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One of the goals of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative is give you the tools you need to get local governments to require sprinkler systems in all new one- and two-family homes. Here are some tips* on how to effectively interact with local lawmakers.

  1. Technology has made it easy to send blast e-mails, prewritten faxes, and form letters. But nothing compares to the value of a personalized and thoughtful contact with a lawmaker.
  2. Policy-makers are busy people. Every day, they receive dozens (if not hundreds) of requests. Keep your letter short and to-the-point.
  3. Make sure your letter (or e-mail) mentions the problem, the remedy (often supporting or opposing a bill), and your personal interest in the issue.
  4. Make sure to specify how the legislation would help – or hurt – constituents in that lawmaker's district. If the legislation has a bill number, mention it in your correspondence.
  5. One-time contacts with legislators can have value, but developing a relationship with the lawmaker and his or her staff is preferable. Stay in touch and maintain regular contact with key policy makers.
  6. Use the proper title for each public official. If you're unsure, call the policy maker's office and ask the receptionist for guidance.
  7. When calling a legislative office, ask for the legislator. If the lawmaker is not available, ask for the aide handling your issue.
  8. Don't be disappointed if you get a staff member instead of the legislator. They often know as much (or more) about your issue, and are often the people the lawmaker leans on prior to a vote. Treat staff members the same way you would the legislator.
  9. Maintain an e-mail list of supporters so you can quickly contact dozens (or hundreds) of people to ask them to send an e-mail or make a phone call to lawmakers prior to a critical vote. Although you should offer guidance on “what to say”, your supporters should use their own words and stories to have a greater impact.
  10. Regardless of the situation, maintain respect for local lawmakers and keep your communications firmly fixed on the high ground. MrMediaTraining * Source: Brad Phillips, president of Phillips Media Relations and author of the Mr. Media Training blog, specializes in media and presentation training for nonprofit organizations. Materials developed for The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the largest national non-profit serving the burn survivor community.

Sept10FSI The September issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative Update, our monthly e-newsletter, has hit the streets. (Read the issue or subscribe today - it's easy and free!)

In this issue, NFPA's Chris Dubay talks about the Standards Council ban on the use of antifreeze solution in residential fire sprinkler systems for new construction. You can also download a new report on sprinkler performance in homes with sloped and beamed ceilings. We also talk about the dismissal of a lawsuit that was filed by the Pennsylvania Builders Association to block a requirement to install sprinklers in all new homes in the state starting this January.

- Mike Hazell

Join us this December for the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando which will offer more than 50 intensive education sessions in four tracks, including one track dedicated to fire suppression issues. During one session, NFPA's Chris Dubay will be providing an overview of the recent Standards Council decision to ban antifreeze solutions in residential fire sprinkler systems for new construction.

While in Orlando, we'll also be offering a 2-day post-conference seminar (Dec. 16-17) focused on sprinkler hydraulics, and a 1-day seminar (Dec. 16) on fire protection concepts and analysis for property loss prevention.

All sessions will be taught by NFPA staff and/or technical committee members who work directly with the codes. Stay at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World® Resort at the special NFPA room rate of $89/night plus tax. Learn more and register today.

- Mike Hazell

Dagget Builders, Inc., a home design and build team doing business in Cushing, ME for over 20 years provides information to homebuyers about the importance of home fire sprinklers in an article appearing in The Republican Journal, an online periodical.

The article, written by Crystal Daggett Robinson of Daggett Builders provides facts about the importance of home fire sprinklers. It is an informative piece and does not contain the usual “myths” and “red herring” arguments usually provided by the opposition, mostly homebuilder associations' websites. They ought to be commended for their efforts to educate their customers about this home life safety feature.

Winning the hearts and minds of homebuilders, a major stakeholder in the fire sprinkler initiative, is crucial. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) , a non-profit organization, has developed educational resources for homebuilders.


If you are a homebuilder reading this post visit the HFSC website section designed specially for builders. If you are home fire sprinkler advocate; won’t you reach out to a homebuilder in your community today?

 Maria Figueroa

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