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The NFPA Podcast
43 minutes | May 24, 2022
An Arc-Flash Survivor’s Story
In 2011, longtime electrician Brandon Schroeder was involved in an accident on the job that left him severely burned and without the use of his hand. After a long and grueling recovery, Schroeder became a vocal advocate for electrical worker safety and now travels the country to offer his own story as a warning. In honor of Electrical Safety Month, we invited Schroeder on the podcast to discuss his accident, the realities of safety culture on job sites, and what he sees as some of the main challenges to improving safety for workers. Links: See NFPA’s Electrical Safety resources Watch videos detailing the experiences of other burn survivors Check out Schroeder’s website, believeinsafety.com If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org.
38 minutes | May 10, 2022
Lessons from Grizzly Flats
For more than a decade, the small, wooded town of Grizzly Flats, California has participated in Firewise USA, an NFPA program where residents voluntarily work together on community projects to lessen their risks from wildfire. In August 2021, however, the Caldor Fire tore through Grizzly Flats, putting its mitigation efforts through a major test. Today on the podcast, we talk to Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan, the manager of the Firewise USA program, about what she discovered on her recent visit to the fire-ravaged community, and what lessons Grizzly Flats’ experience could provide to residents in other fire prone areas. Links: Read Fitzgerald-McGowan’s essay in NFPA Journal about her trip to Grizzly Flats Read more about the Firewise program and see a map of Firewise communities If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at email@example.com.
54 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
Under Fire: Life for Responders in Ukraine
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES) has taken on an unrelenting burden since Russian forces invaded more than two months ago. Among other tasks, the SES’s 60,000 responders put out fires, search for survivors buried under rubble, clear landmines, and recover the dead—all while being shot at and shelled by the Russian military. On today’s episode, we speak with a top SES official about the situation for responders in Ukraine, how they are persevering, and how the global community can help (1:53). Then, we talk with a Canadian firefighter who founded the organization Firefighter Aid Ukraine, which since 2015 has delivered many tons of much-needed equipment to Ukrainian responders (16:08). LINKS: See photos and read more about the experience of Ukrainian first responders in this online feature from NFPA Journal Learn more about Firefighter Aid Ukraine. If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach the NFPA Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org.
34 minutes | Apr 12, 2022
Drugs, Falls, and Fires
Research suggests that two-thirds of US adults aged 65 and older use at least three prescription medications. Meanwhile, older adults are twice as likely as the general population to experience a fatal fire, and deaths and injuries from accidental falls have skyrocketed in this age group over the last decade. It begs the question: Do certain prescription drugs increase the fall and fire risks for older adults? Our guest Jamie McAllister spent months working on a Fire Protection Research Foundation project to analyze existing research on the relationships between drugs, falls, and fires. Today on the podcast, we talk to McAllister about what she and her team discovered and what it could mean for public-safety educators. Links: Read the Fire Protection Research Foundation report, “Review of Impact of Medications on Older Adult Fall and Fire Risk” Read an NFPA Journal feature article on NFPA’s new fire and fall prevention program for older adults If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach the NFPA Podcast at email@example.com.
41 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
40 Years of Fire Research
Since 1982, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, has been instrumental in answering countless important questions about how best to protect the world from fire and electrical dangers. Its research has improved safety in countless industries and led to numerous changes to codes, consumer products, fire test standards, and more. Today on the podcast, we celebrate the Foundation’s 40th anniversary by speaking with its two most recent executive directors to learn more about its work and impacts, and what emerging topics will dominate the next decade of fire research. Links: Read Amanda Kimball’s NFPA Journal Feature on the Research Foundation Visit the Foundation’s homepage If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hi, you can reach the NFPA Podcast firstname.lastname@example.org.
33 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Long COVID and the Fire Service
Dr. Denise Smith, who has spent decades researching the physiological impact of firefighting, joins The NFPA Podcast to discuss how firefighters who have been infected with COVID-19 could struggle for weeks or even months following acute illness as they return to work. Smith and other researchers are currently working on a project supported by the Fire Protection Research Foundation to study long COVID in the fire service. LINKS If you are a member of the fire service, help Smith and other researchers complete their study by sharing your experiences with long COVID here: https://ndri1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1YzSu9QjIlIwSeW Watch a video about the study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zF3OAQ-nHs& If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at email@example.com
39 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
The Dangers of Static Electricity
Static electricity doesn’t usually get a lot of attention, but maybe that should change. One tiny spark, many times smaller than what a human can perceive or feel, can cause huge industrial accidents with deadly consequences. And the findings of a new study by the Fire Protection Research Foundation suggest that incidents involving static are much more common than most experts previously believed. On today’s podcast, we talk to an expert about the science behind static, what causes it, how can we mitigate it, as well as the significant revisions now taking place to an under-the-radar NFPA document NFPA 77, Recommended Practice on Static Electricity. LINKS: Read the Spring 2022 NFPA Journal Feature on Static Electricity Read the Fire Protection Research Report on Static Electricity If you have questions, feedback, suggestions or just want to say hello, you can reach the NFPA Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org
47 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
‘Working Together’: Moving the US Fire Service Forward
Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, who was appointed as the US fire administrator in October, joins The NFPA Podcast to discuss her priorities for the US Fire Administration in 2022 and beyond—from the need to focus on first responder health and safety to the need to better train our nation’s firefighters on a wide range of emerging hazards. LINKS: Watch Moore-Merrell, NFPA President Jim Pauley, and others discuss last month’s tragic fires in the Bronx and Philadelphia: https://nfpa.org/er-track Learn more about the US Fire Administration: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/ If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at email@example.com
54 minutes | Jan 25, 2022
One Week, Two Fires, 29 Deaths
In early January, two of the deadliest residential fires of the past 40 years in the US happened just days apart in Philadelphia and the Bronx. A total of 29 people died, including more than a dozen children. On today’s podcast, we look at the factors that led to such a tragic loss of life (0:52) and ask what we might learn from these incidents. NFPA experts on codes, firefighting, fire investigations, and public safety education, share their observations and takeaways from the Bronx and Philadelphia blazes, and consider what changes could come as a result. Interviews: Kristen Bigda and Bob Duval (6:41) Andrea Vastis: (34:47) LINKS: Nfpa.org/education Sparky.org If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org
24 minutes | Jan 11, 2022
Preventing Human Trafficking
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In today's episode of The NFPA Podcast, we revisit an interview NFPA Journal Executive Editor Scott Sutherland conducted with Jeremy Inglis in October. Inglis, a Canadian fire chief, discusses how firefighters, building inspectors, and others can learn to better identify and help prevent human trafficking. LINKS: Read the NFPA Journal feature article and explore resources on human trafficking prevention: https://www.nfpa.org/plainsight If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at email@example.com
36 minutes | Dec 28, 2021
Earned Wisdom, Part 2: Greg Cade
Two important figures in the US Fire Service, Russ Sanders and Gregory Cade, have announced they will be retiring at the end of 2021 after a combined 105 years of service to the fire profession. In today’s Part 2, we talk to Greg Cade, who rose from a volunteer firefighter to big city fire chief, and eventually to US Fire Administrator, the top-ranking fire officer in the nation. Cade has also served in leadership roles at the International Association of Firefighters and at NFPA. He shares his thoughts on the plight of the US volunteer fire service, why leaders can never stop learning, and what it’s like to have Secret Service agents knocking on your door. Links: Part 1: Russ Sanders If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org
36 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
Earned Wisdom, Part I: Russ Sanders
Two important figures in the US Fire Service, Russ Sanders and Gregory Cade, have announced they will be retiring at the end of 2021 after a combined 105 years of service to the fire profession. In today’s Part 1, we talk to Russ Sanders, who has helped guide the influential Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association for the last 26 years. Before that, Sanders was a firefighter at the Louisville (Kentucky) Division of Fire for 27 years, including nearly a decade as its chief. He shares his thoughts on leadership, how the fire service has evolved since he started his career in 1967, and the challenges and opportunities he sees for the profession’s next generation of leaders. Links: Nfpa.org/metro_uff If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can reach The NFPA Podcast at email@example.com
39 minutes | Nov 23, 2021
One Standard, Not Three
A significant effort is underway to combine and consolidate dozens of NFPA emergency response standards; the aim is to streamline the number of documents that departments need to consult on a given topic. In this episode, we talk to the leaders of the consolidation project (1:08) to learn how and why it’s happening, and how it will improve the lives of those who use the codes. Then, (10:02) we talk to the chair of the newly consolidated document, NFPA 470, Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Standard for Responders, to learn how three standards were merged into one, how NFPA standards are created in the first place, and why it’s critical for the fire service to engage in the process. Links: nfpa.org/errs nfpa.org/process Read an NFPA Journal article on the Emergency Response and Responder Safety Consolidation Project
52 minutes | Nov 9, 2021
Fire on the Ranch
When the Richard Spring Fire tore through southwestern Montana in August, Clint McRae, a 4th generation Montana cattle rancher, feared he’d lose not only his home, but possibly hundreds of animals and the vital grasslands they depend on for survival. On the podcast, McRae talks about that fire, his role as first responder on his property, and the desperate strategies he and other ranchers use to try and keep their cattle alive as fire approaches (1:17). Then, we speak to Michele Steinberg (20:15), the director of the Wildfire Division at NFPA, about the 2021 wildfire season, and the significant efforts underway to reverse the destructive trends we’ve seen from wildfire over the last five years—a situation Steinberg calls a “rolling disaster.” Links: Nfpa.org/outthinkwildfire Nfpa.org/firewise
30 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
Fires in Informal Settlements
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide currently live in informal settlements, including slums and shantytowns. Experts believe that number could double or even triple over the next 30 years. In today’s episode, Professor Richard Walls of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University discusses his research on the fire problem in informal settlements and some of the proposed solutions to address the problem. The cover story for the Winter 2021 issue of NFPA Journal will examine how global urbanization trends are expected to impact urban fire safety challenges—including informal settlement fires; building construction, inspections, and code compliance; and more—in the coming decades. Links: Watch the full version of the short film heard at 3:23: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z5SkDZtA3U
33 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
What If You Can’t ‘Hear the Sounds of Fire Safety’?
The theme to this year’s Fire Prevention Week is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” but what if you can’t hear, or have a mobility issue that makes it difficult evacuate? For the estimated 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, being notified of a fire and getting out of a building in an emergency often requires much more preplanning. Mark Larson, a former Idaho state fire marshal who has become an advocate and consultant for the National Disability Rights Network, explains common misconceptions about the disability community, why it is important for safety agencies to plan with rather than for people with disabilities, and how the fire service and disability community can better work together (1:05). To learn more and find contacts, visit the National Disability Rights Network Fire Protection Research Foundation report, “Review of Alarm Technologies for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations.” Fire Prevention Week tip sheet, Safety for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
58 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
The Surprise Battery Explosion
In 2019, a massive explosion rocked an energy storage facility in Surprise, Arizona, sending four firefighters to the hospital. With ever more powerful energy storage systems, or ESS, being installed across the world, researchers, firefighters, and manufacturers immediately understood that Surprise could be a seminal moment for the safety of this emerging technology. Today on the podcast, we go over the details of the incident with the fire chief of the responding Peoria (Arizona) Fire-Medical Department (2:05). Then, we speak to the authors of an extensive UL report on the Surprise ESS explosion about lessons learned, and what advancements in research, training, and technology need to occur to ensure that firefighters are safe during future ESS incidents (16:11). Links: On October 5, NFPA is hosting a workshop titled “Keeping Hazardous Environments Safe,”which will include a detailed discussion about the Surprise battery explosion with those who were directly involved. To learn more and to register, visit:nfpa.org/conferenceseries. Read a detailed NFPA Journal feature story on the Surprise incident Read the UL after-incident report, “Four Firefighters Injured in Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System Explosion – Arizona.”
47 minutes | Sep 9, 2021
The Lasting Impact of 9/11
It’s hard to believe that the September 11 terrorist attacks happened 20 years ago this month. Of the nearly 3,000 people killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania, more that 400 were emergency responders, including 343 firefighters. On today’s podcast, we consider how that day forever changed the US fire service. First, we’ll look at the dedicated responder network FirstNet and how incident communications have been revolutionized since 9/11(1:02). Then, we’ll talk to two national leaders in the US fire service, who reflect on their own experiences in the aftermath of the attacks and tell us what they think are 9/11’s lasting legacies (23:44).
43 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
Fire Protection for Flying Taxis
As the flying taxi industry readies for takeoff, critical fire, electrical, and life safety questions remain about the ground infrastructure needed to make commercial use of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft a reality. On today’s episode, we discuss how NFPA is working to answer those questions with Rex Alexander, a veteran helicopter pilot and technical committee member for NFPA 418, Standard for Heliports. LINKS Read more from NFPA Journal: https://www.nfpa.org/takeoff
46 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
The Push for Home Fire Sprinklers
When home fire sprinklers are present, residents are 80 percent more likely to survive a fire, and yet they are installed in only a fraction of new homes. For the past 25 years, a group called the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has worked to increase sprinkler use in North America, despite fierce opposition from various home builders. On today’s podcast, we talk to the president of HFSC about its successes, the ongoing challenges, and new strategies for getting fire sprinklers installed in more new homes (1:38). In the second segment, we talk to the director of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Policy Institute about a free new online tool that aims to help communities assess their safety ecosystem, and correct safety gaps before they lead to bigger problems (30:37). Links: homefiresprinkler.org nfpa.org/sprinklers nfpa.org/ecosystemtool
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