The U.S. Department of Transportation has made a major revision to CFR 49 Section 173.309 Fire Extinguishers. The revision was made to the opening section which describes what the US DOT classifies as fire extinguishers. This DOT description is not based on product use, NFPA, or other fire-related definitions. The DOT regulates the manufacturing, testing, and transportation of what it describes as fire extinguishers.
This revision makes pre-engineered and engineered fire extinguishing system cylinders "fire extinguishers" for transportation purposes. With this being the case, pre-engineered and engineered system cylinders would be required to be marked, labeled, and entered on the shipping papers as Fire Extinguisher, UN1044, Hazard Class 2. NOTE: this does not include any carbon dioxide cylinder, extinguisher, or cartridge. Carbon dioxide must transported, labeled, and marked as Carbon Dioxide, UN1013, Hazard Class 2.
Additionally, fire extinguishers and systems cylinders that are cartridge or cylinder operated may be transported as a fire extinguisher with the following limitations: the cartridge/cylinder must be part of the full assembly and as referenced in the DOT Interpretation 19-0052, the cartridge/cylinder must not contain carbon dioxide.
For additional information on packaging, please refer to DOT Interpretation 12-0075 which describes what the DOT considers as acceptable packaging of non-specification (cylinder) fire extinguishers.
Below is the text of the updated CFR 49 Section 173.309. The underlined areas are the revisions. For reference, you can access the full text here.
CFR 49 §173.309 Fire extinguishers.
This section applies to portable fire extinguishers for manual handling and operation, fire extinguishers for installation in aircraft, fire extinguishers for installation as part of a fire suppression system, and large fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers for installation as part of a fire suppression system include cylinders charged with either a compressed gas and an extinguishing agent or a gas which comprises the sole fire extinguishing agent in the system. A fire extinguisher does not include cylinders pressurized with a gas for purposes of expelling a separately stored extinguishing agent in the fire suppression system. Large fire extinguishers include fire extinguishers mounted on wheels for manual handling; fire extinguishing equipment or machinery mounted on wheels or wheeled platforms or units transported similar to (small) trailers; and fire extinguishers composed of a non-rollable pressure drum and equipment, and handled, for example, by fork lift or crane when loaded or unloaded. Cylinders filled with a compressed gas whose purpose is to expel a separately stored extinguishing agent may not be transported under this section when offered for transportation or transported apart from a suppression system.
There has been growing concern about the presence of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam). PFAS have been associated with serious environmental, pollution, and health issues. This has been a topic of discussion at NAFED conferences for the past three years. The major areas of concern have been at civilian and military airfields, petrochemical facilities, and firefighting testing and training facilities where AFFF has widespread use.
This issue also includes AFFF fire extinguishers. Recently both Amerex and Ansul have stopped production and sales of AFFF fire extinguishers and recharge agents. Badger is in the process of redesigning their stainless-steel cylinders and, once completed, will be offering their AR-AFFF extinguishers. A Buckeye representative stated that they are developing an AFFF extinguisher that should be introduced in the future.
This development has a significant impact on the fire extinguisher service industry. The current NFPA 10 requires that these extinguishers be recharged every three years and hydrotested every five years. However, without the agents being available, the extinguishers cannot be recharged and should be removed from service. Depending on the hazard being protected, another Class B rated extinguisher may be substituted. However, dry chemical or clean agent fire extinguishers do not have the ability to suppress vapors like a foam extinguisher does.
What happens next? New agents are being developed but we do not know what the timeline is before they are approved and developed for use in fire extinguishers.
The next edition of NFPA 10 is scheduled for release in 2021. The new edition contains a proposed revision to Section 188.8.131.52.1 that would read:
184.108.40.206.1 The premixed agent in liquid charge–type AFFF and FFFP fire extinguishers shall be replaced
One fire extinguisher manufacturer stated at the NFPA 10 technical committee meeting that their agent does have a five-year life. Once this agent and extinguisher becomes available there should not be a need to recharge those extinguishers on a three-year cycle.
Make certain that if you are servicing or removing AFFF extinguishers from service, the foam solution should not be disposed of by pouring into the sewer system or pouring it on the ground. The solution is considered a hazardous material and an environmental hazardous substance. Disposal must be in accordance with appropriate federal, state/provincial, and local regulations.
We want to thank everyone who participated in our survey. Here is a summary of the results.
2. If open, what safety precautions are you taking? What changes to employee habits?
Some specific responses include:
Responses for "other":
Remote services people are using:
7. Is there anything NAFED can do for you at this time?
As more and more states issue stay-at-home orders that require non-essential businesses to shut down, NAFED has received several calls asking if the service and maintenance of life safety and fire protection equipment and systems is considered an essential business.
We have reviewed several of the state orders and descriptions regarding essential businesses. We have also had discussions with others in the industry, and our consensus opinion is that YES, the installation, service, and maintenance of life safety and fire protection equipment is an essential business.
Although your operations are essential, you must remember that business is not “as usual.” You must take all the safety precautions that are currently required. Some actions that you should consider are:
NAFED along with FEMA and the Government Regulations Committee are monitoring the situation and a paper is being prepared for submittal to state and provincial agencies. Mark Conroy of Brooks Equipment is coordinating these efforts.
Visit the CDC, NIOSH, and your state's website for additional information.
There will be other changes to your operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important to remember to be safe.
We also have received additional guidance from industry partners and the Department of Homeland Security regarding essential operations during this time:
Guidance for Maintaining Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Regardless of Occupancy Status (NFPA)
Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (DHS - Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency)
Reason for Recall:
Honeywell learned of a quality issue affecting certain lot numbers of Fibre Metal E2 Cap and North Peak A79 hard hats that may render them unable to provide the impact protection for which they were designed and certified.
Risk to Health:
Although Honeywell is not aware of any safety incidents involving the affected hard hats, in cooperation with Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they have initiated a voluntary product recall of the items involved. The hard hats included in the recall may not provide the level of protection for which they were designed and certified in the case of impact.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled hard hats and contact Honeywell to receive a product credit or voucher equal to the purchase price of the recalled hard hat.
Honeywell toll-free at 888-212-6903 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.honeywellsafety.com and click on Voluntary Product Recall for more information.
If this is an item you may have purchased from Brooks, those item numbers are:
View the CPSC recall here.
Read additional notes from Honeywell here.
Now Available: Print–on–Demand Wall Certificates
You are now able to print your own wall certificates on myICC for your ICC Certification. Instead of waiting for the mail to get your wall certificate, ICC has added a Print-on-demand option for you to print your own certificate in your home or office. This comes at no additional cost to you.
Easily Print Your Certificate Online
When you are logged into myICC, click on the square "Certifications" button. Under "My Certificates" you will find a new column that gives you the option to print your certificate. When you click the print button, a new tab will appear where you will be allowed to download and save your certificate as a PDF or print from your computer.
Need to Use a Print Service?
You can send the downloaded PDF of your certificate to a print service, such as Office Depot, Kinko's, or Staples (costs for print services vary, but are generally less than $1.00 per page). Just upload your Certificate PDF and choose the Paper Type and Color on which you wish to print your Certificate. We've found that printing on heavier paper results in a wall certificate that looks great!
The Fire Equipment Manufacturers' Association has released a whitepaper on mounting extinguishers in compliance with the ADA and NFPA 101.
(PDF of the whitepaper available here)
The following is the text of the whitepaper:
There is an important discussion currently underway about the manner in which portable fire extinguishers are installed, especially as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and health care occupancies required to comply with NFPA 101. It should be noted that ADA was adopted into law in 1990, and the wall projection criteria related to the mounting method of portable fire extinguishers hasn’t changed; therefore, it would be inaccurate to say that current practices are ADA violations. Most existing extinguishers are code compliant and new installations need to comply with the original intentions of all applicable regulations, including ADA and NFPA 101. This document is intended to clarify the requirements and dispel some misinformation that is circulating among the industry. The 2010 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) have two heights for installing protruding objects on walls. They relate to people with sight disabilities. The upper height is 80 inches above the walking surface to avoid a head injury from running into the object. The lower limit is 27 inches above the walking surface. This means that any protrusion that extends to a point 27 inches or less from the walking surface complies with the ADA rules regarding protrusions from walls. This rule is intended to accommodate the sight-impaired population.
A sight-impaired person with a cane can detect a protruding object mounted on a wall with a cane and walk around it. An extinguisher with the bottom at 27 inches or less off the floor can be detected with a cane. Installing the extinguisher hanger so that the bottom of the extinguisher is 27 inches or less from the finished floor is ADA compliant.
Extinguishers Installed on Hangers and in Surface Mounted Cabinets
Surface mounted extinguisher cabinets follow the same rules as extinguishers on hangers. Where the bottom of the extinguisher or the bottom of the surface mounted cabinet is 27 inches or less above the floor, the ADA 4-inch protrusion rule does not apply because ADA permits the extinguisher or cabinet to protrude any distance from the wall. Extinguishers that are not in the circulation path (a circulation path is a way of passage for pedestrian travel such as walks, hallways, ramps, stairways, landings, platform lifts and courtyards) are exempt from these ADA protrusion rules.
Extinguishers Installed in Semi-Recessed and Recessed Extinguisher Cabinets
One reason semi-recessed and recessed cabinets are selected is for aesthetics (they look nice). Another reason is where an extinguisher bottom needs to be higher than 27 inches from the floor. These cabinets are used because they comply with the ADA 4-inch protrusion rule.
NFPA 101 and Extinguishers
NFPA 101, Life Safety Code establishes rules for people to leave buildings safely during evacuations. The current rules establish a maximum protrusion limit of 4 ½ inches where extinguishers are normally installed in the path of egress (e. g. corridors). Extinguisher cabinets are commonly used for compliance. Some extinguishers installed on hangers are within the 4½inch limit, but they may pose unnecessary obstructions. Installing recessed and semi-recessed extinguisher cabinets in the path of egress achieves the desired result of removing obstructions from the egress route. These projection requirements pertain to all objects and fixtures, including extinguishers and extinguisher cabinets.
Some sales and marketing information relating to this issue may be misleading or not complete. We are providing this information to clarify the actual requirements. Your knowledge of these rules will support code compliant installations and potential savings for the end users.
The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions was recently released and a long-in-development combustible dust rule (RIN: 1218-AC41) at OSHA was absent on the list of active actions. According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, “this Agenda represents the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on the American people. By amending and eliminating regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete, the Administration can promote economic growth and innovation and protect individual liberty.” According to Bloomburg BNA, business leaders in industries affected by the potential combustible dust rule, which would have offered additional protections for worker safety against a particularly troublesome hazard, cited it as too burdensome.
Sources: www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain, www.bna.com/trumps-osha-slashes-n73014462036/
In a memorandum released in July 2017, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed that in addition to the new requirements for fire and smoke door testing, they are extending the deadline for compliance to January 1, 2018. What follows is the text of the memorandum.
• In health care occupancies, fire door assemblies are required to be annually inspected and tested in accordance with the 2010 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80.
• In health care occupancies, non-rated doors assemblies including corridor doors to patient care rooms and smoke barrier doors are not subject to the annual inspection and testing requirements of either NFPA 80 or NFPA 105.
• Non-rated doors should be routinely inspected as part of the facility maintenance program.
• Full compliance with the annual fire door assembly inspection and testing in accordance with 2010 NFPA 80 is required by January 1, 2018.
• Life Safety Code (LSC) deficiencies associated with the annual inspection and testing of fire doors should be cited under K211 – Means of Egress - General.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted the 2012 edition of the NFPA LSC, which includes requirements for the maintenance, inspection, and testing of fire doors and smoke doors in certain certified health care facilities.
The 2012 LSC added new provisions under Section 220.127.116.11 – Inspection of Door Openings for the annual inspection and testing of certain fire doors and smoke doors assemblies in accordance with the 2010 editions of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, and NFPA 105 – Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives.
The new LSC provisions under sections 18.104.22.168.1 and 22.214.171.124.2 require certain fire door and smoke door assemblies to be inspected and tested annually in accordance with the NFPA 80 and NFPA 105. However, section 126.96.36.199.1 states that these requirements only apply where required by Chapters 11 through 43. Therefore, as the LSC health care occupancy chapters (i.e., Chapters 18, 19, 20, 21) do not directly reference section 188.8.131.52, these new annual inspection and testing requirement do not apply to health care occupancies.
It should be noted that the LSC chapters for assembly occupancies, education occupancies, day care occupancies, and residential board and care occupancies do directly reference 184.108.40.206. Therefore, if a health care occupancy contains a separated multiple occupancy, the 220.127.116.11 requirement for annual fire and smoke door inspection and testing would be applicable to these other occupancies.
Annual Inspection & Testing Requirements in Health Care Occupancies
Although the requirements under LSC section 18.104.22.168 are not applicable to health care occupancies, annual inspection and testing of fire doors assemblies in accordance with NFPA 80 are still required in health care occupancies by LSC section 22.214.171.124, which is applicable to all occupancy chapters.
In addition, with the exception of new doors in horizontal exits, the annual inspection and testing of smoke door assemblies in accordance with NFPA 105 is not required per LSC section 126.96.36.199 as doors in health care occupancies are not required to be smoke-leakage-rated.
In health care occupancies, annual inspection and testing in accordance with the 2010 NFPA 80 is required for all fire door assemblies. Non-rated doors, including corridor doors to patient care rooms and smoke barrier doors, are not subject to the annual inspection and testing requirements of either NFPA 80 or NFPA 105. But, non-rated doors should be routinely inspected as part of the facility maintenance program as all required life safety features and systems must be maintained in proper working order. LSC deficiencies associated with the annual inspection and testing of fire doors should be cited under K211 – Means of Egress - General.
Compliance Time Extension
CMS regulatory adoption of the 2012 LSC regulation was July 5, 2016, therefore the required annual door inspections and testing would be expected by July 6, 2017. However, considering the level of reported misunderstanding of this requirement, CMS has extended the compliance date for this requirement by six months. Full compliance with the annual fire door assembly inspection and testing in accordance with 2010 NFPA 80 is required by January 1, 2018.
Contact: If you have questions concerning this memorandum, please send them to SCG_LifeSafetyCode@cms.hhs.gov.