The National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) is the most widely used source for strategies to protect people based on building construction, protection, and occupancy features that minimize the effects of fire and related hazards. It is the only document that covers life safety in both new and existing structures. And while it doesn't mandate that any states or buildings must follow this code, many states use it as the foundation and reference for fire life safety and building codes throughout their communities.
While I fought the state of Virginia to change their unsafe laws related to carbon monoxide detection and prevention after the poisoning of my two children, and over 80 others, in their local preschool – I realized quickly that to take this to a national platform would require more than fighting each state individually.
Conversation evolved between myself and others fighting for stronger protection across all occupancies – and the ICC and NFPA are the places we need to start to get the conversation moving on a national code level.
The NFPA 101 code cycle happens every three years. Recently, they accepted public input for their upcoming NFPA 101 - 2024 edition. If our updates are included, we shouldn't expect enactment and enforcement on the state level for another 3-5 years after that. That's 6+ years, at least, waiting for change that needed to happen yesterday.
And so, we know we can't expect immediate change. But we're hoping that by providing the data that shows the need for stronger protections across all occupancies, new and existing, that the individuals who are charged with protecting the nation's life safety, can craft the language that will ultimately influence state laws and codes.
In the case of Carbon Monoxide in schools, this is a life and health safety issue. And we're honored to have our recommended revisions, Case Study and Incident List be included in the research that will be reviewed for the upcoming edition of NFPA 101. (Our submissions are on Page 75, Page 107 of the document linked below).
If you're interested in attending, contributing to, or listening in on the NFPA hearings for Educational and Daycare Occupancy safety, you may RSVP for the upcoming meetings August 9 – 10, 2021.