It has been NFPA’s mission since 1896 to save lives and protect property. At the recent NFPA conference in Chicago, President Jim Shannon addressed the General Assembly regarding how technological advances help the organization to increase its potential reach. Technology provides an opportunity, like never before, for NFPA to be a true global entity.

Tragedy Brings Global Change

Earlier this year, a tragic nightclub fire reminded the world of the importance of NFPA’s mission. The fire occurred at Kiss Nightclub in Brazil and resulted in 242 deaths. It has become known as the world’s 3rd most deadly nightclub fire, the worst being in 1942 at Cocoanut Grove, where close to 500 lives were lost.

But, with this tragedy, NFPA saw hope and a chance for global change. With technology, NFPA has the potential to reach more places than ever before codes and standards, training, and education programs. Early in the coverage of the Brazil nightclub fire, Brazilian media came across the NFPA website and found vast information concerning the prevention of nightclub fires, including detailed reports of code changes made after the horrific Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island ten years ago. Through the NFPA website and Skype interviews with Jim Shannon, as well as with other NFPA engineers, the Brazil media became familiar with NFPA and what they do. As a direct result of this interaction with NFPA, in the days following the Kiss Nightclub fire, Rio de Janeiro fire departments asked NFPA for technical assistance to revise their fire codes. NFPA helped to translate NFPA 1 (fire prevention code) and NFPA 101 (life safety code) into Portuguese. It is NFPA’s hope that the key provisions from these codes be adopted in Rio, and ultimately, the entire country of Brazil.

This is just one example of how the advancement in technology has helped NFPA to grow its mission – saving lives and protecting property.

Making the Fire Code and Safety Resources Easily Available to Everyone

Where NFPA was once limited by having to print and distribute information, it is now able to embrace technology to distribute safety resources more efficiently. More than 10 years ago, NFPA made the decision to provide fire prevention codes and standards available to the public on the internet at no cost. Anyone with access to the internet, anywhere in the world, can read NFPA codes and standards.

That was just the beginning. Now, NFPA is working on a whole new suite of products to deliver a wider range of fire and life safety resources to those people that need it the most – at no cost.

We are encouraged by these advancements, which will help support improvements in strengthening fire safety in countries across the globe and improve access to these critical resources.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.