relied on the effectiveness of sprinklers in other types of buildings, including high rises, schools, and hospitals. NFPA has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely ‘sprinklered' public assembly, educational, institutional, or residential building where the system was working properly. You are 82 percent less likely to die in a house fire if sprinklers and working smoke alarms are both present. Fire service members across the country support home fire sprinklers in model codes and local ordinances. In fact, there are now more than 400 U.S. communities with some kind of home fire sprinkler requirement, and all the model codes include a sprinkler provision. Bringing fire sprinklers home Fire sprinklers are already used in many public buildings including offices, hospitals and schools NFPA recently launched the "Fire Sprinkler Initiative-Bringing Safety Home," a nationwide effort to encourage the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction. Key components of the campaign are the important educational resources developed by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition over the past 11 years. The new initiative is very exciting, as we look to further reduce the fire risk to lives and property. It won't be easy. We will battle common myths surrounding sprinklers, including notions that they cost too much or that a fire will cause them all to go off at the same time and soak an entire house. While neither is true, such myths are perpetuated by both the uninformed and those who hope to scare people away from an idea that makes sense. But myths can be corrected with accurate information. Fire deaths in the United States have been substantially reduced in recent decades, but there is still more to do. Fires continue to kill almost 3,000 people every year. Home fire sprinklers should be as common as smoke alarms in homes, and they should not be a choice, as they were for my husband and me. If I were building my home today, the lawn wouldn't be the only place with sprinklers.Lorraine Carli - Vice-President of Communications, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend typically includes lots of celebrations and cookouts, often with outdoor grilling as a focal point. As the holiday and summer months near, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds everyone of basic safety tips and precautions to grill and celebrate safely. NFPA data shows that from 2014-2018, fire departments responded to an annual average of 10,600 home fires annually involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues. This includes 4,900 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage. Grilling Season The peak months for grilling fires are July (18 percent of grilling fires), June (15 percent), May (13 percent), and August (12 percent), though grill fires occur year-round. Leading causes of grill fires include failing to clean the grill, the heat source being located too close to combustible materials, leaving equipment unattended, and leaks or breaks in the grill or fuel source. “As grilling season approaches, it is important to review basic safety tips to ensure grillers are using equipment properly and safely, especially if the grill hasn’t been used over the winter,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Establishing a firesafe location for using your grill is also crucial. It should be a safe distance from your home and other items that can burn.” Increased use of Grills Carli notes that as people continue to stay home in response to the pandemic, there may be increased use of grills and other outdoor cooking equipment this season, making it critically important to share these messages with the public. A yearly average of 19,700 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills A yearly average of 19,700 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Nearly half (9,500 or 48 percent) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns were caused by such contact or other non-fire events. Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 (39 percent) of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when a child bumped into, touched, or fell on the grill, grill part, or hot coals. Tips and Recommendations NFPA offers these and other tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season: For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches Always make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area If one uses starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire When one has or is finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of in a metal container Never leave the grill unattended when in use
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced that the NFPA Standards Council has approved the development of NFPA 420, Standard on Fire Protection of Cannabis Growing and Processing Facilities. The new standard, which was originally proposed in response to serious fires that have occurred at cannabis facilities in recent years, will provide clear guidance on fire protection standards for facilities that produce, process, and extract cannabis. Fire protection aspects of growing and processing facilities “With the rapid legalization of medical and/or recreational use of cannabis throughout the U.S. and the exponential growth of cannabis facilities around the globe, developing provisions that minimize fire and associated risks for facility staff and first responders - as well as nearby structures and occupants - is critical to safety,” said Kristin Bigda, Technical Lead of Building and Life Safety at NFPA. The overall goal is addressing the protection of facilities from fire and related hazards NFPA 420 will build upon the work started several years ago in NFPA 1, Fire Code, which addresses the fire protection aspects of the growing and processing facilities. The new stand-alone document will expand upon those requirements, referencing appropriate resources as needed, with the overall goal of addressing the protection of facilities from fire and related hazards where cannabis is being grown, processed, extracted, and/or tested. NFPA 420 Intend Blazes at cannabis facilities across the U.S. continue to be reported in the news, underscoring the timeliness and relevance of the new standard. Earlier this month, a three-alarm fire destroyed a cannabis facility in Shelton, Washington. NFPA 420 is envisioned by the council to include requirements for inspecting, systems testing, and maintenance of cannabis growing, processing, and extraction facilities. It also is anticipated to establish the general skills, knowledge, and experience required among facility operators and facility managers responsible for ensuring adequate levels of safety at these facilities. The start-up roster for the Technical Committee on Fire Protection of Cannabis Growing and Processing Facilities (CGP-AAA) will be appointed at the NFPA Standards Council meeting in August 2021. Applications to serve on the committee are being accepted through June 15, 2021.
As people continue to balance work, school, and daily living at home, or are employed in the office or out in the field, it is critical that homes and workplaces are electrically safe, secure, and efficient. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers, each May. This year’s theme, “Connected to Safety,” focuses on emerging technology. From understanding how to charge electrical vehicles at home and use household electrical safety devices to working safely with or around solar panels and temporary power, homeowners and workers can take steps to greatly reduce electrical hazards associated with the latest technological advancements. “Exposure to electricity poses a real injury risk to workers and the public, especially as new technology is introduced in our homes and vocations,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Many people are not aware of electrical dangers and yet each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. National Electrical Safety Month helps better educate people about the true dangers of electricity and ways to prevent related tragedies from happening.” Electrical Safety Month During Electrical Safety Month, homeowners can take these simple steps to reduce risk: Learn the importance of using surge protective devices to protect against damaging power surges that can destroy electrical equipment in the home Use grounded outlets that guard against electric shock Use a smart plug or power strip to turn off power when devices are not in use Residents should have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home. Even during this time of social distancing, electricians are still working and considered essential businesses in every state. According to NFPA and ESFI, contact with electricity is a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. During National Electrical Safety Month, electrical and non-electrical workers are encouraged to participate in safety training programs that focus on personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and risk assessments to help avoid electrical injuries, deaths, and OSHA violations, as outlined in NFPA 70, National Electrical Code® (NEC®) and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. 125th Anniversary Conference Series When exposed to electricity, electrical and non-electrical workers need to follow these steps to ensure proper safety procedures on the job: Design and install temporary wiring according to OSHA, the NEC and NFPA 70E® requirements Have a qualified electrician install temporary power at a work site Consider all overhead lines to be live, energized, and dangerous In May, NFPA will launch its 125th Anniversary Conference Series, a year-long virtual event that will replace the 2021 Conference & Expo and feature educational content, industry roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, and more for building and life safety professionals and practitioners. Empowering Electrical Design On May 18, the first program of the series, Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety, will highlight the latest code requirements, safety practices, and applicable technology developments in the electrical industry. Learn more about the series and register for the full-day electrical program. NFPA recently launched, Faces of Fire/Electrical, a video awareness campaign focused on electrical hazards and created in collaboration with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. The series reminds everyone about the importance of taking action – at home and in the workplace – to stop electrical incidents from happening.
An electric vehicle (EV) crash in Woodlands, Texas has prompted significant scrutiny and calls for emergency personnel to be trained on the fire risks associated with high voltage, lithium batteries within EVs (electric vehicles). In response to the tragic accident that killed two occupants last week, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are reminding first and second responders that resources are available to help safely address incidents involving EVs. Although the cause of the recent Tesla incident is still being determined, news reports indicate that, despite intense heat, the fire was extinguished within four minutes. Firefighters; however, remained on scene for four hours cooling the car’s battery with tens of thousands of gallons of water. electric vehicle The popularity of EVs is growing, according to online car shopping site Edmunds. "We're not only about to see a massive leap in the number of EVs available in the market; we're also going to see a more diverse lineup of electric vehicles that better reflect current consumer preferences. And given that the new presidential administration has pledged its support for electrification, the U.S. is likely to see incentive programs targeted at fostering the growth of this technology further," Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights said. The company went on to say that 30 EVs from 21 brands will become available for sale this year, compared to 17 vehicles from 12 brands in 2020. Notably, this will be the first year that there will be offerings in all three major vehicle categories: cars, SUVs, and trucks. While EVs are great for the environment, new technologies often present a learning curve for first responders. In the interest of public and responder safety, NTSB investigated four EV incidents and released a thorough report in November on hazards and gaps. In particular, the NTSB identified two concerning trends: Inadequate vehicle manufacturers’ emergency response guides Gaps in both safety standards and research related to lithium-ion batteries involved in high-speed, high-severity crashes fire suppression The NTSB also found, in part, that: Damage and fire because of a crash may prevent first responders from disabling the high voltage in electric vehicles Thermal runaway and battery reignitions after initial fire suppression can pose additional challenges Stranded energy can cause electric shock and potential fire hazards Safely storing an electric vehicle with a damaged high-voltage lithium-ion battery in a tow yard may not be feasible NFPA has been developing EV safety information for 12 years. The association has worked with every auto/truck/bus manufacturer who sells EVs and hybrids in this country and has received pre-market safety information so that responders have the most up-to-date training, tools, and resources. The NFPA EV Safety Training website, is the most accessed repository in the U.S. for EV responder safety information. This dedicated site offers videos on stranded energy, responder tactics, a fact sheet with on-scene safety information, and direct links to all NFPA EV Safety Training courses and vehicle resources, including U.S. EV Emergency Response Guides. NFPA Distributed Energy Resources Safety Training program To help communities deal with EV-related response and the infrastructure challenges that go together with market growth, NFPA has secured two Department of Energy (DOE) grants related to EVs. The first, entitled NFPA Spurs the Safe Adoption of EVs through Education and Outreach, will allow NFPA to develop free EV safety training for utilities, code officials, charging station installers, EV fleet owners, tow and salvage responders, crash reconstruction teams, manufacturers, dealerships, garage maintenance workers, insurance companies, and EV owners. As part of that effort, NFPA, in conjunction with Clean Cities Coalitions, will also set up community planning meetings in 30 cities around the country to help prepare these locations for a large influx of EVs. The second effort calls for enhancing and promoting an NFPA Distributed Energy Resources Safety Training program. NFPA will update its current EV Safety classroom training for the fire service and develop an online gamification version of the distributed energy resource including how to respond to electric vehicle fires.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and plans to commemorate the momentous milestone through a series of events and initiatives that reflect the steadfast commitment to fire, electrical, and life safety by the Association. Key to the celebration is the launch of a virtual 125th Anniversary Conference Series that replaces the traditional in-person 2021 NFPA Conference & Expo. The online conference series runs from May 2021 through March 2022. “This is a year of celebration and education,” said NFPA President & CEO Jim Pauley. “We created a year-long virtual conference series to be able to offer a more tailored and personalized experience for participants. From comprehensive workshops to discussions on the latest advancements in fire technology, what participants learn in these sessions will improve safety around the globe.” industry roundtable discussions The conference series features 10 one-day programs for building, electrical, and life safety professionals and practitioners that collectively offer more than 100 informative education sessions, engaging content, industry roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, live chat sessions, and exhibitor demonstrations. Led by pioneering industry experts, program sessions cover a broad range of topic areas from the impact of new technology on codes and standards and the use of data to drive safety, to community risk reduction and public education strategies aimed at protecting people and property. The sessions are designed to help professionals adjust to changing industry needs and more effectively and efficiently perform their daily work. NFPA has furthered safety by facilitating the development of codes and standards, research, and education Since 1896, NFPA has furthered safety by facilitating the development of codes and standards, research, and education for fire and related safety issues. The Association has seen success through the tireless work and support of its more than 250 technical committees comprised of approximately 9,000 volunteers from 42 countries, its more than 40,000 global members, and countless professionals who use NFPA resources to fulfill the mission of reducing loss. 125th Conference Series “Just about anywhere people go, the impact NFPA has on their safety is ever-present in their daily lives,” said Pauley. “From cultural icons and industrial and energy storage plants to entertainment venues, libraries, marinas, homes, and businesses, NFPA codes and standards provide critical safety benchmarks to ensure people and property are protected from harm.” The 125th Conference Series will kick off on May 18 with an “Empowering Electrical Design, Installation, and Safety” one-day program. Participants can take advantage of two learning tracks and nine sessions that focus on issues related to design and installation, new and emerging technology, and workplace safety in the electrical landscape.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) launched a new Fire Prevention Program Manager Online Training Series today to help the building industry understand and adopt the strategies defined in NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, which calls for a fire prevention program and a designated manager to enforce safety onsite. The topic will also be discussed by a panel of industry experts during an Addressing Fire Safety Challenges During Construction webinar on April 15. Online Training Series In recent weeks, massive building under construction fires have occurred in Las Vegas, Nev., Dallas, Tex., and Everett, Wash., underscoring NFPA research which shows an average of 3,840 fires in structures under construction and 2,580 fires in structures under major renovation per year. Building under construction fires causes an average of four civilian deaths, 49 civilian injuries, and $304 million in direct property damage annually, while fires in buildings undergoing major renovation cause an average of eight civilian deaths, 52 civilian injuries, and $104 million in direct property damage annually. Construction Sites “We need to enhance safety on construction sites by ensuring that more building owners, contractors, trade workers, and code enforcers are informed about construction site fire prevention and protection strategies,” NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley said. “This new online learning, centered around NFPA 241, was developed in the spirit of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, which emphasizes the importance of applying referenced standards, investing in safety, and a skilled workforce.” Fire Protection Engineers Fire protection engineers have the skills needed to ensure the safety of buildings under construction Although NFPA 241 calls for a fire prevention program manager, credentials for the role are virtually non-existent in the market today. To help construction company leaders, building owners, job site supervisors, code officials, fire marshals, facility managers, and fire protection engineers have the skills needed to ensure the safety of buildings under construction, NFPA developed the new five-hour, five-part online learning series, assessment, and digital badge based on the anticipated job performance requirements (JPRs) for fire prevention program managers proposed for the next edition of NFPA 241. The training covers general fire protection awareness for all people on construction sites and the role of fire prevention program managers on a construction project with an emphasis on: Building safety and fire protection systems Hazard protection Inspections, permits, and procedures This NFPA online training series is intended for fire prevention program managers who are new to the role. The course is designed to help learn how to actively manage a fire prevention program for a typical construction project. Addressing Fire Safety Challenges The NFPA webinar scheduled for April 15 will feature a panel of industry experts discussing key considerations for construction site fire safety, including fire risks and the role of the fire prevention program manager, with time allotted for a robust Q&A session. Webinar panelists providing perspective on the topic include: Jim Begley, PE, FSFPE, CFM, TERPconsulting, principal Matthew Bourque, PE, WS Development, director of Fire Protection and Construction Operations Dick Davis, PE, FM Global, AVP, senior engineering technical specialist Nicholas Dawe, division chief/fire marshal, Cobb County (Ga.) Fire and Emergency Services
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors introduce an additional, final video interview of its Faces of Fire/Electrical series, which features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents and demonstrates the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards in the workplace and at home. Arc Flash Event In August 2004, Don Johnson, an electrician from Florida, was at work connecting a client’s backup generator for use during an impending hurricane when a failure of his rotation tester or a loose clip shorted out in a 4,000 amp/480-volt switchgear section he was working on, creating an arc flash event that destroyed much of the equipment and blew him against a wall nearly killing him. Johnson survived but suffered third-degree burns on his face, neck, and arms, and spent years recovering from his injuries. Arc flash, also known as flashover, is the light and heat produced as part of an arc fault, and a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from an unintended electrical connection through the air to the ground or another phase of the electrical system. An arc flash is one of the most devastating and deadly electrical hazards present in today’s workplace; it can produce temperatures as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit and cause severe burns, hearing loss, eye injuries, skin damage from blasts of molten metal, lung damage, and blast injuries. An NFPA report estimates that five to 10 arc flash incidents occur every day, and more than 2,000 people are treated annually in burn centers with arc flash injuries. NFPA 70E®, Standard for Workplace Electrical Safety NFPA 70E emphasizes the importance of performing a solid risk assessment that examines all aspects of the hazards “Electrical professionals face numerous hazards every day on the job, including shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast, therefore it is critical that employers and workers take a shared responsibility for safety protection including the creation and implementation of an electrical safety program,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. “The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign reminds us that ignoring even basic safety rules can lead to serious injuries and death.” Both shock and arc flash, in addition to other electrical hazards, have been the focus of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Workplace Electrical Safety® and OSHA standards since the late 1970s. NFPA 70E emphasizes the importance of performing a solid risk assessment that examines all aspects of the hazards to which employees are exposed and provides a valuable tool to determine how best to mitigate the potential danger. Faces of Fire/Electrical Faces of Fire/Electrical features personal stories of electrical burn survivors whose lives have been forever altered and how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes. Woven into these stories of resilience is an additional interview with a physician dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from a burn injury. A recent NFPA Podcast features three renowned doctors whose research and work with electrical burn patients helps explain what a powerful shock can do to the body, the treatments available, and how an understanding of these injures is continuing to evolve. Through these interviews, written profiles, and related information, Faces of Fire/Electrical is a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers, and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety. Teaching and Supporting Burn Survivor Community While many electrical injuries prove fatal, those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries and lasting emotional and physical impact. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign ultimately works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention. Since his injury, Johnson has returned to his company as a service manager and continues to advocate for electrical workplace safety.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors have introduced the latest video interview in their six-part campaign series, Faces of Fire/Electrical hazard awareness campaign, which features personal stories of people impacted by electrical incidents, demonstrating the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards in the workplace and at home. Firefighter safety Awareness Luis Nevarez, Fire Chief in the City of Tulare Fire Department in California, is the fourth video interview in the campaign. While responding to a call as a firefighter in 2002, Nevarez accidentally touched a hidden 12,000-volt line while breaking a limb off a smoldering tree. The incident caused severe burn injuries, which resulted in the amputation of his left forearm. Nevarez spent 35 days in the hospital following his accident, and months recovering from his injuries. According to a NFPA report, an estimated 58,250 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2018 Firefighter injuries in line of duty According to the latest U.S. Firefighter Injury Report from NFPA, an estimated 58,250 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2018, with more than 4,000 injuries reported while responding to or returning from a fire incident. Firefighters were also more likely to be injured at fire-ground operations (nearly 23,000 injuries) than at other types of duties. Although the majority of firefighter injuries are minor, a significant number are often debilitating and career ending. The cost of firefighter injuries is estimated to range between US$ 1.6 and US$ 5.9 billion annually. Focus on treatment of electrical hazards in the workplace “Exposure to electricity can pose a real injury risk to non-electrical workers, including firefighters operating at emergency scenes,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy, adding “The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign reminds us that gaps still exist in the understanding and treatment of electrical hazards in the workplace, including the fire-ground.” Contrary to the belief that electrical dangers are present only at vehicle accidents or structure fires, electrical lines can present safety risks in nearly every fire and emergency situation. The warning signs, however, are not always visible that allow firefighters to recognize the dangers. Systemic changes to enhance firefighters’ safety Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign features six personal stories of electrical burn survivors Through more systemic changes, including training and education about the electrical hazards that firefighters face while on call of duty, they can be better equipped to identify the warnings early and reduce their risk of injuries from electricity, including treating all electrical lines and components as live until such time they are deemed safe. Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign features six personal stories of electrical burn survivors whose lives have been forever altered and how more understanding, training, and a change in work culture could have significantly impacted these outcomes. Woven into these stories of resilience is an additional interview with a physician dedicated to the complete physical and emotional healing of patients suffering from a burn injury. Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign Through these video interviews, written profiles, and related information, Faces of Fire/Electrical is a resource for electrical and non-electrical workers, and the general public to learn more about the importance of electrical safety. While many electrical injuries prove fatal, those that are not can be particularly debilitating, oftentimes involving complicated recoveries and lasting emotional and physical impact. The Faces of Fire/Electrical campaign ultimately works to help build a safer world by teaching others and supporting the burn survivor community in advancing lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn and injury prevention. Since his injury, Nevarez trained his way back to full-duty firefighter status and later division chief, the position in which he continues to advocate for workplace safety for members of the fire service.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is seeking U.S.-based fire departments for the second phase of their Community Risk Assessment (CRA) dashboard project. Much like Phase I, participating departments in Phase II will receive free access to a personalized NFPA CRA Digital Dashboard for three months, in addition to professional networking and development opportunities surrounding Community Risk Reduction (CRR), in return for feedback about the tool. NFPA CRA Digital Dashboard With user-friendly maps, graphs, and other tools that can assist leaders in recognizing the people, places, and conditions that impact safety and risk, the CRA Digital Dashboard can be used to: Assist teams in developing data informed CRR plans. Communicate findings with stakeholders, grantors, and partners. Drive effective and impactful program development in the prevention space. This new generation of customized dashboards has been updated to reflect the comments gained from current participants, and now feature two unique options that can better serve the needs of different communities. The new dashboard options will make it easier for even more communities to engage in the CRR process. 3-person liaison for each participating fire department To support participation in the project, each applying fire department should be prepared to appoint a 3-person liaison team that comprises a CRR leader, the fire chief and a third member who represents a community agency or provides additional fire department support. They should - Has basic knowledge about fire department data Is connected to the CRR efforts in the department and community Is willing to use the tool as part of a larger CRR plan Will provide feedback to the NFPA CRR team to assist in tool improvement Can meet additional data requirements, if interested in Dashboard B Can be granted authority to serve in this role Community Risk Reduction Community Risk Reduction is a data-driven process that helps leaders identify high risks to their communities Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is a data-driven process that helps leaders identify high risks to their communities, as well as strategic ways to prioritize and alleviate them. “CRA is the first step in any CRR plan, but it can be difficult to know the best way to use your data,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. She adds, “The NFPA CRA digital dashboard will help those involved in CRR tell the data story of their community.” NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development is the foundation for these customized dashboards, which are powdered by mySidewalk, a creative Community Intelligence Platform specializing in digital data visualization. During this phase 250 fire departments will be accepted on a rolling basis until December 16, 2020. Selections to fill the 250 slots will take place at three points during the application period, which closes on December 16th. The pilot will run through June 2021.
The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office (HCFMO) is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, ‘Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” Cooking, Key cause of home fires The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half or approx. 44% of reported home fires start in the kitchen. Furthermore, two-thirds or approx. 66% of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. 2020 Fire Prevention Week campaign The HCFMO encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme The HCFMO encourages all residents to embrace the 2020 Fire Prevention Week theme. “The most important step you should take before making a meal is to “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” said Fire Chief, Laurie L. Christensen, of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office (HCFMO). Laurie adds, “A cooking fire can grow quickly. I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.” Importance of staying alert while cooking “We know cooking fires can be prevented,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of outreach and advocacy, adding “Staying in the kitchen, using a timer and avoiding distractions, such as electronics or TV are steps that everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes.” The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office wants to share safety tips to keep people safe from cooking fire incidents. The safety tips include: Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling. If one has to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove. If simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly and remain in the home, while the food is cooking. Also, one can use a timer during cooking. Be alert when cooking. One cannot be alert if they are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes them drowsy. Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool. Have a ‘kid-free zone’ of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is hosting a coloring contest for Fire Prevention Week and National Night Out. The grand prize is a mini-parade with an HCFMO fire truck and HazMat response vehicle.
In a typical year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages the public to only attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals, reflecting its’ long-standing position against consumer use of fireworks. However, with public fireworks events around the country being canceled in the year 2020, NFPA is vigorously discouraging individuals’ use of consumer fireworks, recognizing that the likelihood of such activities may increase in the absence of public displays. “While fireworks are an emblem of July 4 celebrations, in the absence of public displays this year, we strongly encourage people to find safe and creative alternatives for celebrating the holiday,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Fireworks are simply too dangerous and unpredictable to be used safely by consumers. Even sparklers, which are often considered harmless enough for children, burn as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns.” First responders and emergency room staff Fireworks’ incidents place undue burdens on first responders and emergency room staff In addition to the harm consumer fireworks can inflict on individuals, Carli notes that fireworks’ incidents place undue burdens on first responders and emergency room staff. “First responders and our health care services have been working tirelessly to protect the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carli. “A great way for people to show their support is to avoid consumer use of fireworks and help minimize the number of avoidable incidents that require response and care.” Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. Avoiding fireworks injury Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency rooms around the month of July 4, 2018 were to extremities According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 non-occupational fireworks related injuries; burns accounted for 44 percent of the fireworks injuries seen in the month around July 4. Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency rooms around the month of July 4, 2018 were to extremities, particularly the hand or finger or leg. One-third were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children ages 10-14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36 percent) of the victims of fireworks injuries in this period under age 15. “Fireworks cause thousands of needless fires and injuries each year,” said Carli. “By simply choosing not to use consumer fireworks, these types of incidents can be easily prevented, lessening the strain on already overtaxed first responders and emergency room workers.” Providing safety resources amidst COVID-19 As all continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting with the resources needs to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, one can visit the organization’s webpage. Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission.
Home improvement projects that resist flames and embers. Teaching neighbors about wildfire risks and how to reduce them. Removing flammable debris that could fuel a wildfire. These and other related activities are being actively supported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm via the National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day campaign. The seventh annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day will take place on Saturday, May 2, 2020. Since 2014, community groups and individuals have taken part in the campaign, completing hundreds of wildfire safety projects across the United States. Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. wildfire risk reduction project In 2018, nearly all of the $13 billion in property damage and losses from large fire incidents was due to just six wildfires Financial support from State Farm will once again enable NFPA to provide 150 applicants from across the country with $500 awards to complete a wildfire risk reduction project on Saturday, May 2. Project applications can be submitted through February 28, 2020. Currently, an estimated 43 million homes are in areas prone to wildfire, and wildfire risk is present in every state. In 2018, nearly all of the $13 billion in property damage and losses from large fire incidents was due to just six wildfires. That same year, 88 people were killed in wildfires, most in the devastating Camp Fire that obliterated the town of Paradise, California. effective wildfire mitigation programs "According to the recent, staggering statistics, preparing our communities for wildfire is more critical today than ever before,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. "NFPA and State Farm work closely together on this yearly campaign in a continued effort to raise awareness and educate homeowners that they have the power to save their homes and communities before a wildfire ignites, and we have the resources and information to help.” “State Farm finds it important to inform and encourage homeowners and communities to adopt effective wildfire mitigation programs that produce stronger, safer homes where lives are saved and a family’s largest investment is better protected,” said Vickie Hodges, State Farm Underwriting Analyst.
Nearly one-third (29 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occurs in January. With this potential fire hazard in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly encourages everyone to remove Christmas trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season. “Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. recycling program “The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes. NFPA statistics show that Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do occur, they’re much more likely to be serious. On annual average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to one death per 135 total reported home structure fires. All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds,” said Carli. NFPA recommends using the local community’s recycling program for tree disposal, if possible “In recent years, we’ve seen tragic incidents where Christmas tree fires have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children.” NFPA recommends using the local community’s recycling program for tree disposal, if possible; trees should not be put in the garage or left outside. shock or electrical fire The association also offers these tips for safely removing lighting and decorations and storing them properly to ensure that they’re in good condition the following season: Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire. As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires. Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard. Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is accepting nominations for the 2020 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal, which recognises outstanding advocacy efforts aimed at reducing losses associated with fire, electrical, or other hazards. The advocacy medal honours an individual or group that shares the values of former NFPA President James Shannon. During his 12-year tenure as president, Shannon had an exceptional record of advocacy efforts tied to life safety issues. Under his leadership, NFPA considerably advanced its mission of fire safety, most notably by spearheading the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes and advocating for fire sprinklers in all new homes. Search for unsung heroes Nominees should also be involved in advocacy efforts that advance NFPA’s mission, take into account cost-effectiveness, and involve collaboration with NFPA and other organisations. Previous medal recipients include Jon Nisja who played a key role in changing model codes and strengthening Minnesota’s fire code. NFPA recognized Jim Dalton in 2018 for his efforts supporting a career-long commitment to fire safety which led to the passage of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Legislator Ann Jones received the medal in 2017 following her efforts leading to a nationwide requirement for home fire sprinklers in Wales. NFPA’s Conference & Expo “We are looking for those unsung heroes who are diligently working on creating safer communities,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Their strong voices backed by action are having a profound impact on life safety either on the local or national level. The Shannon Advocacy Medal is our way of expressing our gratitude for their efforts.” Nominations are open to members of the fire service or any other person or group whose advocacy efforts meet the award’s criteria. The medal recipient will be honoured at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, in June 2020. NFPA will cover the recipient’s travel and lodging.
Today’s home fires burn faster than ever, making escape planning all the more critical to home fire safety. Studies show that in the past, people had approximately 17 minutes to escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Now they may have as little as two minutes to get out safely. NFPA Fire Prevention Week With these concerns in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced ‘Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape!’ as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 6-12, 2019. Working to better educate the public about the importance of home escape planning and practice, the theme recognizes the potentially heroic impact of everyday people who put these messages into action. “Home escape planning and practice may seem so basic that it’s not even necessary, but in reality, these efforts can have tremendous impact,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “We’ve seen time and again that advance planning can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire situation.” Home escape planning and practice NFPA statistics show that the number of reported U.S. home fires in 2018 is half that reported in 1980 NFPA statistics show that the number of reported U.S. home fires in 2018 is half that reported in 1980. However, the death rate per 1000 reported fires has remained fairly steady, reflecting the continued challenges of safely escaping today’s home fires. While home is the place people are at greatest risk to fire - approximately 80 percent of all U.S. fire deaths occur in homes - people tend to underestimate their risk. That over-confidence lends itself to complacency toward home escape planning and practice. Importance of functional smoke and fire alarms “Most people don’t recognize the true value of home escape planning until they’ve experienced a home fire, and by then it’s too late to start developing a plan,” said Carli. “The people who take the time to prepare in advance really are heroes – their actions can help make their families much safer from fire.” A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home. Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household. Each year, fire departments throughout the U.S. implement Fire Prevention Week and its messages in their communities.
NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are partnering up to help ensure those living spaces are as safe as possible through their Campus Fire Safety for Students campaign. The campaign raises awareness about the threat of fire among college students in both on- and off-campus housing, and puts relevant information in the hands of parents, staff, and students, who are encouraged to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their peers against fire. Many of the resources offered are designed to be shared through social media, school newspapers, college websites, and posted in dormitory common areas. These resources include videos, checklists, infographics, tip sheets, and more. According to NFPA, from 2013-2016, local fire departments responded to an average of 4,070 structure fires in dormitory, fraternity, sorority, and barracks properties, causing an average of one civilian death, 32 civilian injuries, and $15 million in direct property damage each year. Approximately three out of every four of these fires began in a kitchen or cooking area. Such fires are responsible for nearly half of the injuries in these properties. In addition, the likelihood of a fire is much greater on weekends and on weekdays from 5 - 9 p.m., and September and October have the highest incidences for fires in dormitories. Tips to minimize fire risk NFPA and the Center offer these tips to students to help reduce the risk of fire: Know and practice your buildings evacuation plan, as well as alternate routes. Cook in intended areas only, and never leave cooking equipment unattended when in use, even briefly. Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or a house. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. NEVER remove or disable smoke alarms. Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable light and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps. Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris. “Campus Fire Safety Month provides a great opportunity to share materials and action steps, and foster a culture of awareness and preparedness about fire safety on our college campuses,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “The more prepared students are, the more we can reduce fire risk. As students settle into campus housing this fall, we encourage them to review fire safety tips to learn how to prevent fires, check smoke alarms, and prepare escape plans, and to share this important information with their friends and peers.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development. This new standard helps a broad range of authorities determine what kind of emergencies are occurring in their community, where, and to whom. Community Risk Assessment Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is a process that helps identify and prioritize all types of risks, and emphasizes the integrated and strategic investment of resources to reduce their occurrence and impact. NFPA 1300 provides guidance on conducting a community risk assessment (CRA), creating and implementing a CRR plan, and establishing ongoing evaluation of that plan. It also provides the framework for building a CRR team, fostering strategic partnerships, and applying data to conduct both a CRA and CRR activities. First responders, residents, business owners, civic groups, faith-based organizations, visitors – everyone in a community has an active role in fostering a safety and prevention culture. Community members or groups can partner with others who share physical, financial, or intellectual resources, working collectively to address common goals such as reducing falls, improving community health among vulnerable populations, investigating risks associated with hoarding, and developing solutions for other chronic or critical safety issues. CRR’s Data-Informed Approach “Community risk reduction has gained a lot of traction in recent years, but the concept is still new to many,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “CRR’s data-informed approach offers municipal leaders a vehicle for evaluating challenges, assigning accountability, and establishing transparency across agencies at a time when officials are struggling with budget woes, questions about data, and a host of emerging issues. NFPA 1300 serves as a springboard for local leaders to have conversations and take action.”
mySidewalk is pleased to announce a strategic collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the renowned information and knowledge resource on fire, electrical, and related hazards. This collaboration project will combine industry-renowned NFPA codes and standards, including NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development and related information, with mySidewalk’s innovative Community Intelligence Platform to create a user-friendly tool to assist communities with the risk assessment process. Community Risk Assessment digital tool This digital tool will allow communities to quickly identify local risks to life and property This digital tool will allow communities to quickly identify local risks to life and property, understand underlying conditions that may contribute to those risks, and activate teams to develop CRR plans informed by data. mySidewalk’s technology is interactive, mobile friendly, and ADA compliant and will allow users to share their Community Risk Assessments with stakeholders. “Communities face a myriad of issues in the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem and need a simple way to look at a number of data sources to identify their most pressing risks,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. Combining information and technology Lorraine adds, “We are excited to combine relevant information and technology into a new resource that will ultimately help them better prioritize and assign resources against risks.” “mySidewalk is thrilled to work with the NFPA on this critical mission,” said Stephen Hardy, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of mySidewalk, adding “Combining NFPA’s deep expertise with our data science platform will unlock insights and make communities safer.” mySidewalk empowers community leaders and the public with the most complete, clear, and real-time understanding of their communities so that they can take the necessary steps to improve and innovate together.
Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend includes lots of celebrations featuring cookouts and barbeques. As the holiday and warmer months near, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds everyone to follow some basic precautions for safely grilling outdoors. Basic precautions for safe grilling According to NFPA’s statistics, in 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques, including an average of 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and US$ 123 million in direct property damage, on average each year. Peak months for grilling fires are July, followed by June, May, and August. Causes of home grilling fires Leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks Leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks, and having a flammable object too close to the grill. Unattended cooking is a major cause of all types of cooking fires, including grill fires. Leaks and breaks are a particular problem with gas grills. “As people prepare to do more entertaining and cooking outside in the months ahead, it’s a good time to inspect your grill to make sure it’s in working order, especially if it hasn’t been used during the winter months,” said Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. She adds, “It’s also important to establish a fire safe location for using your grill, making sure it’s a safe distance from your home and other items that can burn.” NFPA offers these tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season: For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead. Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Always make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area. In case of using starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Once finished with grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container. Never leave the grill unattended when in use.
Home fires claim the lives of seven people every day in the United States of America. Home fire sprinklers can help eliminate these tragedies, but legislative barriers and a general unawareness of this technology have prevented its widespread use in new homes. America’s fire service and safety advocates should be able to take action in unison, so as to raise national awareness of a fire sprinkler’s life-saving ability. Fire Sprinkler Initiative Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a collaboration awareness project of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are initiating Home Fire Sprinkler Week from May 19 - May 25, 2019. This project tasks safety advocates across the U.S. with hosting simultaneous events, promoting home fire sprinklers. Raising awareness on impact of fire sprinklers While raising awareness of the home fire problem, these events will also underscore the impact of fire sprinklers While raising awareness of the home fire problem, these events will also underscore the life-saving impact of fire sprinklers and legislative barriers to its use. The aim is to have the fire service and other safety advocates host at least one sprinkler-related activity throughout the same week in all 50 states. “The alarming number of home fire deaths and injuries each year should be on the radar of every decision maker and member of the media,” said NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy, and HFSC President, Lorraine Carli. Tackling rising cases of home fires in the US Lorraine adds, “Through these events, we hope to illuminate the fire problem and its solution on a national scale. Fire sprinklers have been a U.S. model building code requirement since 2009, yet challenges to its adoption still exist. Taking action collectively will send a powerful message that fire sprinklers are widely accepted and must be embraced in every state.” It is expected that similar events will also take place in Canada and United Kingdom. Some possible activities at the event will include, hosting a side-by-side live burn/fire sprinkler demonstration or conducting a fire department open house, featuring fire sprinkler information and sprinkler riser display. Key facts: The risk of dying in a home fire decreases by about 85 percent, if sprinklers are present. When sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time. In the event of a fire, typically only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, leaving the rest of the house dry and secure. Roughly 89 percent of the time, just one sprinkler operates.