Over the years, great strides have been made in the realms of fire and life safety, thanks to the contributions of countless individuals. Today, NFPA and the wider community doing that important work mourns the loss of Jaime Moncada Pérez. After health complications from a cerebral ischemia, “Don Jaime” died on August 31st, 2020, in Bogotá, Colombia at nearly 89 years old.
Don Jaime was considered by many a pioneer and champion of fire protection engineering in Latin America, devoting himself to the cause through a career including international recognition and a relationship with NFPA that spanned over 40 years. He began his journey in Colombia, where he graduated from the University of Antioquia in Medellín with a degree in Chemical Engineering, before completing his master’s in Industrial Hygiene at Harvard University in 1957 and master’s in Economics from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, in 1970.
A true visionary, he first called on NFPA to make their work inclusive of Spanish-speaking countries in 1976, going on to co-edit NFPA’s Fire Protection Handbook in Spanish and found the Ibero-American Fire Protection Organization (OPCI) in 1981. He initiated the first translation of NFPA standards into Spanish, organized the first fire protection seminars and congresses throughout Latin America, and became the first instructor of NFPA seminars in Spanish. Don Jaime was the first Latin American member of the Board of Directors and served on the board from 2001-2007.
Don Jaime’s influence can be seen in the decrease in major disasters like the Avianca Tower and Santa María Tower. We offer the deepest condolences and sincerest thanks to his family, for the legacy that he has left to Latin America and the world through the thousands of professionals he taught, and the advancement of fire protection knowledge through his inspiring work.