Honoring Volunteer Firefighters

Check out this segment aired on CBS Sunday Morning, honoring firefighters:

Red November

All of the below historically significant fires occurred in the month of November:

  • Dance hall fire kills 145, Grenoble, France, 1970
  • Explosion kills 1,000 to 3,000, Salang Tunnel, Afghanistan, 1982
  • Metal mine fire kills 51, Ishpeming (MI), 1926
  • Forest fire damages 37 homes, Topanga (CA), 1948
  • Sunday Creek #6 coal mine explosion kills 82, Millfield (OH), 1930
  • National Fire Protection Association is founded, Boston (MA), 1896
  • Halifax Poor House fire kills 31, Halifax (NS), 1882
  • First recorded use is made of a mechanical water tower, New York (NY), 1879
  • Great Boston Fire, loss worth $1,146 million (2003 dollars), Boston (MA), 1872
  • USS Mount Hood munitions explosion kills 373, Admiralty Islands, 1944
  • Coats boarding house fire kills 14, Pioneer (OH), 1979
  • Tinker AFB repair plant fire, loss worth $244 million (2003 dollars), Norman (OK), 1984
  • National Firemen’s Journal publishes first issue, 1877
  • St. Paul coal mine explosion kills 259, Cherry (IL), 1909
  • Hoechst Celanese Chemical fire, loss worth $348 million (2003 dollars), Pampa (TX), 1987
  • Stratford Apartments home hotel fire kills 25, Los Angeles (CA), 1973
  • Northwestern Mine explosion kills 31, Ravensdale (WA), 1915
  • Learn Not to Burn® Foundation is incorporated, Quincy (MA), 1986
  • Ballantyne Department Store fire kills 41, Christ Church, New Zealand, 1947
  • Gas storage area explosion kills 334, Mexico City, Mexico, 1984
  • Club Cinq Sept fire kills 143, St. Laurent du Pont, France, 1971
  • MGM Grand Hotel fire kills 85, Las Vegas (NV), 1980
  • Phillips Dance Hall & Martin’s Grocery, fire kills 25, Ville Platte (LA), 1919
  • Golden Age nursing home fire kills 63, Fitchville (OH), 1963
  • Home gas explosions kill 105, Danaciobasi, Turkey, 1980
  • Taeyokale Hotel fire kills 163, Seoul, Korea, 1971
  • Pakistani International B-707 in-flight fire kills 156, Saudi Arabia, 1979
  • Capitol International DC-8 post-crash fire kills 47, Anchorage (AK), 1970
  • Cocoanut Grove night club fire kills 492, Boston (MA), 1942
  • Hotel Concorde wedding reception fire kills 11, Margarita Isl., Venezuela, 1987
  • Boomer #2 coal mine explosion kills 23, Boomer (WV), 1915


Fire Robots

Robotic fire protection, automatically senses and extinguishes fire, can also possibly serve as a weapon against ship piracy:

Engineering Centre of Fire Robots Technology

Assisted Living Facilties Mandated Sprinkler Coverage

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Mandates Fire Sprinkler Coverage

All Long-Term Care Facilities Serving CMS Beneficiaries Must Have Fire Sprinkler Systems in Place by 2013

The following is from the Blazemaster website:

Today, only about one in five nursing homes have full fire sprinkler

coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Services (CMS). To address this gap in fire safety, CMS created a

regulation that mandates comprehensive fire sprinkler coverage for

all long term care facilities serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries
by 2013. It is estimated that the new regulation affects 3,500 existing

BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems are

ideal for this type of retrofit construction.

The CPVC system is cost-effective and

features a fast, easy, clean installation

– minimizing disruption to occupants. In

fact, retrofitting with BlazeMaster pipe

and fittings can help building owners

save up to 40 percent in total installed

costs when compared to metallic systems.

According to the CMS website (, approximately

three million elderly and disabled Americans reside in the nation’s

16,000 nursing homes. Although fatal fires in nursing homes are

rare, in a July 2004 report, the Government Accountability Office

estimated that automatic sprinkler systems can decrease the

chance of fire-related deaths by 82 percent.

Previous CMS regulations required sprinkler systems in all newly

constructed and rehabilitated facilities. However, the federal

government did not require existing nursing homes to have such

systems and some older facilities were exempt

from this requirement. This new CMS mandate

holds all 16,000 nursing homes in the country to

the same standard.

All new fire sprinkler systems retrofitted as

a result of this rule will be required to meet

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

fire safety guidelines. The NFPA specifies that

all resident rooms; kitchen, dining and activity

areas; corridors; attics; canopies; overhangs;

offices; waiting areas; closets; storage areas for trash and linen;

and maintenance areas have full fire sprinkler coverage.

For more information, please visit

Lightweight Truss Rule

Florida State Statute 633.027  Buildings with light-frame truss-type construction; notice requirements; enforcement.–

(1)  The owner of any commercial or industrial structure, or any multiunit residential structure of three units or more, that uses light-frame truss-type construction shall mark the structure with a sign or symbol approved by the State Fire Marshal in a manner sufficient to warn persons conducting fire control and other emergency operations of the existence of light-frame truss-type construction in the structure.

69A-60.0081 Notice Required for Structures With Light-frame Truss-type Construction.

(1) Purpose: The purpose of this rule is to require the placement of an identifying symbol on structures constructed with a light-frame truss component in a manner sufficient to warn persons conducting fire control and other emergency operations of the existence of light-frame truss-type construction in the structure.

Light-frame truss-type construction: a type of construction whose primary structural elements are formed by a system of repetitive wood or light gauge steel framing members. (69A-3.012)

Approved symbol: a Maltese Cross measuring 8 inches horizontally and 8 inches vertically, of a bright red reflective color (69A-3.012)

Symbol Mounting Instructions

1.) Symbol to be mounted on the face of the structure within 24 in., left of main entry door.

2.) Symbol shall be mounted no lower than 4’ and no higher than 6’.

3.) In multi tenant structures, symbol shall be place at one end, and at 100’ intervals (or at both ends of structure if less than 100’).

Available from:

Local vendor (Southeast Florida):

Signs In A Flash  [772-692-2323]

Online: [800-874-7002] [321-206-9209]

Fire Extinguisher Use

NFPA 10 is the National Fire Protection Association standard that regulates the use/placement/inspection/maintenance of fire extinguishers. 

NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, states that employees of mercantile (occupancies used for the display and sale of merchandise), and business (occupancies used for the transaction of business other than mercantile) occupancies "shall" (are required to) receive periodic instruction in the use of fire extinguishers.

All health care occupancies, and hotel/dormitory personnel shall be familiar with life safety systems, and emergency response procedures (which could include fire extinguishers and extinguishment).

There is an excellent on-line, interactive extinguisher training site at

I would highly recommend this training activity for those who are employees of mercantile/business occupancies, health care workers, hotel staff, dorm leaders, or those responsible for crowd control and fire watch activities.

Haunted House - "OPEN"

Don't let your haunted house event get shut down.  By following a few simple fire safety guidelines, your haunted house can be a great treat, and not turn into a horrible tragedy. 

NFPA 101 chapters 12 and 13 spell out the rules/regulations for "special amusement buildings" (which includes haunted houses):

12/* General. Special amusement buildings, regardless of occupant load, shall meet the requirements for assembly occupancies in addition to the requirements of 12/13.4.7, unless the special amusement building is a multilevel play structure that is not more than 10 feet (3,050 millimeters) in height and has aggregate horizontal projections not exceeding 160 feet2 (15 meters2).

12/* Automatic Sprinklers. Every special amusement building, other than buildings or structures not exceeding 10 feet (3,050 millimeters) in height and not exceeding 160 feet2 (15 meters2) in aggregate horizontal projection, shall be protected throughout by an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system installed and maintained in accordance with Section 9.7.

12/ Temporary Water Supply. Where the special amusement building required to be sprinklered by 12/ is movable or portable, the sprinkler water supply shall be permitted to be provided by an approved temporary means.

12/ Smoke Detection. Where the nature of the special amusement building is such that it operates in reduced lighting levels, the building shall be protected throughout by an approved automatic smoke detection system in accordance with Section 9.6.

12/ Alarm Initiation. Actuation of any smoke detection system device shall sound an alarm at a constantly attended location on the premises.

12/ Illumination. Actuation of the automatic sprinkler system, or any other suppression system, or actuation of a smoke detection system having an approved verification or cross-zoning operation capability shall provide for the following:

(1) Increase in illumination in the means of egress to that required by Section 7.8

(2) Termination of any conflicting or confusing sounds and visuals

12/ Exit Marking.

12/ Exit marking shall be in accordance with Section 7.10.

12/ Floor proximity exit signs shall be provided in accordance with

12/* In special amusement buildings where mazes, mirrors, or other designs are used to confound the egress path, approved directional exit marking that becomes apparent in an emergency shall be provided.

12/ Interior Finish. Interior wall and ceiling finish materials complying with Section 10.2 shall be A throughout.

Furnishings, decorations, and scenery

12/ Fabrics and films used for decorative purposes, all draperies and curtains, and similar furnishings shall be in accordance with the provisions of 10.3.1.

12/ The authority having jurisdiction shall impose controls on the quantity and arrangement of combustible contents in assembly occupancies to provide an adequate level of safety to life from fire.

12/* Exposed foamed plastic materials and unprotected materials containing foamed plastic used for decorative purposes or stage scenery shall have a heat release rate not exceeding 100 kW where tested in accordance with UL 1975, Fire Tests for Foamed Plastics Used for Decorative Purposes.

12/ The requirement of 12/ shall not apply to individual foamed plastic items and items containing foamed plastic where the foamed plastic does not exceed 1 lb (0.45 kg) in weight.

12/ The provision of 10.3.2 for cigarette ignition resistance of newly introduced upholstered furniture and mattresses shall not apply to assembly occupancies.

Open flames and pyrotechnics

12/13.7.3 Open Flame Devices and Pyrotechnics. No open flame devices or pyrotechnic devices shall be used in any assembly occupancy, unless otherwise permitted by the following:

(1) Pyrotechnic special effect devices shall be permitted to be used on stages before proximate audiences for ceremonial or religious purposes, as part of a demonstration in exhibits, or as part of a performance, provided that both of the following criteria are met:

(a) Precautions satisfactory to the authority having jurisdiction are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible material.

(b) Use of the pyrotechnic device complies with NFPA 1126®, Use of Pyrotechnics before a Proximate Audience®.

(2) Flame effects before an audience shall be permitted in accordance with NFPA 160®, Flame Effects Before an Audience® .

(3) Open flame devices shall be permitted to be used in the following situations, provided that precautions satisfactory to the authority having jurisdiction are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible material or injury to occupants:

(a) For ceremonial or religious purposes

(b) On stages and platforms where part of a performance

(c) Where candles on tables are securely supported on substantial noncombustible bases and candle flame is protected
 (4) The requirement of 12/13.7.3 shall not apply to heat-producing equipment complying with 9.2.2.

(5) The requirement of 12/13.7.3 shall not apply to food service operations in accordance with 12.7.2.

(6) Gas lights shall be permitted to be used, provided that precautions are taken, subject to the approval of the authority having jurisdiction, to prevent ignition of any combustible materials.

Haunted Castle Tragedy

The award winning documentary below tells the story of the Haunted Castle tragedy which claimed eight teen-age lives.  By following a few basic fire safety precautions/regulation, this tragedy could have been avoided.

This free film, and downloadable book are available from the creators website

Part 1 --

Part 2 --

Part 3 --

Part 4 --

Halloween Safety Tips

Did you know that home decorations are the first thing ignited in over 1,000 homes each Halloween season?

Follow these basic rules for a safe and happy Halloween:

• Buy only fire-resistant/flame-retardant costumes.
• Provide children with small flashlights to carry with them.
• Keep decorations (cornstalks, hay bales, crepe paper) away from flame and other heat sources.
• Consider using battery operated candles in jack-o-lanterns; if using candles exercise extreme caution (including placement of jack-o-lantern)

These and more fire safe holiday tips can be found at National Fire Protection Association (

Peter's Story

The University of Wisconsin has produced a powerful video telling the story

of Peter Talen. Peter died in an off-campus fire in Madison.  A must see video -->

Campus Fire Safety


 As students return to campuses around the country, it is wise to take the time to be educated on life-saving fire safety practices. Thousands of fires occur each year in both on- and off-campus housing, many of which could have been easily prevented.

Safety Tips
  • Look for housing equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.  
  • Make sure your dormitory or apartment has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level. For the best protection, all smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly.  
  • Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
  • Learn the building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
  • If living off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
  • During a power outage, use a flashlight not candles.
  • Burn candles only if the school permits their use. A candle is an open flame and should be placed away from anything that can burn. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow it out when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Cook only where it’s permitted.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Up to 75% of all structure fires involved cooking equipment.
  • Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine or alcohol.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside and only where it’s permitted. Don’t smoke in bed or when you’ve been drinking or are drowsy.
  • Check the school’s rules before using any electrical appliances.
  • Use a surge protector for the computer and plug the protector directly into an outlet.


National Fire Protection Association


Bartenders Belch Fire

Just a reminder to be sure that you remain in compliance with all fire codes when utilizing flame effects, and pyrotechnics.

Two Virginia bartenders face up to 45 years in prison for their Friday night firebreathing act. The men were hauled off in cuffs around midnight in late July without any warning from police or fire marshalls.

Jimmy's Old Town Tavern bartenders have performed the fire-breathing act for 13 years, at first doing the tricks on special occasions like birthdays or to honor a fallen fireman, police officer or soldier, [owner Jimmy] Cirrito said. By 1999, the fire-breathing bartenders had become a Friday midnight tradition, he said. The bar uses the fire-breathing bartenders on its advertisements....

Fairfax County fire investigators charged Tegee Rogers, 33, of Herndon, and Justin Fedorchak, 39, of Manassas, with manufacturing an explosive device, setting a fire capable of spreading, and burning or destroying a meeting house. They also were charged with several state fire code misdemeanors.

Both men have worked at the tavern nearly since it opened. They both recently became fathers and are very anxious about facing serious criminal charges...

These guys—reliable bartenders with a special skill that has been drawing Friday night customers to a local bar for more than ten years—could potentially wind up with rap sheets that imply they are Al Qaeda agents.
Click 'here' for original article

Fire Performance Thwarted

If you are in the entertainment/club industry, avoid this happening to you.  Consult a professional in regards to national/local codes and regulations.

Fire officials thwart illegal fire performance at Mass. rave
Officials did research on the production company and anticipated the type of performance -- By Brian Lee

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. — Fire officials said they thwarted a production company's attempt to pull off a forbidden fire performance at a rave Saturday at the 12 Crane St. art and entertainment complex.

There were 400 to 450 people at the rave. Most were outside, where burgers, water, fruit juices and fruit shakes were sold. Alcohol was served inside.

Fire Chief Richard J. Ciesla Jr. said he was on watch from 6:30 p.m. until closing. The number of people inside the building did not exceed its occupancy permits, and safety was never in question, fire officials said.

However, the company was not forthcoming about what the event would be, Fire Lt. Steven R. Lavoie said. In addition to meeting with the building owner and company Wednesday, and doing a walkthrough Thursday, fire officials did research on the production company. It found that some of the things it has done elsewhere were not approved by the Southbridge officials.

Though production company employees said they would comply with Southbridge officials' requests not to have any kind of open uncontained fire, they tried to put on just that type of fire performance anyway.

"Had we (police and fire) not been on top of our game, it probably could have been a lot worse," Lt. Lavoie said.
Keith Woods, owner of Tight Crew, the production company, said he was not told ahead of time about restrictions on a fire performance. "As soon as I was told it was an issue I made everybody that we had flown in specially - professional fire performers - they all packed it up."

Read the entire article here --

Pet Fire Safety Day

An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, and new data shows that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets.  July 15 has been declared Pet Fire Safety Day! Pet Fire Safety Day purposes to spread awareness about how to prevent pets from starting home fires and keep pets safe in the event of an emergency.

“Not many pet owners realize that their pet can actually be the cause of a devastating fire,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Simple preventative measures, such as flameless candles and removing stove knobs when leaving the house, can mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends.”

“Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible dog ownership,” Peterson said.

The following tips can prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, and keep them safe:

  • Extinguish open flames
  • Remove stove knobs -- stoves/cooktops are the number one cause of pet started fires
  • Invest in flameless candles
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks -- the sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it.
  • Pet proof the home
  • Keep pets near entrances when away from home -- so firefighters can easily find them
  • Secure young pets
  • Practice escape routes with pets
  • Consider using monitored smoke detection services
  • Affix a pet alert window cling
The NVFC has a listing of fire departments across the nation where pet owners can obtain a free pet alert window cling as part of National Pet Fire Safety Day. Visit to find a location near you.

The clings are also free online at

More information also available from

Fire Cadet Academy

This past week I attended (as an advisor), the 3rd Annual Florida Fire Cadet Academy.  This is one time a year that all the Fire Cadet/Explorer Posts from around the state, have the opportunity to come together for some extensive training. 

There were 75 explorer cadets, and 20 advisors (approx.).  The explorers were able to take part in training varying from, water rescue (on the beach, in the boat), extrication (hands on car cutting), arson investigation (determining the origin/cause of a car fire), and much more.

This is an awesome program.  The kids involved in the Fire Cadets will emerge as leaders in whatever career/field their lives take them.

For more information on the Fire Cadet Program (Florida) check out the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Rescue Cadet Section .