March 31, 2023
Staff Accomplishment

PNNL Advisor Matthew Paiss Elected as Fire Protection Research Foundation Trustee

Paiss is one of nine trustees to advise on strategy and prioritization, approve research budgets, and communicate those findings in support of the National Fire Protection Association mission

Matthew Paiss, wearing a tan suit jack, a tie, and white shirt.

Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Matthew Paiss, a technical advisor in the Energy and Environment Directorate, was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees for the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the research affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Since 1982 when the FPRF was established as a nonprofit, their mission has been to plan, manage, and communicate research in support of the association. Paiss brings a broad spectrum of knowledge to this role from previous employment. He’s a retired fire captain from San Jose, California, has a background in renewable energy, and was a field engineer in the semiconductor industry. Additionally, he’s trained more than 8,000 firefighters nationwide and presented at national and international conferences on fire safety.

Paiss leads PNNL’s energy storage system safety efforts and is one of the few subject matter experts with both emergency response experience as well as a deep knowledge of energy storage safety. He also supports the Department of Energy’s Grid Storage Launchpad technical advisory team as a battery safety subject matter expert. When talking about his trustee role, Paiss notes that it hits the sweet spot for his area of expertise. Modernizing the grid will require the connection of hundreds of gigawatts of batteries to the grid, and he points out that getting there means updating codes and standards as well as educating code and fire officials.

“This is a tremendous honor. The NFPA is the key standards development organization, world-wide, for fire and life safety. The foundation’s research arm produces approximately 20 public reports a year, with almost 50 projects under work at any one time, covering topics such as HAZMAT, electrical, building and life safety, detection and signaling, wildland urban interface, and emergency responder safety” said Paiss.

The FPRF has officers and nine trustees to advise on strategy and prioritization, approve research budgets, and communicate those findings in support of the NFPA mission. Paiss has 10 years’ experience on renewable energy codes and standards committees and currently serves on NFPA 855 Energy Storage Systems, NFPA 418 Heliports & Vertiports, UL Standards Technical Panels 9450 and 1974, and IEC TC120 (WG 5). He has served as subject matter expert for the NFPA on energy storage and has contributed to the model fire code sections on photovoltaic and energy storage solutions.

Paiss adds that he is excited to help the NFPA stay on the leading edge and hopes they can look far enough into the future in the areas where data is needed. “As a foundation trustee, I want to ask questions that will solve problems to help people, and as a PNNL [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory] employee, I’m excited to find ways that PNNL research fits into providing some of these answers.”

Click here to read the NFPA media announcement