NFPA show: electric car safety, expo on ADA accessibility and additional educational sessions

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Monday, March 18, 2013

QUINCY, Mass.—The 2013 National Fire Protection Association Conference & Expo will be held in Chicago in June, and highlights of the show include additional education sessions and an electric vehicle safety showcase that will address safety considerations regarding the growing number of charging stations installed in homes, businesses and public spaces.

The show also will include a new Accessibility Expo featuring fire and life safety products designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Accessibility Expo will co-locate with the show’s regular expo, which will feature more than 300 exhibitors.

The location of the annual show—considered the nation’s premier event in fire and life safety and which typically draws a crowd of about 5,000—is held in one of three cities every year: Las Vegas, Boston or Chicago. The event was last in Chicago in 2009, according to Lorraine Carli, VP of communications for the NFPA, based here.

“It’s a good central location,” she told Security Systems News. “It’s easy to get to.” Many attendees also are able to drive there from Illinois and surrounding states, she said.

The city is also rich in fire history, Carli noted. For example, the city was extensively damaged by fire in 1871, but rebuilding helped make Chicago one of the nation’s most important cities.

This year’s show, which is set to run June 10-13 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, will feature more than 150 educational sessions, compared to the more than 130 offered at last year’s show in Las Vegas. “We wanted to give people more flexibility and more choices,” Carli said about the additional sessions.

She said some sessions that would be of particular interest to fire installers and dealers include one titled “Interfacing Elevator Controls with Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems.”

With elevator technologies rapidly evolving, the session will address specific code requirements related to fire emergency operation in different types of elevators.

Another session, “Let’s Make This Year the Year to Do Something About the Response to Unwanted Alarm System Initiated Incidents — Collaborate to Solve Some Issues,” will look at how a public–private partnership to reduce unwanted alarms can support both the industry’s and fire department’s needs.

New changes in the NFPA’s 2013 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code also will be addressed in educational sessions. One such session, titled “Fire Alarm System Documentation Requirements—Understanding the New Chapter 7,” details the requirements of that new chapter that was added to NFPA 72. The session also will explain the different types of documentation required and give examples of actual documentation.

The keynote speaker will be Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian and author of the best-selling “Team of Rivals,” a book about Abraham Lincoln, who will speak about leadership and teamwork. She also will speak about her experience with the film “Lincoln,” for which Daniel Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Oscar this year for his portrayal of that president.