Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on May 1, 2015.

Getting Engaged
Boosting fire service involvement in the codes + standards process. 

MORE THAN 100 NFPA codes and standards affect firefighters—including the training they receive and the equipment they use—but the vast majority of fire service members do not participate in the code-development process. Many don’t even know they can.

To address that disconnect, NFPA has launched a campaign called “NFPA Standards in Action: Your Voice Matters.” Through a just-launched website, fire service members can quickly find and review public fire protection standards and see which ones are currently open for public input and comment. They can also leave feedback and comment on proposed changes.

As part of the initiative, NFPA will also work with the fire service to help members become more involved in the creation of these standards, which can have a significant impact on their day-to-day operations. “If one of NFPA’s standards has requirements that make firefighters’ jobs more challenging or doesn’t help them do their work in the most effective way, we want and need to know about it,” said Ken Willette, NFPA’s division manager of public fire protection.

At the moment, though, not enough of that feedback is taking place. A recent NFPA survey found that most firefighters either don’t know how to get involved in the standards-making process or don’t think their voices will be heard. According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents had never participated in NFPA’s codes and standards process. Meanwhile, 75 percent said they want to know more about how the process works, while 81 percent said they want to be notified on deadlines for input and comments.

Learn more about the NFPA codes and standards that relate to the fire service, as well as about how to get involved and provide input at the Standards in Action webpage.

JESSE ROMAN is staff writer for NFPA Journal.