New ‘bigger picture’ vision for NFPA

Fire group will unveil new vision at annual conference in June
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

QUINCY, Mass.—The National Fire Protection Association’s new vision and mission statement will include pursuing a deeper understanding of stakeholders and how the NFPA can help them do their jobs better, according to president Jim Pauley.

It was time for NFPA to “look at the bigger picture” and what its role should be for the future and the new statements reflect that, Pauley told Security Systems News. NFPA is nearly 120 years old, but he said he views it as a “120-year-old startup.”

Declining to go into detail until the changes are unveiled at the annual NFPA Conference and Expo in June, Pauley said there will be “no big right or left turns from our mission perspective.” Instead, the changes will show NFPA’s “aspirations as we move forward with regards to the impact we have on a global basis,” he said.

To determine those aspirations, NFPA took a three-pronged approach involving foresight, insight and cross-sight, Pauley said. It sought input from within the organization and outside of it.

“For the foresight aspect, we looked at trends for the future, how we can better use data and what that can tell us about where we ought to be focusing,” he said.

The group wanted a “deeper understanding” of its stakeholders, the “insight aspect” of its study, he said. “As we’re moving along the path to achieve our mission to improve fire safety not only in the U.S. but globally, there are a lot of people involved. We need to get more insight and understanding of what they do and how we can make it easier for them to do their jobs,” he said.

As far as “cross sight” goes, NFPA looked at how to better partner with other organizations to eliminate fire tragedies and deaths.

NFPA employees and the board of directors were part of the goal-setting process. Equally valuable were contributions from those outside the NFPA—engineers, installers, maintainers, fire services and enforcers, he said. It also reached out to the “survivor community” for its insights on how their lives and their families’ lives were impacted.

NFPA has been “moving along the path” to look at how it can better serve its members for some time now, Pauley said, but he accelerated the process when he took over as president. “I was the catalyst to hit it a little harder,” he said.

The new focus will be reflected at the annual conference, which is attended by building managers, engineers fire service professionals and enforcement agencies. There will be a different look and feel this year, Pauley said.

In the past, the conference had a single keynote speech during its general opening session. This year during that time, Pauley will roll out NFPA’s vision of the future, followed by three keynoters, all of whom will discuss disaster response and its impacts and how disasters can be managed.

The conference will offer 125 educational sessions, including panel discussions on the latest changes to the NFPA 13 sprinkler system installation standard and NFPA 72 national fire alarm and signaling code standard.

Also new this year will be Innovation Sessions. Those bringing new products to market will showcase their advancements and what specific problems they solve.