Hawaii has adopted NFPA 1 as the state fire code for the first time, effective Jan. 1, 2010.

The decision to adopt the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire code rested with the State Fire Council, which is composed of the fire chiefs from the four county fire departments.

“We are very pleased that NFPA 1 has been adopted in Hawaii. It will be truly beneficial in helping us to ensure that all citizens of our state are better protected from the dangers caused by fires and explosions,” said Chief Ken Silva, chair of the Hawaii State Fire Council.

To assist the State Fire Council in the adoption, NFPA provided staff assistance by facilitating meetings of the council’s Fire Prevention Committee, which is composed of members of the fire prevention bureaus of the four county fire departments. In these meetings, the committee members spent many hours reviewing the entire code and determining amendments, based on enforcement authority, and other state and county statutes.

“The support that NFPA provided for this adoption effort is unprecedented,” said Socrates Bratakos, state fire council administrator and Honolulu fire department battalion chief. “It allowed our staff to concentrate on the technical provisions and amendments, while the NFPA staff took care of secretarial duties. The result was the best fire code for the state.”

NFPA 1 provides reasonable fire safety and property protection requirements to protect against risks associated with fires and explosions. It outlines inspection requirements for buildings, processes, equipment and other significant aspects that affect fire and life safety situations. The code provides guidelines on construction, specifications and maintenance of fire protection systems. It also establishes necessary fire and life safety education for fire departments and the general public. This code primarily focuses on basic ways to ensure fire prevention and references or extracts key fire prevention and protection components of many of the other NFPA codes and standards.

Hawaii will receive complimentary training on NFPA 1 in June through programs developed by NFPA. The programs are offered free to states that have adopted major NFPA codes and standards. The training, provided by NFPA technical experts, covers the codes’ requirements and the numerous ways they can be used and enforced.