NFPA and the World
NFPA Journal®, November/December 2010
Over the last month, I traveled to China and Portugal. Both visits were important illustrations of NFPA’s increasing reach. Because of the transformation of global communications, we have seen the awareness of NFPA, our codes, standards, education programs, and now advocacy campaigns grow rapidly all over the world, and we are adjusting our international strategy to take advantage of these new opportunities to advance our mission.
For decades we have worked successfully to achieve greater acceptance of NFPA Codes and Standards around the world. One example is the adoption and use of the National Electrical Code® throughout Latin America. The growth of NFPA Chapters in the region has greatly improved our effectiveness by bringing together highly trained users and advocates of NFPA Codes and Standards to support our code adoption efforts.
In Colombia, one of our earliest international alliances was established with OPCI (Ibero-American Organization of Fire Protection). Its founder, Jaime Moncada, became a member of the NFPA Board of Directors and provided insight and guidance as we expanded our international activities. We have similar relations with IRAM, the national standards body of Argentina, and other organizations in Latin America.
In Lisbon, the NFPA-APSEI Fire & Security 2010 event included lively discussions and training on the most challenging issues in fire and life safety, and NFPA codes and standards topics were a critical component.
In the People’s Republic of China, our full-time representative, Yuanjing Liu, has spearheaded our work to bring about more use of NFPA Codes and Standards. We have worked closely with the China Fire Protection Association and the nation’s Fire Service, which has a strong interest in using NFPA standards. At the request of Ministry of Public Security, we have given permission for the translation of NFPA Codes and Standards into Mandarin, and a number of our documents are translated and in use there, including NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®; NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®; and NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems. We also have a close partnership with the Korean Fire Protection Association.
Our education and advocacy campaigns have also brought about exciting opportunities for international cooperation. From the beginning of our successful fire-safe cigarette campaign, we collaborated closely with international allies. Canada was a leader in gaining national adoption, and Australia had already been pushing this technology by the time we launched our campaign. We are sharing the lessons learned from our fire-safe cigarette success with our colleagues in Europe, and we expect this to become a European requirement within the next couple of years. I also met with top fire officials in China about fire-safe cigarettes on my recent visit. There are opportunities to introduce safety improvements there on a large scale, and while we will continue to push for the use of NFPA Codes and Standards, we will also encourage the government to embrace other life-saving measures.
We are building similar alliances in support of residential sprinklers. I have spoken to public-interest sprinkler supporters in London, and at meetings with residential sprinkler advocates throughout the U.K.
NFPA is proud of its long history in reducing the burden of fire and other hazards. All of this work is helping us further that mission across the world.