Codes and standards
NFPA Impact: NFPA hires new public-ed specialist
By Shayne Mintz
By Shayne Mintz
The National Fire Protection Association has hired its first full-time regional public education advisor in Canada. In 2015, the NFPA hired three regional public-education specialists in the United States to achieve broader outreach of our educational programming and assist municipalities and local fire departments with fire-safety public education programs.
Since then, these specialists have been supporting fire and life safety education across the United States. However, after recognizing the success of the regional public-education specialist program in America, the NFPA wanted to determine whether the same success could be achieved in Canada.
As a result, the NFPA conducted a national survey of Canadian public educators and senior fire-service managers, and hosted an invitation-only rural fire and life safety symposium in Toronto this April. Many improvements were identified, but most common request was for more NFPA training and resources in Canada – specifically in the area of public education.
Equipped with survey findings, symposium suggestions, and a budget, the NFPA public education division received approval for a full-time public education advisor position in Canada. The new position is dedicated solely to NFPA fire and life safety information and programs.
After a national search, the NFPA public-education division selected Laura King as its new Canadian advisor. Every reader of this column – and certainly of Fire Fighting in Canada magazine – knows King. In fact, many fire-service members and public educators have already been in contact with Laura since she started with the NFPA on Sept. 11.
As the editor of Fire Fighting in Canada, King has built strong relationships over the past decade, developing a broad network of fire-service contacts and colleagues across the country. She has covered fire-service issues in Canada from coast to coast, and will continue to build upon her knowledge and networks with the NFPA.
King is no stranger to Canada’s fire services, and the issues departments are facing. She is travelling across the country with the NFPA, giving public-education presentations at conferences and seminars. This includes, but is not limited to, supporting Fire Prevention Week activities, teaching strategies, and promoting NFPA programs.
King is receiving feedback from our Canadian stakeholders and relaying these concerns back to the organization. In her role, she will represent Canadian public education interests to the NFPA. This may include calls to adjust NFPA materials to suit the Canadian audience, such as French translations, Canadian geographical references and metric measurements. She will also provide our Canadian stakeholders with an overview of educational resources available through the NFPA, assisting with implementation by identifying problems and determining appropriate actions.
In her new role, King is also providing dedicated, ongoing support to the Canadian NFPA Public Education Network.
Each provincial or territorial fire marshal or fire commissioner selects one public education professional to serve on the network, which helps to support fire and life safety educators through activities, events, and resources.
Along with the Public Education Network representatives, King is co-ordinating with local educators in each province and territory to connect, share ideas, help solve problems, and recognize fire-safety education accomplishments across the country.
She may also be available to help communities that have experienced tragic fires and events that may benefit from creating or adjusting fire-safety educational programming.
As the needs of our stakeholders change, so will King’s role as our full-time public-education specialist in Canada.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give special recognition to Art Pullen, the former NFPA part-time advisor for Canada. In his 22 years with the NFPA, Art has been a passionate and dedicated advocate of our programs and products. He has not only set the bar, he has raised it to bring us to where we are today. Many thanks for that, Art.
If you would like more information about the NFPA and its educational programming, please feel free to reach out to Laura King at CanadaCRR@nfpa.org.
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