Author(s): James Pauley. Published on January 1, 2020.

Welcome 2021!


I suspect we are all glad to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. All of us faced so many challenges: the pandemic, remote work environments, business closures and slowdowns, and more.

But we also learned a lot of things that will take us farther and faster into 2021 and beyond. At NFPA, we have had to learn ways to become resilient in this new environment. Our technical committees have been an outstanding example of that resilience. For any of you who have served on one of our technical committees, you know the amount of work and focus that it takes to review all of the material and formulate approaches that carry safety forward. But the pandemic forced all of that work into a remote environment, which created the need for even more focus. Our committee members stepped up and continued to move the NFPA standards process ahead with great success and with great results. We adjusted and you adjusted.

We also saw a huge shift in how people wanted training related to our codes and standards. Our online library of training now numbers more than 275 courses, and we started offering instructor-led training conducted in a virtual environment. Once again, we adjusted, and you adjusted.

Our public-education efforts were also thrown a curveball as fire departments and public educators were unable to visit schools, hold open houses, or conduct their usual array of community events. So we again took to the virtual environment to share ideas on how public educators could work in a pandemic setting, and we drove home the point that fire prevention becomes even more critical as more people perform more activities at home than they have in the past. Our Spotlight on Public Education virtual event last fall attracted more than 1,550 attendees from 54 countries. Attendees were thrilled with the presentations, and not only on the day of the event—they have continued to visit the on-demand sessions. It was a great way for attendees to hear new ideas and to network with professionals across the public education field.

So goodbye 2020, and thanks for the memories—or at least the ones that helped us learn and evolve and thrive. More importantly, thanks to a year full of challenges that made us more resilient in our efforts to drive our mission.