An article entitled Brazil Burning in the November/December issue of the NFPA Journal gives examples of the breakdown in what NFPA is now terming that country’s “fire and life safety ecosystem.” In the article, Angelo Verzoni of the writing staff lists the September 12th Badim Hospital fire in Rio de Janeiro that killed 11, the January soccer camp fire in which 10 teenagers lost their lives, the September 2018 fire that destroyed Brazil’s historic National Museum, and the 2013 Kiss Nightclub fire that took more than 240 lives as examples of code compliance problems.
The effort to improve codes following the Kiss fire is still continuing, and the article notes that the Rio de Janeiro fire code was updated just two weeks prior to the hospital fire. The Rio fire code now references more than 20 NFPA codes and standards, but NFPA representatives emphasize that their ecosystem approach requires more than simple code adoption. Continued inspection of properties and enforcement of codes is often overlooked in Brazil, and public education relating to fire safety is lacking. Economic turmoil over the past few years has pushed fire safety issues aside, and greater investment in fire safety, including fire sprinkler systems, is what is needed.