May-June 2023

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28 PalletCentral • May-June 2023 Resource V ice President of Science and Technology, Dr. Brad Gething, and Bill Koffel, president of Koffel Associates, a general practice, fire, protection, engineering, and consulting firm, conducted a 30-minute Q&A for NWPCA members and anyone interested in fire safety. Using the NWPCA Fire Compliance Manual, Gething and Koffel took questions from the Zoom audience which has been transcribed and condensed for our PalletCentral readers. What's the main purpose of the compliance manual? Bill Koffel: e compliance manual was developed as part of an initiative we undertook while working on the codes. Usually, codes are very prescriptive, instructing what specifically needs to be done. We wanted to introduce more of a risk manage- ment approach, acknowledging that pallets are a Fire Safety & Prevention WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW valuable asset at your facility. As such, the code now requires things like a fire prevention plan and a security plan. I'd emphasize that these are plans and not necessarily systems – there's no requirement for a security system, just a plan. In my view, the compliance manual serves two primary functions. Firstly, it alerts people to these changes in code requirements. Secondly, it provides guidance on how to develop a fire prevention or fire protection plan. How do you develop a site plan? Koffel: e code provides a list of elements that need to be included in your site plan. e compliance manual goes a step further by explaining how you can develop such a plan, based on our perspective as contributors to the development of these code requirements. Perhaps more valuable for some, the manual also provides sample plans. While I wouldn't advise you to simply take one of these samples and insert your facility's name into it, they can give you an idea of what to consider and what types of information should be included in your plan. When it comes to creating a site plan, we hope that a facility might already have one. It should indicate building locations, access points, water supplies, and utility features like overhead power lines. If such details are missing, the owner can mark up a basic plot plan that can be obtained from tax records. e most crucial aspects for fire officials are the locations of pallet storage, the size of the piles, and how they can access them for suppression. Other important information includes designated smoking areas, locations of hazardous material storage, and the location of the fire alarm control unit, if there The NWPCA Fire Compliance Manual is a key component of every company's fire prevention plan. iStock/Alexey Yaremenko

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