Thursday, May 31, 2012

Building a Kiosk

Part of the joys of mall shopping (besides people watching) is perusing through the various types of kiosks scattered throughout the mall area. I always find it intersting to see the types of items that people sell, because others are willing to pay for them.  However, whether your buying gold, repairing watches, or selling personalized 3D face plush toys, your kiosk must meet the requirements of the fire code.

To begin with any kiosk that is being constructed will require a permit. Plans and specifications for the kiosk will need to be submitted to the local building and fire officials.

NFPA 101:36.4.4.8 lays out specific guidelines for the placement and construction of these kiosks.  These requirements are:
  1. Combustible kiosks and similar structures must be constructed of materials complying with the below:
    1. fire-retardant-treated wood meeting NFPA 703
    2. NFPA 5000:47
    3. foamed plastics used must meet UL 1975
    4. aluminum composite material (ACM) having a Class A rating, per NFPA 101:10.2
    5. Textiles and films must meet the flame propagation requirements of NFPA 701.
This information should all be included with the plans and specifications that are submitted to your local jurisdiction's building and fire official.

     2.  Kiosks must be protected with fire suppression and detection devices.

Most malls are of such a size that they will  already have a fire sprinkler and alarm system in place. If your kiosk has a roof or any overhead obstruction (4' or greater) to the sprinkler system, then your space will be required to have additional sprinkler protection, this is achieved by dropping a sprinkler pipe into your space and adding a head beneath the obstruction or roof.  Fire extinguishers are required in to be in each kiosk.

     3.  Kiosks must be separated from other kiosks and mall structures by a minimum of 20'.

This is to prevent the mall aisles from becoming overcrowded and effectively separating the mall aisles down the middle.  This prevents the prompt and safe evacuation of people in the event of a fire or life safety emergency.

     4.  Each kiosk or group of kiosks must not exceed 300 square feet.

So, if you are inteding on selling your family recipe hot sauce in the mall, do not forget to take into account these standards for constructing your kiosk.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

13 Changes to NFPA 13



As the newest edition of NFPA 13 is set to be presented next month, NFPA has published some of the notable changes to this document:
  1. CPVC compatibility - where corrosion inhibitors are used in combination systems that include coated steel pipe and CPVC pipe, the coating must be tested for compatibility with CPVC.
  2. Freeze protection requirements - tentative interim amendments regarding antifreeze solution to prevent the freezing of water in sprinkler pipes has been formally adopted into the standard
  3. Sprinkler requirements for elevator spaces and hoistways - allows fire sprinklers to be omitted from elevator machine rooms, elevator machinery spaces, control spaces, or hoistways of traction elevators where a number of conditions are met, and brings the standard in alignment with other model building codes
  4. Title change to NFPA 13R - Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies
  5. Sprinkler protection in small bathrooms - Apartment buildings with bathrooms less than 55 square feet (5 square meters) must now have sprinkler protection where they were not  previously required to do so.
  6. Shadow areas -  shadow areas are permitted in the protection area of a sprinkler as long as they do not exceed 15 square feet per sprinkler.

  7. "Sprinkler system" definition - modified to describe a system as an integrated network of piping that includes a water supply source, a water control valve, a water flow alarm, and a drain; this largely effects the requirements of NFPA 25.
  8. Backflow preventer requirements - a forward flow test will now be required on all NFPA 13/13R installations.
  9. Storage chapter - newly added; allows for an alternative design approach.
  10. Sloped ceilings - provides five common ceiling arrangements that allow for hydraulic calculations
  11. Water mist systems - refers users to NFPA 750.
  12. Cloud ceilings - protection to follow the use of obstruction rules.
  13. ESFR and CMSA sprinklers - these will now be permitted to protect light and ordinary hazard areas.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Freedom Is Not Free

Today, as Americans, we pause to remember that our freedom is not free.







"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."  Galatians 5:1


Thursday, May 24, 2012

15 Steps to Stop Church Arson



Annually, 1,300 church fires are reported, totaling more than $38 million in property loss.  Nearly 30% of church fires are the result of mechanical failures, or electrical issues.  This is most likely attributed to the fact that many churches tend to be older structures.  Of reported church fires 65% had no smoke detection systems, and 96% had no fire sprinkler protection.  However, the leading cause of church fires is arson.

To prevent church arson, having a plan is essential.  You can work with your local law enforcement, and fire prevention authorities to create a fire prevention/life safety plan for you church facility.  The first step in creating a plan is to assess your areas of vulnerability.  The most critical areas for church arson vulnerability are:
  • Churches located in isolated or rural areas.
  • Churches left unattended for extended periods of time.
  • Churches with unsecured doors and/or uncovered windows leave weak points for foreced entry by intruders.
  • The absence of an adequate fire/burglar alarm system provides a determined criminal with additional time for criminal activity.
  • Heavy shrubs and outside vegetation, and/or the absence of sufficient perimeter lighting, provides security for criminals, not victims.
Here are 15 steps to reduce your churches vulnerability to arson:
  1. Install perimeter floodlights outside the building.
  2. Install an adequate fire and burglar alarm system.
  3. Install fire sprinkler systems, and ensure there operability.
  4. Solid wood or sheet metal faced doors provide more security than a hollow core wooden door.
  5. Remove heavy vegetation and shrubs.
  6. Participate in a formal Neighborhood Watch program.
  7. Establish relationships with neighboring businesses. Ask them to watch your church during daily activities.
  8. Educate personnel on how to properly deal with threats. Have a written plan available.
  9. Document any strange or threatening activity or phone calls.
  10. Avoid opening or disturbing suspicious packages or letters.  Contact your local law enforcement if these are received.
  11. Have a member(s) of the congregation check on the church daily. Evaluate the need for security personnel, especially on nights and weekends.
  12. Obtain a detailed description of any suspicious persons or vehicles noticed in or around your church facility.
  13. Duplicate all documents, digital files, and records that are stored at the church.
  14. Complete and maintain a comprehensive inventory or all furniture and equipment.  Record serial numbers, and the property value.  Frequently evaluate insurance coverage.
  15. Remove all potential fire hazards from the church grounds (trash, lawn clippings, debris).  Properly store all combustible materials in a secured area/building.
Related post:
From Mall to Mega-Church

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wind Turbine Response



Creating energy via the use of wind turbines is growing in popularity and application.  The United States is the number one producer of wind energy.  Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas covers nearly 100,000 acres with 620 turnbines, making it the world's largest wind farm. 

A typical wind turbine can be 280 feet high, composed of tubular supporting structure, a nacelle, and rotor blades.  The energy produced at the nacelle is transfered to a transformer on the ground, then out to the grid.  Access to the top (the nacelle area) is via a vertical ladder, with platforms located at various intervals.  These unique structures require a unique fire and emergency response plan.

A key component to an effective emergency response is a healthy, working relationship with the wind farm owners and operators.  The local fire authority should work with these experts at all stages of pre-incident planning, and incorporate them into the emergency response.

There is no standard operating procedure or fire suppression/detection requirements.  NFPA 850: Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations, explains the process for creating a fire protection design basis document.  This document outlines the required fire protection features and response, based on the unique facility design, location, and layout.  The local fire authority should be knowledgeable of this document.

Possible wind turbine emergencies include:
  • Fire inside the nacelle or tower
  • Fire within a support structure at the wind farm
  • Structural collapse
  • Separation of a rotor blade from its hub
  • Injury to personnel working on the turbine or at the wind farm
  • Natural disasters
Some things to consider when responding to wind turbine incidents:
  • How did the call come in? (fire alarm, worker in the tower, farm operator)
  • Has the turbine been shut down? Will personnel be available to perform such action? (these wind turbines have rotor brakes, and specific shut-down procedures)
  • Is a safety perimeter established? (recommended 1,600 ft. or more, as rotor blades can fall several hundred yards from the tower)
  • Has a dedicated Safety Officer been designated?
  • Will operator personnel be present throughout the emergency operation? (an operator should always be available)
For more information on wind turbine emergency response read the article, In the Shadow of the Wind, by George Potter, in Industrial Fire Journal.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hot Work: Hidden Hazards

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has recently released this video detailing the 2010 hot work accident at DuPont in Buffalo.




Hot work operations and safety are to be followed as outlined in NFPA 1:41 and NFPA 51B.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

9 Essential Crisis Survival Factors

Eric Dezenhall in his book, Damage Control: The Essential Lessons of Crisis Management, outlines 9 essential factors that all companies in crises tend to have.  Reading through this book, I couldn't help but think that we, in the fire service, are supposed to be the damage control/crisis experts, yet how many of our leaders, and departments lack in these 9 areas for survival.  Lately, the fire department seems to be under attack by the media.  Strengthening ourselves and our departments in these 9 critical areas, will only further our resilience to times of crisis.  This applies to the media and the fire scene.
  1. Strong leadership - with broad authority to make decisions
  2. Ignores conventional PR wisdom - do not espouse "reputation management"
  3. Flexible - able to change course when the operating climate shifts
  4. Significant resources - these are committed to crisis resolution with no guarantee of results
  5. High threshold for pain - things may get worse before they get better
  6. Thinks in terms of baby steps - as opposed to grandiose gestures
  7. Knows themselves - are honest about what actions can and cannot be sustained
  8. Exercises moral authority - doing what is right even when it seems wrong
  9. Luck - often catch unexpected breaks via God, nature, or fortune.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Prevent Youth Firesetting [PODCAST]




Listen to internet radio with The Code Coach on Blog Talk Radio


Show Notes
Related Posts
What programs or resources does your department utilize to prevent youth fire setting?

Join our special guest, Mark Huetter, Battalion Chief, for our next live broadcast on May 26 at 10:30am, when we discuss Training and Mentoring for the Fire Service.   Post any questions or comments regarding this show or any other fire service issues in the comments section below.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Youth Firesetting: A Growing Concern




Is juvenile arson a problem?
  • Fire setting is the largest cause of home deaths among children.
  • Almost 34% of victims of child-set fires are the children themselves.
  • 55%  of all U.S. arson arrests are children under 18 years of age.
  • Fires set by children account for more than 250,000 fires per year.
  • The average cost of a juvenile-set structure fire exceedes $20,000.
  • Intentional fires ranked first among the major causes of structure fire dollar loss.
Types of firesetters:

     1.  Curiosity/Eperimental
           - children ages 2-10
           - lack understanding of the destructive potential of fire
           - ready access to lighters, matches, or open flame devices
           - unsupervised

     2.  Troubled/Crisis
          - mostly boys of all ages
          - have set 2 or more fires
          - use fire to express emotions
          - may not understand consequences of uncontrolled fire
          - will continue to set fire until needs are met or identified
          - known as "cry for help" firesetters

     3.  Delinquent/Criminal
          - teens with a history of firesetting, gangs, truancy, drug/alcohol abuse
          - fires set with intent to destroy
          - typically targets schools, open fields, dumpsters or abandoned structures
          - leads to restitution and criminal punishment

     4.  Pathological/Emotionally Disturbed
          - involves a psychiatric diagnoses
          - fires may be random, ritualized, or with specific intent
          - chronic history of school, behavioral, and social problems
          - males/females of all ages
          - has set multiple fires

Intervention strategies:
  • General fire/life safety education.
  • Specific youthfiresetting education.
  • Character developement.
  • Life skills training.
  • Social services counseling.
  • Mental health therapy.
  • Juvenile justice.
If you are a parent or a teacher, and have witnessed fire setting curiosity or behavior here are some steps you can take:
  1. Be there for the child.  Frequently older children and teens find it difficult to express their inner feelings to their parents. Because teachers are a positive adult role model, students may feel more comfortable sharing their troubles with your. Listen to your students’ verbal and nonverbal communications. Respond with a sincere respect for what they are sharing with you.
  2. Open lines of communication.  Reassure your students that you want to hear about the feelings and events that have triggered the firesetting behavior. Listen in a positive and nonjudgmental manner. Your students need to understand that your goal is to stop the behavior because of your concern for their safety, and that you want to do that in a proactive and positive way.
  3. Create positive outlets.  Firesetting is a behavior that expresses a student’s stress, anger and negative emotions. By providing opportunities to vent these emotions through positive avenues, you can diffuse some of those dangerous feelings. There are many options available to students, including: sports, mentors, and group counseling.
  4. Seek qualified help for your student.  Crisis firesetting is a complex emotional issue. It is important that students are provided with the help of a qualified mental health professional who is experienced in dealing with juvenile firesetting cases. Traditional therapy, which simply explores “feelings,” is not appropriate in firesetting cases.  A good place to start is your local fire department.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 Youth Firesetting Prevention Resources





"Prevent Youth Firesetting" is the theme for Arson Awareness Week 2012.  This week is sponsored by the USFA.  Their Arson Awareness Week page offers many resources for preventing youth firesetting, for public educators, and for juvenile firesetter intervention programs. 

Here is a list of the top 10 most useful resources for the prevention of youth firesetting:
  1. NFPA 1035 : Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire and Life Safety Educator, Public Information Officer, and Juvenile Firesetter Intervention
  2. Firesetting By Children and Adolescents
  3. Factors Influencing Youth Firesetting Behavior
  4. Myths and Facts About Children and Fire
  5. Arson and Juveniles Responding to the Violence: Special Report
  6. Straight Talk
  7. StopFireSetting.com
  8. Success for Teens
  9. Texas School Fire Safety Curriculum Guides
  10. Fire In Your Home (booklet)
Also, this Saturday, May 12 at 10:30 am, listen to our live broadcast on this topic!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Game Changer


This is the video every firefighter and their family should watch. It can save your life. It's true stories from your brothers about the risks of firefighting and cancer. Firefighters are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer from the general public, but there are things that you can do to protect yourself.




Created by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.