NFPA Vice President of Research Kathleen Almand was among national experts providing forward-thinking input as part of the White House Event on Resilience and Building Codes this week, an event that focused on the Obama administration’s #1 priority – climate change.
Almand joined thought leaders from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), the International Code Council (ICC), the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) on a panel to discuss resilience in the codes and standards community. Topic touchpoints included the need for building beyond disaster, performance-based design, aftermath considerations, incorporating resilience into planning, and the role that government can play to support codes and standards organizations as they look to address resiliency. Throughout the day subject matter experts from the design, building, and code space talked about climate change challenges and how weather shifts affect homes, buildings and safety.
As part of NFPA’s efforts to eliminate death, injury, and property loss from fire and related hazards, the organization is addressing resiliency challenges and changing climate through the following efforts:
- In 2015, NFPA undertook a study to evaluate how resiliency could be better incorporated into codes and standards. Going forward, guidance from this study will be provided to NFPA codes and standards technical committees so that they can factor in resiliency concepts. NFPA will also look to grow the proactive wildland fire mitigation and community risk reduction program, Firewise, which has over 1200 communities across the U.S. taking steps to reduce the impact of wildfire on communities at the interface. We will continue to partner with the fire service and the insurance industry to leverage audiences, and expand outreach efforts across the globe.
- NFPA’s sought-after public education resources for consumers and educators already feature community emergency preparedness messaging to support resiliency.
- Internationally, NFPA is also committed to reducing the risk of fire as a chronic hazard in developing nations. Recent activities have focused on Bangladesh and Ethiopia; NFPA will continue to work with partners supporting the UN 2030 Agenda, such as the World Bank and US Aid to International Development (USAID) to address fire and life safety deficiencies in developing nations.
The White House resiliency forum brought together public and private sector leaders to discuss working collaboratively; determining research needed to support resilient community codes and standards; and identifying how resilience-focused building codes and standards will impact new construction, major renovations and existing infrastructure.