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IFSJ Influencer: Jim Pauley, NFPA President & CEO

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Jim Pauley, President and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association shares his views and predictions for the fire and safety industry for the year ahead

Since the onset of the pandemic, hybrid and remote environments have surfaced as the future of work, spurring accelerated digital transformation across diverse industries. But for fire and life safety professionals, hybrid and remote work is not a new phenomenon. The job has always consisted of work in the office, on the jobsite, and anywhere in between. That means the industry has always been ripe with opportunity to leverage digital transformation to drive collaboration, efficiency, resiliency, and most importantly, the highest level of safety.  

The fire and life safety industry is fraught with a number of challenges right now: an aging workforce, a scarce and competitive labor market, and a loyalty to traditional workflows that has led to lagging digital adoption. Luckily, technology can help mitigate the impact of these challenges. There is no doubt: in the next 12 months, we will see technologies become more prominent. It is not a matter of if, but when.

Digital transformation in fire and life safety can come to fruition in diverse ways. It can be as simple as replacing a collection of codes and standards textbooks with a digital library on an iPad or smartphone. With interactivity, real-time updates, and troves of supplemental multimedia resources, digital tools can help to streamline collaboration among disparate teams and speed up projects while honoring compliance. Above all, they empower organisations to be resilient in the years to come.

Technology for the Next Generation

The fire and life safety industry is aging. As we face waves of mass retirement, the challenge is twofold: organisations need to 1) attract and retain younger employees and 2) preserve institutional knowledge from industry veterans as they retire. Digital transformation can help.

To resonate with younger talent in a crowded job market, organisations need to leverage technology as a key differentiator driving employee recruitment and retention. Emerging digital tools help to not only train newer employees and bridge the skills gap, but also create more innovative, collaborative, and efficient work environments that newer generations desire.

Technology can also help ensure knowledge does not retire when employees do. Without digitisation, rookies might gather wisdom from veterans through in-person interactions or disparate notes. With collaborative digital hubs, experienced professionals can document and democratise knowledge, creating future-proofed curated collections that are easily shared and readily accessible across teams.

The Path Forward

The fire and life safety world is innately collaborative and constantly evolving. To advance safety in today’s world, everyone needs to embrace digital tools that serve the greatest industry needs. As we continue to trend towards digital transformation, we will see organisations grow more agile and efficient so they can focus on safety above all.

About the influencer

Jim Pauley is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a global self-funded non-profit organisation devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards.

Pauley is leading a historic digital transformation at NFPA that is revolutionising the way codes and standards information is delivered and used throughout the world. In addition, he is directing significant programs, initiatives and resource development to tackle both persistent and emerging threats.

Prior to joining NFPA nearly eight years ago, he concluded a 30-year career in the electrical and energy industry where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Government Relations for Schneider Electric. 

This article was originally published in the November edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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