Fire Safety Management Handbook 3rd Edition
After completion of this chapter, the reader should be able to:
1. Explain the purpose of the National Fire Codes.
2. Describe the National Fire Protection Association’s consensus standard development process.
3. List the directories that the Underwriters Laboratories publishes.
4. Explain the key prerequisites that are evaluated by Industrial Risk Insurers for insurance purposes.
5. Define the purpose of the National Fire Academy.
6. Explain the role of government agencies.
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
For more than 85 years fire prevention has been one of the most important activities performed by fire departments based on the fact that the majority of fires are caused by unsafe or careless acts, arson, failure of equipment, or acts of nature. Fire prevention is made up of a number of activities that include enacting and enforcing fire codes, presenting public fire safety education programs, conducting property inspections, and investigating fire causes. Most communities adopt and enforce a full set of codes that includes many areas designed to establish health and safety standards.
Fire fighters must work to prevent fires and their highest priority is to educate the public relative to fire risks and hazards to share the common objective of limiting loss of life, injuries, and property damage. This is where the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) combines a number of documents that are intended to address a wide spectrum of issues related to fire and safety.
The NFPA is composed of over 73,000 members. It is the collective voice of a wide range of fire safety professionals. The NFPA’s mission is to prevent loss of life and protect property from fire. It is headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. The NFPA meets semiannually at its annual and fall meetings. Organized in 1896 as an independent, nonprofit organization, the NFPA is the oldest fire safety association in the country. It maintains an open door membership policy. Any organization or individual interested in its purpose is welcome. Its membership includes over 150 national and regional societies and approximately 32,000 individuals, corporations, and organizations. Voting members can participate in one of the following sections:
• Architects, Engineers, and Building Code Officials Section
• Aviation Section
• Education Section
• Electrical Section
• Fire Marshals Section
• Fire Science and Technology Educators Section
• Fire Service Section
• Health Care Section
• Industrial Fire Protection Section
• Lodging Section
• Rail Transportation Systems Section
• Research Section
• Wildland Fire Management Section
The NFPA is a technical and educational organization. Its major technical activityis developing, publishing, and distributing consensus standards. Its collection of consensus standards is organized into volumes called the National Fire Codes. The NFPA’s collection of consensus standards includes widely used documents such as the Life Safety Code® (NFPA 101®), Fire Prevention Code (NFPA 1), National Electrical Code® (NFPA 70), and the Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (NFPA 30). The standards are written such that they can be adopted into laws and regulations or incorporated by reference. Many federal, state, and local governments have adopted specific NFPA standards for enforcement. Examples include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local fire agencies. Other consensus standards have been developed for fire protection systems; fire protection of industrial operations, processes, and equipment; fire department operations and equipment; and numerous other topics. Engineering support is available to the membership for consensus standard interpretations and related assistance.
The NFPA’s standards are developed through a committee consensus format. Each committee is composed of individuals who represent a balanced cross section of interests and opinions from various groups within the fire safety community. Standards are developed in an organized manner. First, the NFPA publishes a call for proposals. Any individual, group of individuals with a common interest, or organization can identify the need for a new standard or amendment to an existing standard during this proposal phase. The proposed standard or amendment is published in the NFPA’s Technical Committee Reports on Proposals for public review and comment. Any individual or organization can send the NFPA comments about the proposed standard or amendment. Each comment is in turn published in the Technical Committee Reports on Comments, which gives the membership an opportunity to study and validate the comments. The committee prepares a final report for the membership. At this point, the new standard or amendment has been openly reviewed by the public. The proposed standard or amendment is then voted on by the membership at the annual or fall meeting. If the proposed standard or amendment is favored by the membership, then the NFPA Standard Council officially issues the new standard or amended existing standard. The educational activities include seminars on consensus standards, a public education program called Learn Not to Burn, publishing books such as the Fire Protection Handbook, investigating and reporting on large loss of life and property to provide lessons learned, maintaining a fire experience database, and an extensive technical library. The NFPA provides a wide range of books, training packages, educational materials, and visual aids. Members receive two publications: Fire News and Fire Journal. Members also receive a discount on publications, seminar rates, and subscriptions to the National Fire Codes.
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