Codes and standards
NFPA Impact: May 2014
By Shayne Mintz
For those of you who may not be aware, I am the new Canadian regional director of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Sean Tracey’s successor.
For those of you who may not be aware, I am the new Canadian regional director of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Sean Tracey’s successor. Sean, who is now the assistant deputy fire chief for community standards for Ottawa Fire Services, was the consummate advocate for fire and life safety in Canada and was certainly the go-to person in all NFPA matters including code development and adoption.
My role is to carry on with that work and, equipped with the resources of the NFPA, continue to improve fire and life safety in Canada by working alongside organizations such as fire-chiefs, fire-prevention and public-education associations and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.
By participating in fire-safety events and code-change activities across Canada, I will promote the services and tools that the NFPA has to offer, continue to advocate for the adoption of NFPA codes and standards, and support research and education.
The NFPA has finalized its strategic planning process and vision for the next three years, and I think it’s important for you to be aware of the NFPA priorities between now and 2016.
I will do my best to build and grow relationships and assist agencies, boards and organizations that have a like-minded interest in public safety. I will also strive to build new relationships with key influencers in forwarding the fire and life safety agenda.
While I am based in southern Ontario, I am keen and eager to broaden my network. My plan in the first year is to get to as many events as possible to introduce myself and, perhaps, bring the message that the NFPA is here to help with information, advocacy, research, and standards or codes. The NFPA strives to place those resources where they can do the most good – in the hands of local, provincial and national leaders in the fire and life safety industry.
One of the vital initiatives for which the NFPA will advocate is the adoption of fire sprinklers in new residential construction and retro-fit applications for nursing homes and care facilities. Our most vulnerable people are relying heavily on us for their protection.
Over the next three years, the NFPA will continue to better educate and advocate for more communities to become involved in the Canadian Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. There is one chapter in the southern Ontario region and the NFPA would like to expand that outreach to any communities that wish to support such a program.
Another initiative that is gaining interest is the implementation of codes and standards to reduce the likelihood of communities losing homes to wildland urban interface fires. I will continue to work with Partners in Protection to build FireSmart and Fire Adapted Communities, and with the Province of Saskatchewan to develop what we believe to be the first rural/urban interface building code.
Finally, the NFPA hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) training program should roll out this year. The curriculum is intended to inform and train the fire service and other first responders on the potential hazards of dealing with EVs in emergency situations. This program will be facilitated through the Canadian Council of Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners – this arrangement is the first of its kind in Canada and will hopefully be a model for other national projects.
The NFPA is committed to improving standards development and the work that the many technical committees undertake. Through the use of technology, the NFPA is hoping to streamline the meeting, voting, comment and approval processes.
Furthermore, the NFPA strives to better educate the users of our standards by promoting and making available the technical research, data analysis and advisory service reports that the committees use.
The NFPA is constantly looking for volunteers to participate on committees or task groups. I urge anyone who is interested in participating on a committee to contact me or the NFPA.
The NFPA strives to improve its portfolio of products and services to better serve our stakeholders. This may be realized through improvements to our outreach, training and services. Stay tuned for more on that.
As you may have gathered, the time ahead will be very busy; I’m looking forward to talking more about these initiatives as I meet with people and organizations that share the NFPA’s mission and vision.
Shayne Mintz has more than 35 years of experience in the fire service, having completed his career as chief of the Burlington Fire Department in Ontario. He is now the Canadian Regional Director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Contact Shayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ShayneMintz