Author(s): James Pauley. Published on May 2, 2016.

"WE WANT TO BE THE SAFEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.” Those are powerful, aspirational words. It is also the vision of the Ministry of Interior for the United Arab Emirates.

In March, I was part of a 13-member NFPA delegation that visited the UAE. NFPA has been active in the region for years, but this visit marked a couple of historical moments. For months, we have worked with UAE Civil Defence to establish a symposium on how standards and innovation can advance the UAE vision. That work became reality during our visit with the Innovation in Fire Protection: Fire Service and Code Enforcers Symposium. More than 150 UAE Civil Defence force members gathered to hear about case studies in applying NFPA standards, approaches for social media use by the fire service, and technologies that are advancing smart firefighting. The event was attended by His Highness Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and minister of Interior, who awarded 13 Civil Defence staff with their NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist pins.

To expand our cooperation, we also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between NFPA and UAE Civil Defence that solidifies the commitment to expand the use of NFPA standards and our commitment to helping the UAE realize its safety vision.

This is just one example of the global reach and impact of NFPA information and knowledge. Everywhere I travel, the comments are the same—NFPA is the reference for protection of people and property and for the safety of firefighters. It is important to realize that whether we serve on a technical committee, participate on an advisory panel for a research project, or belong to an NFPA section, we need to maintain a global perspective. It can be easy for us to adopt the view that the only geography we impact is the one where we sit, but don’t get caught in that myopia. Our impact is global. And because that impact is so widespread, we encourage more global participation with our standards process. The fully online process for our codes and standards development makes it easier than ever for anyone, anywhere to participate.

So the next time you see that input, comment, or other engagement from those outside the United States, tap into your global perspective and help answer their need. Encourage their further participation. Share your knowledge and learn from theirs. We all have the same objective—the elimination of death, injury, property, and economic loss from fire, electrical, and related hazards.

JAMES PAULEY, NFPA President.