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Amanda Kimball
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On 18 April 2016, the Foundation hosted the Symposium on Fire Protection for a Changing World. A engaged group of insurers, fire protection equipment manufacturers, engineers, academics, and fire service representatives gathered in Munich, Germany to hear presentations about emerging applications, concepts, and methods; fire protection challenges of new hazards; and big data for fire protection applications. The speakers represented a cross-section of industry, academia, insurance, and the fire service. The specific topics discussed at the symposium included trends impacting fire protection, economic and environmental impacts of fire events, intelligent buildings, tall wood buildings, photovoltaic systems, lithium-ion batteries, and many... Continue reading
Join us on April 18, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Munich - City Centre in Munich, Germany for an in-depth review of the latest emerging issues important to the global fire protection community. NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation present a one-day symposium on recent global research to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. The program includes presentations about intelligent building design, tall wood buildings, lithium-ion batteries, big data for fire protection, and much more. Additional details and a full program can be found on our website: The symposium will take place the day before Fire Sprinkler... Continue reading
The Research Foundation's SupDet 2016 symposium wrapped up last week in San Antonio, Texas. Over the course of the four-day conference more than 100 attendees and 30 presenters met to discuss the latest research, developments and emerging issues in the fire detection and suppression world. Attendees listened to presentations on topics such as the History of Fire, New Technology for High-Challenge Sprinkler Protected Warehouses, Hazards of Lithium-Ion Batteries, Data Collection related to Smoke Alarm Performance, Indoor Positioning Systems, new research focused on reducing Nuisance Alarms, as well as a workshop on the opportunities for big data to inform ITM practices... Continue reading
According to the NFPA report “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires”, "Half of smoke alarm failures in reported home fires were due to missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms are the leading cause of occupants disconnecting their smoke alarms. Cooking is the leading cause of nuisance alarms." Two SupDet 2016 presentations focused on this issue. Thomas Cleary (pictured below), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is conducting research on how current smoke alarm models react to the new polyurethane foam and nuisance tests in ANSI/UL 0217 Standard for Smoke Alarms (8th Ed.). In his presentation, Impact of Smoke Alarm... Continue reading
Those of us not blessed with a keen sense of direction and a solid mental map are deeply grateful for the now ubiquitous addition of GPS navigation to our lives. Long car trips have been shortened as we’ve avoided getting lost. “Marriages,” Lance Rütimann asserts, “have been saved.” Unfortunately, that saving grace deserts us when we go inside. In yesterday’s SupDet 2016 “Indoor Positioning Systems Enhance Safety and Security in Buildings” presentation authored by Oliver Zechlin and Lance Rütimann, Siemens Switzerland Ltd., Rütimann outlined the possibilities inherent in creating in indoor positioning system. Buildings would be thoroughly mapped and users... Continue reading
Joseph M. Fleming, Boston Fire Department, argues that we don’t. In his presentation at SupDet 2016, “Improving Data Collection of Smoke Alarms in Fires,” Fleming points out the investigators may be prone to bias, assuming fire alarms did or didn’t go off based on their expectations regarding survival likelihood. If no one escapes, they might simply assume that the alarm was not triggered. Investigators may even code the NFIRS Detector Operation Field as “failed to operate” or “undetermined” based on their assumptions despite witness testimony to the contrary. Regarding the “Detector Failure Reason” coding, he states, “Most fire chiefs are... Continue reading
Wednesday afternoon at SupDet was dedicated to a Workshop on Big Data and Fire Protection Systems focused on identifying the opportunities for big data to inform inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) decision making. The on‐going reliability of built‐in fire protection systems is related to ITM of these systems. Nathaniel Lin (pictured below), NFPA's new director of data strategy and analytics, gave a presentation on “Big Data Analytics and Decision Making” where he highlighted the need for analytics to turn raw data into insights and solutions that can be acted upon. “True analysis,” he said, “leads to predictions. It uses the... Continue reading
Lithium-ion batteries have become a staple of everyday life, from the small ones that power our cell phones, laptops, and tools, to the larger energy storage systems (ESS) that may soon be found in many houses storing energy created by solar panels for later use. With the power potential that makes them so useful comes additional safety concerns. This morning at SupDet 2016 we heard from a number of researchers examining different issues. Mark Smith presented 3M’s promising experiments with using fluorinated ketones to stop thermal runaway in battery packs in “Preventing Cell-to-Cell Thermal Runaway in Li-ion Battery Packs by... Continue reading
How can we apply smart firefighting to sprinkler protected high challenge warehouse fires? Christina Francis of Proctor & Gamble has some suggestions and they start with gathering data to determine the current state of the fire. Currently, it can be difficult for a fire brigade to determine the size and state of a warehouse fire upon arrival. Smoke, steam, and physical obstructions may obscure visual and infrared inspection, requiring hose teams to make estimates based main fire alarm panel data and their familiarity with the area. Rack storage may reach as high as 145 ft. which poses its own challenges... Continue reading
The suppression portion of SupDet 2016 kicked off yesterday with a keynote on the "History of Fire" by Dick Gann from NIST. He began with the idea that “fire safety is a benefit provided by a society using tactics, including fire suppression, whose nature reflects the cultural priorities of the era rather than being a force by itself.” For the first hominids, the preservation of fire would have been a priority. They recognized both its destructive power and its benefits, but without the ability to start fires, they had to preserve those they found in order to maintain their power.... Continue reading
There is still time to register for the Foundation's 2016 SupDet symposium, which will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio Downtown, San Antonio, TX from March 1-4, 2016. This year's symposium will feature 30 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications. In addition, on the afternoon of March 2 there will be a free half-day workshop on "Big Data and Fire Protection Systems". The goal of this workshop will be to identify and prioritize the opportunities for big data to inform decision making around inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems. An agenda... Continue reading
Registration is open for the Foundation's 2016 SupDet symposium, which will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio Downtown, San Antonio, TX from March 1-4, 2016. This year's symposium will feature 30 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications. The suppression session, which will take place March 1-2, will feature a keynote on the "History of Fire" by Dick Gann from NIST, presentations on the latest research on warehouse sprinkler protection, research on the protection of lithium ion batteries, and more. The detection and signaling section will take place March 3-4 and includes research on... Continue reading
The average age of people living independently has risen with the aging post war generation. Health care delivery for people of all ages has also dramatically changed in the last 20 years. The number of safety, medical and health technologies as well as home health care services available to those who desire to remain in their own home is growing every day. Recent fire events involving apartment buildings with a high concentration of seniors, including a fire in San Antonio where five people died, have raised questions related to the level of safety in buildings that are often times described... Continue reading
Firefighters put themselves on the front lines everyday — protecting our communities and acting as first responders in emergencies. To support these heroes, Nest and the Leary Firefighters Foundation have teamed up to award two $25,000 grants for new technology and equipment to fire departments in need. To qualify for the grant, departments will need to be nominated by members of your community. Every vote counts. The ten departments with the most nominations will become grant finalists and the Leary Firefighter Foundation will award two grants through its formal grant application process. Nominations are accepted on from October 5... Continue reading
There is an open Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Foundation project on Fire Department Connection (FDC) Inlet Flow Requirements for NFPA 14. The RFP is accessible from the Foundation website. Proposals are due July 15th. Please contact Amanda Kimball ( at the Foundation with any questions. The Foundation Policies and Guidance for Contractors can be found on the website. Continue reading
The Fire Protection Research Foundation has a current phase 1 project on the impact of sloped ceilings on the sprinkler protection of storage commodities, which could result in new design guidelines for the sprinkler protection of warehouses with sloped ceilings. At this stage in the project we are gathering data to determine the full nature of the challenges associated with the design of these systems. If you have involvement with these systems in any capacity (building owner, system designer, AHJ, insurance agency, contractor, installer, etc.) please share your experiences with us through this brief survey. For each unique experience submitted... Continue reading
The Fire Protection Research Foundation issued a new report this month on occupant load factors for ambulatory health care facilities. During the last cycle for NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, a need was identified for supportable occupant load factors for ambulatory health care facilities. The Technical Committee on Health Care Occupancies did not feel that the factors for patient treatment areas in health care facilities were appropriate. The Foundation undertook two separate efforts on this issue with the objective to provide data on occupant loading in ambulatory health care facilities to the Technical Committee. The first was completed in spring... Continue reading
Registration is now open for the Foundation's 2015 Suppression, Detection, and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SupDet), which will be held March 3-6, 2015 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive in Orlando, Florida. SupDet 2015 will feature over 30 presentations including: Latest in detection and signaling research including detection... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
There are two open Requests for Proposals for Foundation projects. The projects are "Protection of Storage Under Sloped Ceilings - Phase 1" and "Use of Gaseous Suppression Systems in High-Airflow Spaces: Capabilities and Knowledge Gaps". Both RFPs are accessible from the Foundation website. Proposals for the protection of storage under... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
A reminder that the call for papers has been issued for the 19th annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SupDet 2015) which will be held March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. Abstracts are due September 15. Papers are sought on new developments with a focus on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
The 15th International Conference on Fire Detection, AUBE ’14, hosted by the University Duisburg-Essen, Chair of Communication Systems (NTS) and co-sponsored by the Research Foundation, will be held in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany, October 14-16, 2014. The Venue ‘Die Wolfsburg‘ is very close to the University. The preliminary conference... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
At this year's NFPA Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the Foundation, along with NFPA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will host a research planning workshop for human behavior in fire related to occupant evacuation in fires and similar emergencies. The goal of the workshop will... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Foundation recently completed a Phase 1 project related to characterizing nuisance sources for home smoke alarms. A report for this project is available on the Foundation's website. The Phase 1 effort included a literature review on the topic, a gap analysis, and recommendations to fill the gaps. The Phase... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
Presentations from the Foundation's recent Suppression, Detection, and Signaling Research and Applications (SupDet) Symposium are highlighed in the April 1 edition of the Journal of Risk and Crisis Communication: Information Needs of Vulnerable Populations - Bryan L. Hoskins, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University Reducing False Alarms - A case study of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 18th annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SupDet 2014) will be held March 4 – 7 at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida. The program includes 30 presentations on the latest developments in research, technology, and applications for the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2014 at Fire Protection Research Foundation