NFPA 2015 Conference and Expo Preview

Q&A with NFPA President and CEO

This summer one of the premier events in fire and life safety will take place in Chicago, Ill. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will host its conference and expo at McCormick Place, from June 22 to 25. Plumbing Engineer talked with NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley about what attendees and exhibitors can expect from this year’s event.

PE: What is your pitch for NFPA 2015?

JP: The NFPA Conference & Expo is a great opportunity to learn from over 125 educational sessions and see products and services from hundreds of solution providers. This is really a unique chance for thousands of professionals to talk with and learn from experts, evaluate products, and stay current with technological advances.

PE: Can you describe the types of attendees you see at the convention and expo?

JP: The event brings together thousands of professionals, from building managers and contractors to public fire service and enforcement agencies.

PE: What can first-time attendees look forward to?

JP: First-time attendees will be impressed by how there’s really countless opportunities to hear first-hand from industry experts, see up-close hundreds of products and services and stay current with technological advances, all in one place. And, it’s also a great networking opportunity.

PE: What are some of the most innovative products or technology at the expo?

JP: Maintenance and residue-free suppression systems; sensor-enabled shut-off systems for range tops; risk mitigation in mission-critical facilities; fire retardants and thermal barrier coatings; pipe concealment systems; LED lighting products; color-coded seismic bracing products for fire sprinkler systems; internet-enabled smoke and CO detectors; active fire prevention systems that control the amount of oxygen in a fire risk area; and user-friendly, 3-D and BIM-compliant fire sprinkler design software.

PE: What training opportunities are being spotlighted this year?

JP: We’ll soon be announcing that several additional professional development organizations will offer credit for Continuing Education Units for the conference sessions. More information will soon be available on the Conference & Expo website at www.nfpa.org/conference. So stay tuned.

PE: Is anything new happening compared to years past?

JP: I can promise that people will see a few new things. For example, our opening general session, on Monday, June 22, will have a different look and feel as we begin to articulate the vision for NFPA into the future. The session will give me the opportunity to share with you how I see that future, which includes working together as part of a global effort to address the deadly impacts of fire, electrical, and related hazards.

Our keynote address during the general session will also have a new look, and will consist of three speakers all focused on unique areas of disaster response. Disasters come in all forms, both natural and man-made, and each of our speakers will address a specific impact that disasters can have and how those impacts can be managed.

We’re also introducing two new programs. The first program features new panel discussion series for NFPA 13, the standard on sprinkler system installation, and NFPA 72, the national fire alarm and signaling code, both of which are up for review and adoption. Attendees can learn what’s changing and why. Each morning, a panel of Technical Committee Members and NFPA engineers explain the most important changes being made and share valuable insights into the rationale involved.

The second program includes new product presentations. These innovation sessions will focus on specific product areas, highlighting design advancements and emerging applications.

We’re also offering new ways for everyone to make the most of their time. This includes things like new networking spaces in McCormick Place. They’ll tie into the conference tracks so it’ll be easier during breaks to meet others who are interested in similar topics. We’re also extending some of the sessions to provide more in-depth information during 90-minute sessions.

PE: Are there any awards or honors being presented?

JP: A number of awards will be presented. One in particular is the inaugural DiNenno Prize, which honors the late Philip J. DiNenno, the highly regarded former CEO of Hughes Associates. The Prize recognizes significant technical developments that have an impact on public safety, including building, fire, and electrical safety.

PE: What do you all already have in the works for 2016?

JP: In 2016, NFPA Conference & Expo will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., June 13-16, 2016. The Call for Presentations for the 2016 Conference will open in June. 

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