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5 Posts authored by: cthompson Employee

It’s no secret that volunteer and combination fire and EMS departments have struggled with recruitment and retention, but new research from the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) provides deeper insights on the challenges that exist within the volunteer fire community.

 

The research effort, which was completed in three phases beginning last year, was funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. In part, the project identified a disconnect between why leadership thinks volunteers leave versus why former volunteers say they left. It also showed that a desire to give back to the community was the main reason that volunteers who considered leaving didn’t.Volunteer Retention Research Report cover-NVFC

 

The report also offered suggestions for improving volunteer retention efforts, including:

  • Introducing mentorship programs
  • Bestowing honors for service milestones
  • Conducting stay interviews for volunteers who have lapsed attendance
  • Scheduling exit interviews for departing volunteers

 

While the NFPA5th U.S. Needs Assessment Survey, which was sent to every fire department in the nation this week, focuses on departmental needs, the new NVFC research findings provide a more detailed snapshot of what institutional and other drivers are influencing volunteer retention.

With industries still adapting to the demands of COVID-19 and the typical, ongoing backlog in ITM (inspection, testing and maintenance), RVI continues to cause quite the buzz. Health Facilities Management magazine featured the technology as the cover story in their recent issue, including insights from Jonathan Hart, an NFPA tech lead for building and life safety and from Kevin Carr, the staff liaison for NFPA’s proposed standard on remote inspections.Health Facilities Management magazine cover

 

Up until the pandemic hit, RVI was not widely employed, but the technology offers a range of benefits that are hard to ignore for those charged with facility inspections and maintenance. Whether it is gaining access during a pandemic when buildings may be shut down or operating at reduced capacity, assisting AHJs that have fewer staff members, or for those authorities that are using drones to examine large buildings with cumbersome exteriors—remote inspections are increasingly becoming an attractive option.

 

Despite its appeal to many, RVI can have issues such as performance impacts by lighting or internet service, inconsistent use methods, and (in the case of the HFM article), healthcare privacy. To use RVI effectively, the article emphasizes the guidance that NFPA has generated to date:

  • gain AHJ pre-approval
  • develop policies to share with key stakeholders
  • communicate results with all parties in a timely manner

Meanwhile, NFPA 915, Standard for Remote Inspections (proposed standard), a document that covers requirements for various types of remote inspections, recently opened for Public Input (PI) and will accept proposed revisions until June 1, 2021.  “This is an important phase of the NFPA standards development process where any member of the public can submit a change to the most recent draft or edition of the standard,” says Kevin Carr, staff liaison, NFPA 915. “The technical committee will then meet after the Public Input Closing Date (PICD) to begin reviewing this input.”

 

NFPA 915 was supposed to go before the Standards Council later this year but instead was considered in August. The guidance is expected to be published as an adoptable standard in late 2023. Interested parties can review NFPA 915, see meeting schedules, submit a public input, and sign up for alerts pertaining to the document at nfpa.org/915. Be sure to see the news section on this page for recent, related RVI content.

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.Jaime Moncada Perez

 

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.

NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley has named Nicole Comeau executive secretary of the International Fire Marshals Association (IFMA). IFMA members are fire officials, who have been lawfully appointed and authorized by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Fire marshals are charged with fire prevention efforts including the enforcement of fire laws and regulations, property inspections, public fire safety education, or investigation of fire origins or causes.

 

Since her arrival at NFPA in 2015, Comeau has cultivated a strong working relationship with the enforcement community, showing a deep understanding of the particular issues facing fire marshals and AHJs, as well as their unique, important role in the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem. The IFMA leadership appointment follows Comeau’s promotion to stakeholder development director for NFPA earlier this year.

 

“Fire marshals and code officials play a critical and influential role in the entire Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem; they face many unique challenges so it’s critical to keep their needs at the forefront of what we’re doing at NFPA,” Comeau said. Nicole Comeau“I am looking forward to working with this important and influential network, developing it globally, and ensuring that we stay focused on the ultimate goal of keeping communities safer. We have a unique opportunity to develop and implement creative solutions to ongoing public safety problems, to anticipate and plan for the challenges of tomorrow, and to engage the public at large to ultimately reduce loss around the world. This is a very exciting opportunity for all of us.”

 

Originally known as the Fire Marshals Association of North America at its founding in 1906, the IFMA gained its new name in 1927. The mission of IFMA is to aid in the preservation of life and property by advocating, promoting, and providing leadership in the prevention or mitigation of fire, explosions, and other related hazardous conditions.

FPC issue coverProtecting people and property in the rapidly evolving world of fire and life safety requires leadership, collaboration, vision, and drive. Few embody these virtues more than NFPA’s Matt Klaus, who has been recognized by Fire Protection Contractor (FPC) magazine as their 2020 “Person of the Year”.

 

FPC magazine has been a go-to resource for fire protection contractors, designers, and engineers since 1978. Every year, they shine a spotlight on one industry innovator—and this year it was Matt Klaus.

 

The honor acknowledges the work ethic and expertise that NFPA has come to expect and appreciate from Klaus over the last 20 years. What is striking about Matt is his sincerity. Colleagues and stakeholders find his ability to establish strong relationships and openly communicate to be both refreshing and relevant. James Golinveaux, CEO of The Viking Group, said of Klaus, “His integrity is what keeps him real and his knowledge and passion is what makes him successful.”

 

Passion has been a cornerstone of Klaus’ career. After completing his Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering from WPI in 2002, he took a role as a fire protection engineer with Schirmer Engineering. At Schirmer, he honed his skills in everything from sprinkler design to code consulting. His diligence led to him working both domestically and in the Middle East. It was around this time that he was elected to the Salamander Honorary Society, the oldest national honor society for fire protection engineering dating back to 1922.

 

In 2010, NFPA brought Klaus on as a staff liaison, allowing him the opportunity to reach a broader, larger audience and have more of an impact on fire protection. He used his reach to hold 15-20 in-person seminars a year. Today, he shares his expertise as the NFPA Director of Technical Services.

 

Matt places a high value on motivating and educating the next generation, believing that communication and understanding the ‘why’ of things is critical to the growth and advancement of the individual, and overall life safety.

 

For these reasons, and many more, NFPA is proud to congratulate Matt Klaus on this special recognition.

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