VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office Issues Outdoor Heater Safety and General Guidelines
for Tent and Membrane Structures
RICHMOND – November 25, 2020 – As COVID-19 continues to place severe limitations on work and social environments, the seasonal weather will further impact how and where people gather. Many restaurants and other venues may use open outdoor space or a temporary membrane structure for patrons to have the adequate social space to comply with social distancing guidelines. With temperatures dropping, many business look to use portable heating appliances to provide necessary environmental comforts to its patrons. This guidance document provides general safety and code requirements within the 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) that govern the use and storage of portable outdoor heating, tent and other membrane structures. Guidance topics included:
- Portable, outdoor gas-fired heating appliances
- Portable, electric space heaters
- Tent and other Membrane Structure Guidelines
Review the Outdoor Heater Safety and General Guidelines for Tent and Membrane Structures
NFIRS Modernization Release: Update
USFA has released the new E-NFIRS. It is now available for users to begin (or continue) entering incidents manually. Users who are using a third party vendor software should refrain from using the Bulk Import Utility (BUI) until further notice. Users also should not export large quantities of data.
USFA priority at this time is to address the Bulk Import file validation:
The eNFIRS release includes checks to enforce the 2015 (current) NFIRS specification: specifically, a check on each data value’s length, and whether it exceeds the maximum length allowed for the field. During imports, each time the check finds a value too large, the incident fails with a generic “system error occurred” message written in the .log file. The check was put in place to enforce the 2015 specification and move toward improving system-wide data quality; however, based on the quantity of errors being reported, the USFA determines the check for max length to be too strict, especially for fields involving local-level data and non-required fields.
- For a short term solution, the USFA will unrestrict the max length checks on text (string, or data type: X) fields.
- The data in these fields will be truncated to the field’s specified length. The NFIRS Design Documentation contains records and field format length specifics: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/nfirs/support/documentation.html Details on the long term solution will be made available at a later date.
The adjustment for the max length value check is underway and planned for the coming weeks.
If you encounter any import issues, please forward the original import file AND the results .ZIP with a description and vendor (if known) to FEMA-NFIRSHELP@fema.dhs.gov.
IAFC President Urges Fire & EMS Preparedness for Civil Unrest
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President and Chairman of the Board Chief Richard R. Carrizzo recently issued an email of resources for its members to consider regarding the potential for civil unrest in response to Election Day and after.
“To help fire departments provide service to their communities in uncertain environments, the IAFC has both compiled and developed the following resources,” read more here.