Today’s Responder is focused on the needs of all first responders regardless of uniform or badge. This blog is produced by NFPA’s Public Fire Protection Division, staffed by fire fighters, paramedics, fire marshals, emergency managers and safety professionals. Together, they work on more than 90 NFPA documents, standards and guides ranging from personnel protective equipment and professional qualifications to emergency management and public safety communications centers.
The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through their National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) has reported chemical warfare agent testing of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for compliance with NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services, was done at a lower level of chemical agent concentration than required by NIOSH test procedures. As a result, all SCBA units and configurations tested from June 2012 to the present must be retested. This affects a small number of SCBA tested to the 2007 edition of NFPA 1981 and all units tested to date for compliance with the 2013 edition of NFPA 1981.
NIOSH had previously identified a delay in testing and certifying SCBA to the 2013 edition of NFPA 1981, resulting in the NFPA Standards Council issuing Tentative Interim Amendment #13-1 (TIA), extending until February 28, 2014 the deadline for certification organizations and manufacturers to cease labeling SCBA as compliant to the 2007 edition of NFPA 1981. NIOSH has developed an expedited retesting plan and estimates all required testing will be completed by April 1, 2014 and has requested the Respiratory Protection Equipment Technical Committee to consider extending or removing the revised end date authorized in TIA 13-1. NFPA 1982, Standard on Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) is equally impacted as it recommends the same certification and testing compliance dates as NFPA 1981. The Electronic Safety Equipment Technical Committee and the Respiratory Protection Technical Committee are in close communication and developing a joint response to the NIOSH request.
To stay up to date on any proposed changes, visit the NFPA 1981: Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services Document Information Page, www.nfpa.org/1981, or the Document Information Page for NFPA 1982: Standard on Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) at www.nfpa.org/1982. and sign up to be alerted of any future actions.
In their farewell column, Russ Sanders and Ben Klaene discuss the enormous impact NFPA standards have on firefighter safety and efficiency. They address staffing, risk management, fire apparatus, equipment, training, fire suppression systems, water supplies, and nearly every other aspect of fire department operations.
It is imperative that fire officers understand tactics and strategy, but it is also important that they understand how much standards have facilitated the improvement in firefighter safety. Read what Russ and Ben have to say in their column "Not by Tactics Alone" in the Novbember/December issue of NFPA Journal.
NFPA's Lorraine Carli and Everett Captain Tony Carli
When I began working at NFPA almost eight years ago, my youngest brother Tony was the only one in the family that knew what NFPA was.In fact, he was pretty excited that I was going to be working here. He told me about the importance of codes and gave me a quick primer on fire safety, getting me off to a good start.
Tony had joined the Everett Fire Department in 2000, a few years after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and jumped in with both boots. In the last 13 years he has fought a lot of fires. He has also prevented countless others from occurring when he came off the line to work in code enforcement and fire prevention.
Today, as I oversee NFPA’s outreach and advocacy efforts I still call on him for his perspective. We talk often about the challenges in urban firefighting and the intersection with NFPA. The job of a firefighter is different than it was decades ago as we rely on our fire service to be the first line of defense and the offense for every conceivable disaster that could strike a community. We rely on them to think about and prepare for the unthinkable. We trust they will respond in times of need. We also count on them to be the delivers of critical fire safety information in their communities. All of these things combined make us all safer from fire and other hazards.
But what has not changed is the dedication and commitment of those that become firefighters. We should all be grateful that these men and women are there every single day.
Last night I was proud to see Tony become a captain in my hometown – Everett, MA. Congratulations!
So I am sure that anyone who views this blog has certainly heard how loud sirens on ambulances are and has probably asked themselves “why are they so darn loud”? From personal experience it would seem that you can hear an ambulance with its siren activated coming from a good distance away and might seem piercing or deafening once the ambulance is upon you. Well there is a reason, believe it or not, why an activated siren is so loud. Imagine yourself standing on the sidewalk when an ambulance with an activated siren drives by you, the siren is incredibly loud. Now also imagine yourself in your personal vehicle sitting at a stop sign with the windows closed, radio on, maybe talking on the cell phone or with other occupants in the vehicle with you engaged in conversations. Now that same ambulance pulls up from behind you then is beside you and I would venture to say that the sirens would not be as loud as they were if you were standing outside. I get the statement is obvious but in order for the siren to be heard by the operator of another vehicle where that operator might be exposed to other stimuli the need for a loud siren is imperative. Not only for your safety but for the safety of the ambulance operator and patients, if applicable.
This video shows a pretty amazing study or example of how and when sirens from an ambulance might be heard. It most definitely sheds some light on the subject of why activated sirens are so loud.
This new infographic, developed by NFPA and USFA, details many important safety tips related to winter holiday safety, as part of the joint Put a Freeze on Winter Fires initiative. Take a look and share with your friends and family to keep this holiday season safe.
Why? Because, cardiac events remain the leading cause of line of duty deaths for firefighters. An AED is the most important piece of life saving equipment available for victims of cardiac arrest and, as a result, is required on all types of fire apparatus. Case in point, check out this article on a South Carolina fire fighter who collapsed while working on the scene of a grass fire and was revived by fellow fire fighters on the scene.
Marty Ahrens from the NFPA Fire Analysis and Research department recently published the "Brush, Grass and Forest Fires" report. This report uses National Fire Incident Reporting Data from 2007-2011 and is a reflection on how often local (municipal or county) fire departments around the county are called to smaller brush, grass and forest fires. According to the report local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 334,200 brush, grass and forest fire per year. this translates to 915 such fires per day.
In three-quarters (76%) of the brush, grass, and forest fires handled by local fire departments, less than an acre burned. Only 4% burned more than ten acres. Fires in forests tended to be larger than other vegetation fires. Only three-fifths (59%) of the forest fires were less than an acre, while 9% consumed more than ten acres.
Roadway fires involving the Tesla Model S--a high-performance, all-electric car with a base price of around $70,000--have been making headlines in recent months. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated a safety investigation on the fiery incidents, which all seem to involve the car's battery compartment being compromised after hitting roadway debris.
Tesla is among the many car manufacturers that have supplied NFPA with specific instructions on how to handle electric and hybrid vehicles in an emergency. The information is a component of NFPA's Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project.NFPA Journal recently highlighted new additions to the project that are on its way, including guidance for electric and hybrid-electric trucks, buses, taxis, and fuel cell cars.
Check out all of the stories in Journal'sIn A Flash section, including information on a landmark study that confirms U.S. firefighters have higher rates of specific cancers than the general public. Also, when do children understand the concept of self-preservation? Get the answer here.
The NFPA Public Fire Protection Division is staffing a booth at the 2013 International Conference for Fire & Rescue Executives being held in Boston, MA November 13-15th.
This conference brings over 25 international and local fire chiefs and executives to Boston to speak about their leadership challenges and how they managed through the crises. You've heard about their stories in the media and now you will get the opportunity to hear it first hand from them. No textbook or leadership theory can adequately describe and teach you what they have learned through recent personal experiences. Crises are inevitable for every executive; how you manage through them will determine your success and longevity. For more info go to www.internationalfireconference.org.