Codes and standards
NFPA Impact: March 2016
By Shayne Mintz
Good fire-service leaders know the benefits of a solid and comprehensive strategic plan; it provides the opportunity to analyze the current state, identifies what risks or threats may exist or lie beyond the horizon, can help highlight future opportunities and pitfalls, and can provide the organization with vision, goals, and objectives to pursue in a world of continuous improvement.
In November 2014, under the leadership of a new president and the senior-management team, the NFPA’s board of directors approved the pursuit of a new strategic plan to lead the organization into the future. Over the past few months, the finished product was unveiled.
Throughout the planning process there was one resounding message heard loudly and clearly: in a growing and changing world, business as usual is not an option. The NFPA has enjoyed a very successful history, but how things were done in the past does not align with future stakeholders’ needs or expectations. The world is more digitally focused and there is desire for immediate interaction, engagement and feedback. The NFPA recognized the need to update its vision and mission statement to reflect the organization’s aspirations.
The NFPA’s new vision is to be the leading global advocate for the elimination of death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. Our mission is to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge and passion.
Along with the new vision and mission statements, the plan focuses on five high-level core initiatives that will set a new direction to better ensure NFPA’s organizational viability and relevance in the foreseeable future.
The first core initiative is to build and maintain a stakeholder-focused culture that works to improve our service to firefighters. We will better serve each firefighter by providing specific and customized data-driven tools, and ensuring multiple points of engagement such as staff interaction and the NFPA’s new online Xchange network.
The NFPA also aspires to provide a deeper engagement with our key stakeholders to better understand their needs and use that information to drive decision making and future direction. We will engage through webinars, workshops, forums, stakeholder consultations and research, and will also share with you the knowledge and information gained from these activities.
One of the NFPA’s strengths has always been its role as a data-collection and analysis agency. To further strengthen that commitment, the organization intends to create a comprehensive data collection, analysis and application system. The NFPA wants to be recognized as the primary resource for the fire and life-safety community and will achieve that through use and analysis of data and other information sources that are needed by our constituents to make sound, fact-based decisions. As an example, here in Canada the NFPA is engaged with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs in the development of the new national fire incident-database project.
The NFPA sees a need to develop a roadmap for its role in supporting and enhancing the jobs of the enforcement community. In that spirit, the NFPA wants members of the enforcement community to turn to the NFPA first for information, guidance, solutions and partnerships. We will facilitate access to our subject-matter experts to help enforcers get it right, the first time.
Finally, and possibly the most important of the five core initiatives, is to expand first-responder engagement. The organization plans to develop and implement a strategy for its role in partnering with the first responder community.
The new plan is exciting, ambitious and strongly focused on our desire to help firefighters and all our stakeholder groups.
The NFPA continues to be heavily involved with many projects here in Canada. Our team has been working with Transport Canada to create an interim guideline for first responders to deal with high-hazard flammable trains. The NFPA is also engaged with the Canadian Council of Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners to bring the Electrical and Alternate Fuel Vehicle First Responder Safety program to Canada. And most recently, the NFPA has engaged with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to create policy for fire protection on First Nations communities.
The NFPA recognizes its role is not to respond to emergencies or enter burning buildings, nor to inspect and create fire-safe buildings; rather it is to provide information and knowledge to help you in the field and, in that way, achieve its mission.
Shayne Mintz is 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