NFPA’s first Latin America workshop for authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) recently took place in Panama City, Panama. The Enforcement Workshop brought together AHJs from 10 countries - Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Salvador, Mexico and Honduras. NFPA has worked with the fire service and the enforcement community in Latin America for years to build an infrastructure that recognizes the standards application process. NFPA codes and standards are adopted, referenced, and used within the legal framework of Latin America but implementation across countries has been fragmented.
Coronel Jaime Villar, Fire Chief of Panama Fire Department, Antonio Macias, Latin America Director for NFPA, and Olga Caledonia, executive director of International Operations for NFPA joined together to host the inaugural two-day event that was attended by 16 AHJs.
The purpose of the first-of-its-kind event was to provide a forum where different AHJs could share code adoption experiences (what works and what doesn't) and best practices. In the absence of a formal regional code enforcement system in Latin America, participants gained real world knowledge from their peers; discussed the development of a code infrastructure for the region; and heard about key issues being addressed in NFPA’s Latin America training. Central to the discussion was the experiences that Latin America stakeholders have with NFPA 1 and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code®.
Following the first day program, the group also visited the Panama Canal - one of the world’s engineering masterpieces. The Panama Canal is currently undergoing an expansion project in accordance with UL and FM approvals, as well as NFPA codes and standards.
The Latin America Enforcement Workshop was a successful inaugural symposium that offered AHJs in Latin America prime networking and access to important code information. To keep stakeholders up to date on codes, standards, and relevant issues year-round, NFPA publishes the NFPA Journal Latinoamericano®, a bilingual fire and life safety magazine in Spanish and Portuguese.