Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out for this Fire Prevention Week 2017

“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” is the theme for this year’s Fire Protection Week, which will be held October 8–14.

According to a recent NFPA survey, nearly half of all Americans have not developed a home fire escape plan, and do not practice one regularly. Evidence suggests, however, that planning and practice can mean the difference between life and death in a home fire. “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” will not only seek to teach the public what a home escape plan entails, but also about how quickly home fires can spread and how little time residents have to escape safely. “People tend to think they have more time to escape a home fire than they actually do, and that over-confidence may play a role in why some people don’t develop a home escape plan or practice it regularly,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president for Outreach and Advocacy.

More information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s campaign can be found online at the FirePreventionWeek.org website.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations of 2017

OSHA just named the Top 10 most cited violations of 2017 at the annual National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo held in Indianapolis, IN.

The National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo brings together the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals annually and this year was no exception. Hundreds of safety professionals attended yet again one of the largest forums for health and safety, products, education, and networking events where they revealed OSHA’s most cited violations for this current year.

As stated by NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P Hersman, “The OSHA Top 10 is more than just a list, it is a blueprint for keeping workers safe. When we all work together to address hazards, we can do the best job possible to ensure employees go home safely each day.”

For those involved in the fire escape industry, it comes as no surprise that Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501) continues to maintain the No. 1 spot on this list. While, scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451) comes in at third and ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053) at sixth place in the list shedding light yet again to the most prominent violations handed out by OSHA thus far.

OSHA states that employers must train workers in hazard recognition and the care and safe use of equipment such as ladders and scaffolds, and fall protection systems.

Falls can be prevented when employees understand proper set up and safe use of equipment.

Ladder Safety: Employees must be trained to properly use a ladder- this includes safety measures like:
-Maintain three points of contact
-Place the ladder on level footing
-Always face the ladder
-Secure the ladder by locking the metal braces at the center of the ladder
-Don’t overreach
-Don’t walk the ladder

Scaffold Safety: Employees must be trained to safely set up and use scaffolds- this includes safety measures like:
-During setup: fully plank scaffolds, complete all guardrails, ensure stable footing and plumb and level
-Ensure proper access to scaffolds
-A competent person must inspect the scaffold before use
-Don’t climb over cross braces
-Don’t stand on guardrails
-Don’t use a ladder on a scaffold
-Roof Safety: Employees must be trained to avoid fall hazards on -a roof and properly use fall protection equipment-this includes safety measures like:
-Make sure your harness fits and is not defective when using PFAS
-Always stay connected/tie off
-Ensure that all anchor points are safe
-Protect all holes, openings and skylights
-Don’t sit or walk on skylights or other openings

Below is a full list of OSHA’s top 10 violations and some NFPA codes and standards in hopes of helping to resolve and mitigate future violations related to stairways and ladders, scaffolding, and fall protection training and requirements.

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,072 violations

2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): 4,176 violations

3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,288 violations – Scaffolding is addressed in Chapter 8 of NFPA 241, the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. The document provides measures for preventing or minimizing fire damage to structures, including those in underground locations, during construction, alteration, or demolition. More information about this standard and how it applies to all construction projects regardless of size can be found in a recent NFPA Bulletin titled, “Prevention Construction Site Fires”

4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134): 3,097 violations

5. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,877 violations

6. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,241 violations – Ladder accidents happen all the time it is crucial to perform safety checks before ladders are to be used in order to guarantee safe-working conditions. OSHA encourages you to review the Ladder Safety Checklist before each use.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,162 violations

8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,933 violations

9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,523 violations

10. Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305): 1,405 violations

Article Created by Gabriel Cabrera, Chief Technology Officer for the National Fire Escape Association on Oct 11, 2017.

Throwback Thursday! 2012 Fire Code Adoption. Back When Fire Escapes First Became Subject to Specific Examination Requirements

CHANGE TYPE: New

CHANGE SUMMARY: Existing exterior fire escapes require an inspection by a registered design professional or persons acceptable to the fi re code official no more than every 5 years.

2012 CODE: 1104.16.5 Materials and Strength. Components of fire escape stairs shall be constructed of noncombustible materials. Fire escape stairs and balconies shall support the dead load plus a live load of not less than 100 pounds per square foot(4.78 kN/m2). Fire escape stairs and balconies shall be provided with a top and intermediate handrail on each side. The fire code official is authorized to require testing or other satisfactory evidence that an existing fire escape stair meets the requirements of this section.

1104.16.5.1 Examination.
Fire escape stairs and balconies shall be examined for structural adequacy and safety, in accordance with Section 1104.16.5, by a registered design professional or others acceptable to the fire code official every five years, or as required by the fire code official. An inspection report shall be submitted to the fire code official after such examination.

CHANGE SIGNIFICANCE: Building fire escapes are a means-of-egress component in many existing multiple-story buildings. Neither the IBC nor IFC contains a specific definition as to what actually constitutes a fire escape, and in previous editions of the codes, they did not establish a frequency for their inspection. The IBC provisions for existing building in Section 3406.1.2 only permits a fire escape as a means-of-egress component in existing buildings and limits the installation of new fire escapes on existing buildings when the building code official determines they are necessary based on the substantiation by the registered design professional that exterior stairways cannot be used due to the lot line limiting the size of the stair, or conditions where the fire escapes could impact the egress path in sidewalks, alleys, or roads at grade. Additionally,new fire escapes, when allowed by the building code official, cannot utilize ladders or windows as a means of egress component. Fire escapes are typically prohibited in new construction.

A new requirement in Section 1104.16.5.1 establishes an inspection frequency for fire escapes and balconies erected on existing buildings. By design, fire escapes present a lot of concern to code officials because the stairs, ladders, balconies, and mechanical fasteners are commonly constructed of carbon or galvanized steel, which will rust if not properly maintained. Rust is a metal oxide that corrodes and damages carbon or galvanized steel and reduces its strength. The evaluation is necessary to
confirm that this exterior stair egress component satisfies a minimum design load requirement prescribed in Section 1104.16.5, is properly maintained, and is available for service in the event of an emergency that requires the occupants to egress the building. Unless otherwise specified by the fire code official, the 2012 IFC requires an inspection of fire escapes and their balconies every 5 years.

Fire escapes are now subject to specific examination requirements. 1104.16.5.1.

128 PART 3 ■ Building and Equipment Design Features
The individual evaluating fire escapes is required to be a registered design professional or an individual approved by the fire code official. The evaluation should include a review of the requirements in ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, including the requirements in Section 13.4 for mechanical fasteners and Section 4.4 for handrails and grab bars. If adopted by the jurisdiction, the individual performing the inspection should also review the ASCE 7 Appendix  11B requirements for existing buildings.

2012 International Fire Code Significant Changes Edition

Ottumwa, Iowa Addresses Courthouse Fire Safety

OTTUMWA, IOWA— The initial report from a consulting firm’s May site visit has the county wondering what additional work will have to precede the replacement of windows in the courthouse.

In March the county board of supervisors agreed to have Chairman Jerry Parker contact Victor Amoroso of A and J Associates for recommendations on replacing windows in the courthouse. “There are certain things we can and cannot do,” said Parker, because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Amoroso and architect Douglas Steinmetz examined the windows in May. Parker told supervisors last week that Steinmetz and Amoroso “found some things they thought we might want to address before we do the windows.”

Two concerns that Parker mentioned were sand in the fifth floor front window and sporadic fire protection.

Sand in the fifth floor front window may indicate that the masonry is pulling apart, Steinmetz’s report says. Photographs and observations made at the time of the site visit were inconclusive though there does appear to be an area of missing exterior mortar, Steinmetz said.

According to the report, exploratory construction will be needed to evaluate the situation. In addition, the missing center pier at this window will have to be reconstructed. “This will help with structural concerns and also reduce the glass area helping to reduce solar gain in the office located by this window,” the report says.

Steinmetz called the fire protection system at the courthouse “spotty.” “System does not provide full coverage along designated exit routes,” his report says.

County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon told supervisors last week that the courthouse is inspected every year, and she doesn’t understand why the deficiency hasn’t been mentioned before.

“It might be good to have the fire inspector look at it,” said Parker at the May 30 board meeting.

Supervisor Greg Kenning suggested that the county address the sprinkler issue before proceeding with the window project.

Supervisors instructed Spurgeon to look into Steinmetz’s concerns in collaboration with courthouse Building Maintenance Manager Andrew Birch.

“I still haven’t read the report yet,” said Spurgeon Monday. Her office is busy with fiscal budgets this time of year. Spurgeon said the courthouse is inspected every year, and spotty coverage of the sprinkler system has never been brought to her attention.

Parker said Monday that there are no sprinklers on the fifth floor of the courthouse. “We don’t know that they are required to be there,” he said. The floor is used only for storage.

Parker said the county also has questions about some fire escapes and exit routes. “Some of the bolts going into that old stone are loose,” said Parker. If the fire escapes are needed, their stability will have to be addressed.

Another issue supervisors want to address involves the escape route through the main courtroom on the third floor. “We keep that door locked,” Parker said. “They were afraid people visiting the courthouse could slip a weapon in there, so we were required to keep that door locked.”

However, the courtroom is designated as an escape route, Parker said. If the fire inspector requires that access to the courtroom be unrestricted for fire safety, the county will not be able to keep the courtroom locked as law enforcement requested.

Anyone in the courtroom has an escape route, Parker said, but when court is not in session, the room is locked, and a different escape route has to be used.

Parker said that he’s contacted Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller to request that the city’s fire inspector look into the issues addressed in the Steinmetz’s report.

Source: Ottumwa Courier
Reporter Winona Whitaker can be contacted at wwhitaker@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @courierwinona.

Howdy Ya’ll! We’ll Be In Texas Next Month To Host a Fire Escape Awareness Seminar, Come Join Us, As We Speak to Local AHJ’s Across Texas About The Dangers of Fire Escapes!

Join us for our monthly meeting & training for June 2017. This month we will be joined by Francisco Meneses with the National Fire Escape Association to discuss fire escapes. We will discuss the basics of code requirements as it relates to the -history of fire escapes -standardizing the process of inspecting fire escape systems -standardizing the process of Repairing, Certifying and/or Load Testing Fire Escape Systems -introduction of Industry Standard Documentation
2012 IFC 1104.16.5.1 Fire escape stairs must be examined every 5 years, by design professional or others acceptable and inspection report must be submitted to the fire code official.

All members in attendance will be issued one CEU for one hour. Please make sure to RSVP and please bring $10 for a buffet lunch.

visit the Fire Prevention Association of North Texas for more details: http://fpant.org/

Philadelphia developed a new application to help citizens map locations of Fire Escapes throughout Philly

Fire Escape Breaking News! The next big Fire Escape Tsunami wave has officially touched ground-zero in the city of Philadelphia, that is, because Philly’s Fire Department and Department of Licenses and Inspections just released an application, called “Fire Escape Crowdsourcing”; that will help identify and officially map Fire Escapes throughout the city in preparation for July 1st, 2017 upcoming mandatory inspections.

http://phl.maps.arcgis.com/apps/GeoForm/index.html?appid=865ee36b9ab14590a51d4d2aa8f9c951

Fire Escapes

Bill No. 160462, passed by City Council last year, amended the Philadelphia Fire and Property Maintenance Codes to require that building owners have fire escapes and fire balconies regularly inspected by a licensed professional engineer with experience in structural engineering.

Pursuant to the bill, the engineer must conduct an inspection, provide the building owner a full report on the inspection, and submit a summary of the report to L&I. The inspection report must include a classification of the condition of the fire escape/balcony or façade as Safe; Unsafe; or, if the condition is not currently Unsafe but will become so unless specified repairs and maintenance are completed, as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program. If the report:

  • Identifies any Unsafe conditions, you have 24 hours to take actions necessary to protect public safety, including posting notice of the condition inside the building; 3 days to apply for necessary permits to repair the fire escape/balcony; and 10 days to begin work to correct the condition. Following the repairs, the engineer has two weeks to reinspect and submit an updated report.
  • Identifies any conditions as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program, you are responsible for taking the actions identified in the report to keep the conditions from becoming Unsafe.
  • Classifies your fire escapes/balconies as Safe, they will be tagged with weather-resistant placards that include the date of inspection and the date of the next required inspection.

Due Date: Inspections, reports, and summaries are due July 1, 2017, or ten years after the construction of your building, whichever comes last, and then every five years thereafter. If you have restored your fire escapes/balconies since June 30, 2016, you may request an extension of the due date for your first inspection by contacting L&I at fireescapereports@phila.gov.

For more information and required forms, please see the L&I website at http://www.phila.gov/li/Pages/PermitsCertificates.aspx.