Knowing the process for creating and updating the standards provides a foundation to give you the ability to better explain the standard, the effect of the standard, and its application to your customer as you establish yourself as an SME.
Too often, commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning is treated as an afterthought to the fire safety of a commercial kitchen. In many ways, it’s the ugly stepchild to commercial fire suppression. Kitchen exhaust cleaning is typically performed during the night when customers and team members are absent. Because only the KEC team is there, people usually ask, “What actually do you do?”
What can be done to correct the stepchild analogy and educate people on what goes on during their commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning? For me, that responsibility lies with the commercial exhaust cleaner. If you are not prepared to educate your customers, including potential ones, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ), insurance companies, mall managers, and more on the necessities of properly cleaning and maintaining a commercial kitchen exhaust system, then you are part of the problem with our industry.
Being knowledgeable about NFPA 96 and how to apply and explain the standards is critical to your ability to manage customer expectations, meet AHJ requirements and avoid potential costly problems. Over the next few weeks, in a series of blogs, I will be explaining the applicable chapters of NFPA 96 and how they can help you educate your customer base for our industry.
To begin, we will start with how the National Fire Protection Association develops and updates standards.
The Development and Updating Process
It’s important to understand the process that NFPA follows to create and/or update a standard; having this understanding helps to establish you as a subject matter expert (SME) and qualifies you to be involved in the process. In general, standards are updated every three to five years, with the typical cycle taking two 2 years. The four stages are:
- Public Input
- Public Comment
- NFPA Technical Meeting
- Council Appeals and Issuance of Standard
The Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards establishes the procedure for the NFPA standards development. Other applicable NFPA rules include the Bylaws, Technical Meeting Convention Rules, Guide for the Conduct of Participants in the NFPA Standards Development Process, and Regulations Governing Petitions to the Board of Directors from Decisions of the Standards Council.
NFPA technical committees and panels serve as the principal consensus bodies responsible for developing and updating all NFPA codes and standards. Committees and panels are appointed by the Standards Council and typically consist of no more than thirty voting members representing a balance of interests. NFPA membership is not required in order to participate on an NFPA technical committee.
Appointment to a technical committee is based on factors such as technical expertise, professional standing, commitment to public safety, and the ability to bring to the table the point-of-view of a category of interested people or groups. Each technical committee is constituted to contain a balance of affected interests, with no more than one-third of the committee from the same interest category. The committee must reach a consensus in order to act on an item.
For more information on the Standards Development Process, go to: https://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/codes-and-standards/regulations-directory-and-forms/Stds_Dev_Process_Booklet_2018.ashx?la=en