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Standardization Keeps You Safe during Fire Prevention Week 2014

Each fall, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) organizes Fire Prevention Week, a national event bringing increased attention to the significant public safety threat posed by fires. Fire Prevention Week, which takes place October 5-11, 2014, was established in 1922 to mark the anniversary of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, which killed more than 250 people and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings. ANSI and its Federation of members are proud to support fire prevention efforts through standards and conformance.

In addition to overseeing Fire Prevention Week, NFPA is responsible for the development of numerous standards and codes focused on fire prevention, fire safety, and other fire-related topics. One significant document developed by NFPA is NFPA 70-2014, National Electrical Code (NEC). This code provides information for the safe design, installation, and inspection of electrical systems in commercial, residential, and industrial settings, with a focus on reducing the potential hazards associated with electrical wiring, including fires. NFPA is also significantly involved in a number of partnerships and initiatives, including the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes [see related news item] and the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks [see related news item].

Fires can come in many forms and can strike all sorts of different structures and settings. To help individuals and organizations to effectively prepare for and prevent fires in a variety of situations, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the International Code Council (ICC) has developed a standard focused on hazards posed by fire and explosions. ICC IFC-2012, 2012 International Fire Code, provides important information regarding general fire precautions, emergency planning and preparedness, and automatic sprinkler systems, among other relevant topics.

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the number and severity of fires in the United States, fire engineering professionals are carrying out work to bolster our understanding of how fires start and spread. ISO 13571:2012, Life-threatening components of fire - Guidelines for the estimation of time to compromised tenability in fires, provides procedures for evaluating dangerous components in connection with fire hazard analysis, as well as other information. This International Standard was developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 92, Fire safety, Subcommittee (SC) 3, Fire threat to people and environment. As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI holds leadership of ISO TC 92 SC 3 and has delegated secretariat responsibilities to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC)'s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The U.S.'s Richard Gann, Ph.D., of NIST serves as the chair of ISO TC 92 SC 3, while ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to both ISO TC 92 and SC 3.

While popular depictions of the dangers presented by fires usually emphasizes the risk of burns and other consequences of direct fire contact, an often underappreciated danger comes from smoke inhalation, which has the potential to be just as deadly. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 149-2013, Laboratory Methods of Testing Fans Used to Exhaust Smoke in Smoke Management Systems, sets down test methods used for permanently installed fans used in the management of exhaust systems intended to manage smoke in case of fire. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by ASHRAE.

ANSI salutes Fire Prevention Week and the development of standards and codes supporting ongoing work to prevent fire-related fatalities and property damage. For more information about Fire Prevention Week 2014, visit NFPA's official Fire Prevention Week page.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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