Getting involved in NFPA codes and standards

Why should firefighters care about the codes and standards process? Because there are more than 300 codes and standards, all of which impact the fire service. All NFPA codes and standards are revised and updated every three to five years in revision cycles that begin twice each year and take approximately two years to complete. Each revision cycle follows a published schedule that includes final dates for all major events in the process.

Check out the following six ways you can become involved according to this article.

1. Submit a change to the code called a proposal. You’ll need specific ideas on exactly what to change while providing a reason for this change. Even if a committee isn’t actively seeking proposals, you can still submit a proposal anytime between revision cycles.

2. Submit a second round of changes called a comment. As with proposals, your ideas will need to be specific and contain reasons for the change. Comments are submitted in response to the Report on Proposals (ROP), which outlines the actions the committee has taken in regards to revising that particular standard. You can then look at the changes and submit other ideas or suggestions for revision.

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3. Become a member of a technical committee. You do not have to be a member of NFPA to join and you can apply to any committee. Put in your application even if a committee is full, as they have hold lists and you will be considered when there are openings.

4. Sign up for NFPA News, the free codes and standards newsletter. Watch for proposed emergency changes, called Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs), and comment in support or opposition. NFPA News also advertises new projects and openings in committees.

5. Attend the NFPA Conference and Expo which includes debates, classes, and approving codes and standards for issuance at the technical session. NFPA has scholarships, awards, or grants for public educators, fire service students, and for exceptional contributors to the cause of fire and life safety.

6. Check out specialized information for fire service at Fire Service Today, updated weekly by the public fire protection division staff. There are links to sign up to receive all updates as well as listen to recent podcasts of topics focused on fire service issues.