NFPA 70E – Reflecting on the past

A fire which broke out in the Asch Building Greenwich Village area in New York City in March 1911 claimed the lives of 146 people, mainly women. The building comprised several small garment producing factories - the ‘Triangle Shirtwaist Company’ occupying the top floors of the building where the fire occurred. Unacceptable working conditions and lack of safety procedures resulted in tragedy.

The flurry of public and political outrage led to the creation of a nine member Factory Investigation Team. They were joined by the Bureau of Fire Investigation and the Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division. This was the genesis of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).


Take note

  • ‘The farther back you can look, the further forward you are likely to see’.
  • It is no use thinking about safety only after things have gone wrong.
  • In order to best use and understand a standard, the intention of that standard must be known.


Published as: History of the NFPA, By Z Jooma,

Electricity+Control, November 2011 (pgs 58 – 61)