NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE FIRE MARSHALS
A Strong United Voice for Fire Prevention
May 5th through the 11th is National Arson Awareness Week and this year's theme is "Preventing Arson at Construction Sites." The NASFM Fire Research and Education Foundation developed a comprehensive program designed to educate personnel, including general contractors, safety managers, first responders, and inspectors about fire prevention for buidings under construction, renovation, and demolation. The training program includes curriculum developed by a steering committee including Jim Tidwell, who served with the Fort Worth Fire Department, and is also active on the national fire code arena.
Jim recently authored an article which was published in Fire Engineering about the Construction Site Fire Safety Program entitled "Improving Fire Safety on Construction Sites." The full article can be read HERE.
The events in Parkland, Florida are tragic and heartbreaking. A senseless attack on students, teachers, and administrators is inexplicable. Our deepest condolences are extended to everyone affected by this horrific incident. Many seek to find a simple solution, and several concepts have emerged, including eliminating fire drills and implementing barricading devices.
While early reports indicate that the suspect may have initiated a fire alarm to lure victims out of the safety of their classrooms and offices into a danger zone, eliminating fire drills in an effort to protect civilians from an active shooter is a knee-jerk reaction. Fire drills have historically been shown to save lives. There are available and allowable systems in the fire and building codes to help address misuse of fire alarms, if implemented.
Additionally, NASFM would like to re-iterate its position that barricading devices should be carefully considered and not viewed as a reliable and safe solution. Any steps taken to mitigate an active shooter situation with a barricading device should also comply with building codes, fire codes, and life safety requirements. This includes the ability to readily unlatch the door from inside the classroom with one motion without the use of a key, a tool, or special knowledge, or effort, in order to facilitate immediate egress from the classroom.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the citizens and first responders of south Florida. We are proud of the heroes who stepped forward that day and hope for the day when every child can feel safe at school.
Please see more detailed information and guidance here.
Patriarch Jack Pearson's untimely death on NBC's hit show, "This Is Us" provides NASFM with an excellent opportunity to educate the public about home fire safety, particularly relative to smoke alarms. Before you toss out that traitorous Crock Pot, keep in mind that there's other things that could have helped save Jack's life.
Smoke alarms are critical! Remember, if there is a fire in your home, you could have less than 2 minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds, but most importantly NEVER EVER go back inside a burning building. Also:
More educational and outreach materials can be found on U.S. Fire Administration's Webpage.