NFPA Attends OBA’s Annual Meeting and Summit

On July 5, 2013 Panama City was host to both the Annual Assembly and Academic Council Meeting of the Organización de Bomberos Americanos (OBA), which were held in conjunction with their American Firefighters Summit in the ATLAPA Convention Center, from July 3-5, with delegations from 11 countries participating (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay & the US). NFPA was represented by Olga Caledonia, Executive Director of International Operations, and Phil Stittleburg, NFPA Chairman of the Board.

In addition to the Annual Assembly, the event included education sessions that emphasized firefighting tactics and strategies as well as training and evaluation, workshops on firefighting operations, and an exhibition area with the latest products and services for the fire service industry. As part of the educational program, Chief Stittleburg, introduced the guide developed by the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and NFPA "Understanding & Implementing Standards NFPA 1500, 1720, and 1851", which assist departments in understanding and implementing NFPA standards. It examines the three standards and offers clarification, identifies manageable steps, highlights available resources to help departments reach their safety goals and provides information regarding the standards making process. The guide is currently being translated into both Spanish and Portuguese.

OBA, founded in 2006 by representatives of the National Federation of Fire Volunteers of Argentina, the Fire Department of Santiago de Chile, the Volunteer Fire Department Paraguay, the National Fire Uruguay and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Caracas, Venezuela, continues to address international concerns regarding firefighter training, safety, equipment, and fire prevention, including the use of codes and standards.

The U.S. hosted the OBA annual assembly in 2012 in conjunction with NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Together with the NFPA, NVFC is the U.S. representative in OBA, although the NFPA is a non-voting member as we are not a fire service organization.

OBA's objectives of providing first quality education/training and tools which are uniform and consistent throughout the fire service in the Americas, is aligned with NFPA's international strategy of partnering with the fire service across the globe.

Asunción Adopts NFPA & 101

Asunción Adopts NFPA & 101While Antonio Macías, Latin-American Director for NFPA, was in Asunción, Paraguay, on June 1-2, 2013, the adoption of NFPA 1, Fire Code and of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, became a reality with the Municipal Ordinance Nbr. 245/13.

In the course of the next year, high rise buildings and assembly occupancies (shopping malls and event centers) in Asunción will have to adapt their facilities to the new Fire Prevention Ordinance.
The regulation created an interinstitutional committee formed by representatives of the construction industries, technicians and professionals from the Municipality of Asunción, members of the Volunteer Fire Department, and the School of Engineering and Architecture, coordinated by the Fire Prevention Chief, Engineer Carlos Halke. The committee will rely on Engineer Macías for advice and will adopt NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 as reference codes.

This committee will lay down guidelines for the mandatory application of the newly adopted codes, and will pursue compatibility with the General Construction Regulation (Reglamento General de la Construcción). Representatives of the construction organizations stress the joint efforts of the private and public sectors.
"With this, there’s a decision to take a safe technical step so that we never again have human and material loss incidents, and this does not mean a more expensive city, because when good engineering practices are implemented, the result is always positive", Macías said.

This approved by both Mr Arnoldo Samaniego, city mayor, and at the plenary session of the Municipal Board of the city of Asunción, seeks to update safety requirements by means of a modern regulation applicable to Latin American countries, for a growing city with increasingly bigger works.

Mr. Fernando Vigara from Spain was appointed as the first International Life Member of NFPA during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago. Mr. Vigara became a member of NFPA 35 years ago and was honored by James M. Shannon, President of NFPA and Olga Caledonia, executive director of the NFPA International Department.

"During my 35 years in NFPA, I’ve only had good moments and I always felt very thankful and in debt with what NFPA has done for me and for the world in fire safety matters," Mr. Vigara says. "I’ve participated in different member positions within NFPA, and I’m still a part of two Technical Committees, and I can only say that I’m proud and privileged being an active member of such prestigious institution".

First International Life Member

Fernando Vigara is the first International Life MemberMr. Fernando Vigara from Spain was appointed as the first International Life Member of NFPA during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago. Mr. Vigara became a member of NFPA 35 years ago and was honored by James M. Shannon, President of NFPA and Olga Caledonia, executive director of the NFPA International Department.

"During my 35 years in NFPA, I’ve only had good moments and I always felt very thankful and in debt with what NFPA has done for me and for the world in fire safety matters," Mr. Vigara says. "I’ve participated in different member positions within NFPA, and I’m still a part of two Technical Committees, and I can only say that I’m proud and privileged being an active member of such prestigious institution".

Mr. Fernando Vigara is a fire protection engineer that lives in Madrid (Spain), with a vast experience in fire protection engineering. In 1997 he funded the PCI Professional Association of Fire Protection Engineering (APICI) in Spain and the PCI Engineering Master (MIPCI) that is now delivered at the Comillas University (ICAI) in Madrid. He is at present Manager of Adventis Ingeniería, S.L., president of SFPE Iberoamerican Chapter and member of NFPA Technical Committees on gases and water mist. 

Lemoff speaks at OSINERG conference in Peru
NFPA’s Ted Lemoff traveled to Lima, Peru to speak at an international conference organized by OSINERG, Peru’s Secretary of Energy and Mining, on LP-Gas standardization and commercialization. In addition to speaking at the conference, he gave a more detailed presentation to the OSINERG staff and Lima firefighters. EnginZone invited members of the proposed Lima chapter of NFPA to hear Lemoff present a talk at their offices on the Cleveland, Ohio 1944 LNG incident.

The international conference was well attended with over 200 people and with speakers from Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Portugal. Lemoff was the only U. S. speaker. The purpose of the conference was to promote the proper regulation and use of propane in Peru, and to look at how other countries regulate propane, from the perspective of codes and government regulations. Peru’s propane law is based on NFPA 58 and Lemoff spoke of the Fire Safety Analysis Manual, a tool to conduct the Fire Safety Analysis required by NFPA 58. This was one of 3 sessions on fire safety, with the others given by ­­­Juan Carlos Guilbe, a member of the NFPA Latin American Section and Chief Jorge Vera of the Lima Fire Department.

The audience had many questions demonstrating that NFPA 58 is being applied. The questions were concentrated on where propane tanks could be safely located, and questions about tanks on roofs of buildings. While the natural gas network in Lima is being expanded, many urban buildings use propane, and most gas stations offer propane for vehicle fueling.

Mexico Outreach on Inspection Procedures

Mexico City, MX - Lt. Israel Gonzalez of the Lynn Fire Department (MA, USA) embarked on a volunteer mission for NFPA in Mexico City and Durango. He shared NFPA’s recommended Inspection Procedures with the Department of Civil Protection. They acknowledged that such procedural guidelines are lacking and look forward to incorporating what they learned in their civil policy. Also of interest to them was the “Mis Primeros Pasos” pre-school educational program for the public and private school systems that will allow them to introduce life-saving materials to their students. In addition, they discussed motivation and ways to develop awareness programs for the community, including “Los Buenos Recuerdos” for senior citizens.

In Durango, Gonzalez gave NFPA’s presentation to an audience over 400 conference participants at the International Convention of Firefighters. Afterward, he met with more than fifty Chiefs and Firefighters that were interested in learning more about how inspections are done in the U.S.

Leadership from both cities showed an overwhelming feeling gratitude for the information Gonzalez shared with them regarding inspection procedures and for NFPA’s general willingness to assist in the spread of fire protection awareness.

Dominican republic
Antiliano Estrella teaches children 10 & up, all members of the Bomberil (Jr. Fire Service) the lesson plan for Behavior 1: Hot Things Can Hurt You.
Students from the town of El Seibo, Dominican Republic singing the song “Cuidado Puede Estar Caliente” teaching children to identify items that can burn them.
Students from the town of El Seibo, Dominican Republic singing the song “Cuidado Puede Estar Caliente” teaching children to identify items that can burn them.
Chapters of NFPA and NAHF bring preschool safety program to Dominican Republic
NFPA Chapter president Evelio Martinez organized a “Train the Trainer Workshop” for the Mis Primeros Pasos en Prevencion Contra Incendios™ (My First Steps to Prevent Fires) program held at the Codetel Building in Santo Domingo. Twenty-five fire service personnel and teachers participated in the one-day workshop conducted by NFPA Public Education trainer/consultant Antiliano Estrella. The fire service personnel represented the different districts in Santo Domingo with the full support of General Oscar Guillermo Garcia, Department Chief, Santo Domingo National District. General Garcia is the Former President of UNABON (the National Union of Firefighters) and is still very influential in the union. Program and training materials were donated by NFPA’s Public Education Division.

The interactive workshop taught fire fighters and teachers how to instruct children on the eight behaviors presented in the Mis Primeros Pasos program through drawing, games, songs and hands on demonstrations. The eight behaviors were: 1) Stay Away from Hot Things that Can Hurt You; 2) Tell a Grown-Up When You Find Matches or a Lighter; 3) Stop, Drop, and Roll When Your Clothes Catch Fire; 4) Cool A Burn; 5) Crawl Low Under Smoke; 6) Recognize the Sound of the Smoke Alarm; 7) Practice an Escape Plan; and 8) Recognize the Firefighter as a Helper. The mixed group of teachers and fire service personnel worked together in demonstrating each of the behaviors. Through this interaction, the two groups learned how each other operates laying the groundwork for future cooperation.

The NFPA Chapter plans to implement Mis Primeros Pasos starting with private schools this September. They hope that success of the program in private schools will lend to increased support for its implementation in the public school system. With the support of General Garcia, the Chapter will also work with UNABON to institutionalize it in the fire service beginning with Santo Domingo.

Antiliano Estrella also worked on behalf of the National Hispanic Firefighters Association (NAHF) to bring the same NFPA educational training to Barahona, El Seibo, and San Pedro de Macori. For more information and to see pictures of what took place, visit the NAHF blog or the Fire Department of Barahona’s blog.

Fire Protection Handbook in Spanish

The new Fire Protection Handbook, 2003 edition in Spanish has arrived! These are the words many have been waiting to hear for a long time. The Manual de Proteccion Contra Incendios, Quinta Edicion en Español is finally here and it's flying off the shelves! This two volume set is the fifth Spanish edition of the Fire Protection Handbook (FPH) and it is the first time that NFPA has collaborated with experts from a particular region to edit a text specific to that region.

Based on the 19th Edition in English, this 5th Edition in Spanish is uniquely tailored to the challenges and problems that face Latin America. The introduction outlines just a few examples. Major cities are building skyscrapers more than 60 stories tall with only one exit. Increased development of tourist attractions in remote areas has caused people to consider new fire departments when the nearest one is over an hour away. There are thousands of structures built with first architecture utilizing fire protection systems technology made for buildings with only three floors. Meanwhile, the fire departments are asked to do the impossible.

The Handbook also serves as the textbook for the CEPI exam; the only certification available to date for the fire protection specialist in Latin America. The Handbook, while extensive, does not go in depth to teach fire protection engineering. The text is written for fire protection engineers of all levels and its intent is to identify the characteristics, deficiencies, and strengths of the practice of fire protection in Latin America.

This 2-volume set, edited by Jaime Moncada Pérez, CEPI and Jaime Andrés Moncada, PE, was a collaborative effort between NFPA, OPCI (The Latinamerican Fire Protection Association in Colombia), International Fire Safety Training (IFST) based in the U.S. with offices in Latin America, and dedicated volunteers who offered countless hours of their personal time in the translation, revision and production of this work.

COPANT General Asembly

COPANT General Asembly

COPANT Assembly 2009
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic– The annual meeting of SDO’s in Latin America, the COPANT (Panamerican Standards Commision) General Assembly was held the 11-14 of May in Santo Domingo. The assembly was organized by DIGENOR with the support of the Dominican Government and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The four day assembly included a workshop on “Technical Standardization, Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency”. DIGENOR has been working with international agencies in the exchange of information to help them develop a strong standardization infrastructure in their developing country. COPANT has been of great value to them in these efforts and the President of DIGENOR expressed his honor in welcoming this year’s assembly. The 2010 COPANT Assembly will be held in Mexico City.
NFPA honors international members with Distinguished Service Award

Chicago, Illinois— The NFPA Board of Directors selected Eduardo E. Abe and José Francisco López to receive the prestigious 2008 Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award, presented at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago, Illinois, recognizes specific outstanding accomplishments of individuals rendering service to NFPA and to the cause of fire safety.

Eduardo E. Abe, known as Don Eduardo, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, began his career in public service over 60 years ago when he entered into military service in the Marine War Unit. During his time as a naval and mechanical engineering student working on projects based on NFPA codes, Eduardo decided to dedicate his career to fire protection. Eduardo was a pioneer in one of the first NFPA Member Sections and in 1997 became Vice Chair of the Latin American Section Board of Directors. Eduardo also helped charter the first Chapter of NFPA outside of the United States in 2004 and served as Chair of the NFPA Argentina Chapter for two years. He founded CALCIC (Argentinean Center for Fire Fighting), was president of the Argentinean Chamber of Safety (CAS), and served on several IRAM (national standards developer) committees. Eduardo is a pioneer in advocacy for fire prevention and safety and is dedicated to increasing awareness of NFPA, its mission, and its technical expertise.

José Francisco López, of Argentina, has been involved in fire safety code development since the 1960s. Lopez was on the IRAM board of directors and currently serves as general director. López also served as president of the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), where he worked with NFPA to foster the use of NFPA standards in Latin America. Eventually the partnerships he formed led to the translation of more than 15 NFPA codes into Spanish and the adoption of joint IRAM-NFPA codes, including IRAM-NFPA 1600 and IRAM-NFPA 101. López has worked to influence not only code and standard adoption, but also membership support and community education of fire safety. López’s effort as general director at IRAM have helped train more than 2,000 teachers and over 8,000 children in Argentina in fire safety, and has expanded awareness into other Latin American countries.

Eduardo Abe and Francisco Lopez are both well deserving recipients of this honor from NFPA. Undoubtedly, their impact spreads far beyond their knowledge and contributions. The value of their accomplishments is reflected in the continued progress in the area of fire and life safety throughout Argentina and the Latin American region.

Argentina Chapter’s 5th Professional Forum, Bahía Blanca

The NFPA Argentina Chapter held its 5th Professional Forum in Bahía Blanca on May 28. Similar to past events, the objective of this forum was to diffuse questions related to safety and prevention—this time in relation to the “Camara Arbitral de Cereales” (The Arbitration Chamber of Grains).

Representing the municipality, Sergio Montero, Secretary of Environment shared his common support for the types of activities that allow networking and discussion of safety and prevention standards for the integral development of the environment both local and regional.

The professionals were presented by Néstor Spósito, Vice President of the NFPA Argentina Chapter, who also stressed the importance of meetings such as this, where professionals can talk about the latest technology and standards. Also speaking were Carlos Reznik (NFPA Argentina Chapter) and Mario Paonesa (IRAM). In addtion, this event demonstrated support for the Chapter from prestigeous companies such as Proceso APELL, IRAM and the National Tecnology University (UTN) of the Bahía Blanca region.

Attendance for this meeting was up 40% from past forums. The 150 attendees were from diverse backgrounds including: industry, local government, educational sectors and response groups such as firefighters, civil defense, etc. Overall, the Chapter is very pleased with the growth of these events and the increasing opportunity for dialogue between professionals these events provide.

The NFPA Argentina Chapter may be contacted at

RENI Project

Buenos Aires, Argentina - In recent years, “the decision making process of all human activities has been increasingly influenced by statistics, being considered a key element of the information. The application of these statistics especially in developed coutries, has not escaped from this rule, with the purpose of analysing and investigating the beginning, development and consequesnces of fire and accidents.” explains Nestor H. Spósito, PE Argentina NFPA Chapter, DOW Argentina and Senior Expert APELL UNEP Process.

The RENI Project (National Registry of Fire Incidents - Argentina) is headed by the NFPA Argentina Chapter, the National Council of Firefighters of the Argentine Republic, and the National University of Technology-Bahía Blanca. It’s main objective is to provide a database for individual fire departemts to store their data related to fire and other incidents, providing the ability to compare with similar fire departments, and also to determine the national scope of the problem using detailed statistics. The project is based on other examples of fire statistics databases such as, NFPA’s National Statistics, The FIDO System, NFIRS (used by the U.S. Fire Administration) and NFPA’s Large Fire Database. Members of the Project Management Committee are challenged to create a system that not only works, but ensures fire departments will remain

Dolan brings AHJ training to San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico - On May 12 and 13, Jim Dolan, Fire Code Regional Manager for NFPA conducted a two day training program for the supervisors in the San Juan Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau on the 2003 editions of NFPA 1, Uniform Fire CodeTM and NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. Both documents were formally adopted in Puerto Rico in 2004. The participants of this training were experienced inspectors with vast knowledge in inspection procedures. This was their first time using a model code so most of the training centered on the formatting of the document, and applying the applicable tools for various occupancies. The major goal was to give them a comfort level with the documents, as this group will be training line supervisors for in-service inspections. This training also gave them a chance to address issues unique to Puerto Rico. Visit Onsite Seminars for information on bringing training to your area.

Colonna brings Confined Space Safe Practices seminar to Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia - As part of the CONGRESO DE INCENDIOS 2009 organized by OPCI, engineer Guy Colonna, NFPA, presented a 2-day seminar on Confined Space Safe Practices for an audience of industrial participants from throughout South and Central America, many of whom were employed by petroleum industry companies. The training outlined what confined spaces are, what the hazards are, and what safety precautions should be followed every time work involves entry into a confined space, such as an aboveground or underground storage tank, pipeline, or water treatment facility tank or space.

OPCI organizes a Fire Congress every other year, for more information visit

Colona attends 11th International Symposium on fireworks

Following his trip to Colombia, engineer Guy Colonna arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to attend the 11th International Symposium on Fireworks. He presented a technical paper on the NFPA codes and standards for fireworks and pyrotechnics: NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display; NFPA 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles; and NFPA 1126, Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience. He announced to the audience of over 350 attendees from 34 countries around the world, that NFPA was in the process of translating the three documents into Spanish (available in September for public online viewing). In addition, Colonna moderated the closing session for the Symposium. Colonna currently serves as a Director for the Symposium which means he is involved with the organization of the event which is held every 18 months. The 12th ISF will be held in Porto, Portugal in October 2010.