Author(s): James Pauley. Published on March 2, 2015.

I RECENTLY RETURNED FROM a trip to Hong Kong, where I had an opportunity to speak at Fire Asia, one of the premier fire safety events in the Asia Pacific region. I was struck by the event’s theme—“Team Up for the Future”—because of its simplicity as well as its importance. No one entity or group can solve the world’s fire problem by itself—we all need to team up in order to tackle the fire challenges of today.

Jim Pauley on stage at Fire Asia Conference

Jim Pauley recently spoke at the Fire Asia Conference in Hong Kong. The theme of the conference was "Team Up for the Future".

NFPA has had a presence in the Asia Pacific region since the 1990s. NFPA is a well-respected and accepted brand for everyone I talked to while I was in Hong Kong: the engineering community, the firefighting community, and the fire prevention community. I found this same acceptance and recognition when I spoke at the Fire & Disaster Asia conference in Singapore last fall.

Two examples of NFPA’s global reach are our standards related to transportation. NFPA 130, Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems, and NFPA 502, Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways, are frequently mentioned as key fire safety standards used across the globe to help ensure the safety of the traveling public. NFPA codes and standards are described as the primary reference when it comes to fire safety, and this impact stretches from NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, to NFPA 1, Fire Code, to NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, and NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

But there is more to do, because the fire problem is a global one. From the Santika Club fire in Thailand, to the Comayagua prison fire in Honduras, to the República Cromañón club fire in Argentina and, most recently, the Torch Tower high-rise fire in Dubai—we have work to do by providing up-to-date information and knowledge that can help all countries achieve an improved level of safety. We are also in a unique position to help. We can bring our 119 years of experience in fire safety to the table with the objective of accomplishing a single mission: improving fire safety for everyone.

Technology can help us do this much quicker. With our move to the fully electronic and online system of code development, more fire safety professionals from across the globe are able to participate in our standards process. Our online access to codes and digital resources can put life-saving information where it is needed in less time than it used to take.

We will continue to invest in expanding our impact around the world. With our well-respected brand and our position at the forefront of fire, life, and electrical safety, we can team up with countries across the globe to create a future that is safer from fire and related hazards.

JAMES PAULEY, NFPA President