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.
NFPA 1936 is the standard to which powered rescue equipment is tested to assure the end user has safe tools to perform rescue operations.
Only manufacturers whose rescue tools have been certified to the rigorous requirements of NFPA 1936 can receive conformity documentation and adhere an NFPA compliance label.
NFPA 1936 is the only certification standard for rescue tools in North America. The standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of powered rescue tool systems and the individual components of spreaders, rams, cutters, combination tools, power units, and power transmission cables, conduit, or hose.
Approved rescue tools to NPFA 1936 use NFPA standards that are developed through a consensus standards development process approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This process brings together volunteers representing fire service personnel, insurance, special experts and industry professionals to achieve consensus on fire and other safety issues.
For rescue tools certified to NFPA 1936, product conformance verification is required to be performed by a product conformance verification organization, such as UL, SEI and TUV. The product conformance verification program requires manufacturers to establish and maintain a quality assurance program that meets the requirements of NFPA 1936. In addition, continued product conformance verification shall be maintained by a product conformance organization by means of random inspections.
For further information, and to read the entire document, please go to www.nfpa.org/1936.
Unwanted fire alarms are a problem for the fire service and the community. NFPA® estimates that fire departments respond to more than 2 million false fire alarm calls each year. According to NFPA 72®: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, an unwanted alarm is any alarm that occurs that is not the result of a potentially hazardous condition. NFPA developed the Fire Service Guide to Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarms to provide the fire service with a free resource that offers guidance in the following areas:
Understanding commercial and residential building fire alarm systems
Understanding single-family alarm causes
Providing a framework for developing possible solutions
The Guide is an important tool for line firefighters, fire officers, and fire prevention personnel to provide basic knowledge on how fire alarm systems and detection devices operate and assess the cause of alarms where no emergency condition is apparent. The Guide can assist Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's) in developing strategies to manage response to unwanted alarms thru practices reflective of risk assessment, resources management, and current Code recommendations.
February 11, 2014 12:30 – 2:00 pm EST Responding to Electrical Vehicle Battery Fires Sponsored Webinar This Webinar reviews the results of a recent research program to develop the technical basis for best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents, with consideration for certain details including: suppression methods; personal protective equipment (PPE); and clean-up/overhaul operations. This research program was based on full-scale testing of large format Li-ion batteries used in these electric vehicles, and the presentation will summarize these tests and includes discussion on the key findings relating to best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents.
A quick search for close call videos on YouTube provides plenty of instances where responders are not wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). There are a couple of videos where responders are not wearing any PPE whatsoever. After watching this video clip it reminded me that we often fall subject to complacency. It's just a car fire right? So don't let it be a life changing or life ending event. Wear NFPA compliant PPE and SCBA.
In today’s built environment it is absolutely critical that fire and emergency services develop a close partnership with those enforcing and creating planning, zoning, and building codes. These groups are in position to have a large impact on communities and their future development. As such it is important for responder agencies to work closely with these groups in order to achieve the overall common goal of public health and safety.
Many code enforcement and planning agencies are busy conducting plan reviews and making decisions on projects within their communities. These decisions could be on road width in a new development or a new occupancy moving into an empty warehouse. In both cases fire service leaders should have input into these projects. Think of a new commercial construction project recently completed in your community. Did the fire department have input in the project and plan review?
Things such as lock or
access boxes can make fire fighting a much easier job by providing the fire department with access to a building when it is locked. Most model codes have language allowing the AHJ or code official to require these boxes.
NFPA 1 Section 188.8.131.52 states that “The AHJ shall have the authority to require an access box(es) to be installed in an accessible location where access to or within a structure or area is difficult because of security. The access box(es) shall be of an approved type listed in accordance with UL 1037.” Code officials may have the authority to enforce these measures when they deem necessary, however unless the fire department is involved in the process items such as these may not be required by the AHJ.
In order to be better advocates for ourselves and make our jobs easier we must reach out to these organizations and departments so that we can increase public safety as well as responder safety.
During the September 2013 meeting of the Urban Fire Forum at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA, fire chiefs from around the world endorsed an important document on active shooter and mass casualty terrorist events.
"The emerging threat of terrorism and asymmetric warfare, specifically small unit “active shooter” and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, is a concern for the fire service. An attack by radicals armed with weapons in public areas, such as schools, shopping malls, churches or any other locations where people congregate is a real threat to a sense of security and daily lives."
Local fire departments must work with police and emergency medical services in
responding to events that include an armed gunman, whether the threat is known,
as it was in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting or unknown, as in the
ambush in Webster, New York, in which two firefighters were killed.
In their recent article “ Strength in Numbers,” Russ
Sanders and Ben Klaene report on an April meeting at which more than 40 leaders
from the fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and government
agencies discussed ways to better integrate, coordinate, and improve responses
to mass-casualty shootings.
NFPA's Robert Solomon talks about "lockdowns" and how explains how procedures and protocols prescribed by NFPA's codes and standards need examination with regards to active shooter and other hazardous events.
With so many recent aircraft incidents, emergency service organizations may be looking to review their response procedures to these emergencies. Many of these emergencies have taken place in areas off airport properties without staffed aircraft crash rescue firefighting capabilities. The FAA reports that there are over 19,700 airports in the United States. Of those 5,170 are open to the public and over 500 offer commercial airline services. In 2011, according to the NTSB there were 1,550 aircraft accidents in the United States. The sheer number of incidents demonstrates the need for a level of understanding when it comes to aircraft emergencies for all first responders regardless of their proximity to a major airport.
402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations is written to assist airport fire departments as well as structural fire departments with information on preparing for and responding to aircraft emergencies. Chapter 14
Structural Fire Department Operations at ARFF Incidents provides specific guidance to non-airport fire departments that are faced with an aircraft emergency. The guide provides information on specific aircraft emergencies, aircraft construction, extinguishing
aircraft fires and many other areas. Click on the standard to the left to review NFPA 402.