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 -->