I went to the first meeting. This group is concerned with chemicals produced in fires when building materials burn and the possibility that too much concern in only one direction by powerful committee members, now making new world code decisions, could leave us building codes which allow only stark naked, cinder block buildings (not just an architect's nightmare).

National Fire Research Foundation
Announces Smoke Hazard Study

WASHINGTON D.C., April 26, 1999 - The Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is announcing the launch of a major private/public fire research initiative to study the effects of fires on preventing victims and firefighters from escaping smoke and other toxic products.

A significant number of U.S. companies and associations have indicated an interest in funding up to $1 million of this consortium-sponsored project. Set to start this summer, the two-year study will receive technical guidance from the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Building & Fire Research Laboratory, an institute of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Federal support is anticipated to be provided through NIST.

Foundation President Rick Mulhaupt noted the timeliness of the study. "Fire safety experts historically have focused on the prospect of a fire to cause death. Recent actions in international and national fire safety standards arenas have drawn increased attention to the difficulty of escaping a fire, and to fire caused illnesses." He said the study will ask, If, when and how would fire gasses cause fire victims and firefighters to be incapacitated."

Safety measures aimed at fire-caused incapacitation and health effects were first introduced in the European Community. Recently, members of the EC put the regulations before the International Standards Organization (ISO). But regulators are finding information scarce for their decisions. "Unfortunately, knowledge and data are virtually non-existent in this area," Mulhaupt said. "Presently, no one can tell whether the policy would help or hurt public and firefighter safety, or building and furnishings fire safety. Proposing the regulation in the ISO puts fire safety questions in the middle of international trade considerations, with potentially far-reaching consequences. There is an urgent need for scientific data."

The Fire Protection Research Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization established in 1982 to facilitate the research needs of code groups, NFPA technical committees, manufacturers, insurers, enforcers and the fire service. The Foundation's mission is to communicate objective, usable solutions to fire problems through research. The National Fire Protection Association has led the way to fire safety since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the burden of fire on the quality of life by advocating scientifically based codes and standards, research and education for fire and related safety issues. NFPA and The Research Foundation headquarters are in Quincy, Massachusetts, USA. Visit the Public Affairs Media Access page on NFPA's website at http://www.nfpa.org.


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