NFPA wants new December conference to be annual event

Florida conference to feature key fire and safety codes for installers
Thursday, September 30, 2010

QUINCY, Mass.—A special NFPA conference in December will feature the most up-to-date fire and safety code information taught by experts who work directly with those codes.

The NFPA Fire and Life Safety Conference, to be held from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17 in Orlando, “is a new and exciting concept for NFPA,” said Kim Fontes, NFPA’s division director, product development. She said NFPA hopes the conference will become an annual event.

The three-day conference, led by NFPA experts, differs from the association’s annual conference in size and scope. That conference—which in 2011 will be held in Boston from June 12 to June 14—typically has more than 150 educational sessions.

By contrast, Fontes said, the new specialized conference in December, “is smaller and more narrowly focused on key code areas.”

It will have more than 50 intensive educational sessions on the latest fire and life safety codes. NFPA staff and committee members will present the sessions, which will relate to four areas: building and life safety, detection and alarm, suppression, and codes and standards.

There also will be post-conference seminars on such topics as code requirements for maintaining fire and life safety systems, and explosion prevention and protection.

Fontes said the conference “is a great way for us to combine some of the most sought-after code topics in a single week.”

She expects participants will include installers, engineers, designers, and contractors. Fontes said all the attendees “will have an opportunity to hear directly from NFPA staff experts and committee members who work directly with the codes and standards.”

The sessions include one entitled “Smoke Detectors in Special Situations.”

Fontes said Larry Wenzel, a senior fire protection engineer with Hughes Associates, will present that session. He will discuss where detectors need to be installed to ensure they will provide detection and result in the proper operation of other equipment, Fontes said.

She said situations discussed in this session will include HVAC systems, high air movement areas and concealed spaces.

And because the conference will be in Orlando, Fontes said, “we have also enlisted Jerry Wooldridge who oversees building and life safety at the Walt Disney World Resort Complex to present a session on how they keep the rides, attractions, hotels and entertainment venues safe.”

Among the topics Wooldridge plans to discuss are “the design challenges and operational issues associated with some of the most unique structures and performance shows in the world.”