I recently wrote an article for Sprinkler Age, the magazine for the American Fire Sprinkler Association, on effective tactics for fire sprinkler advocacy. The following are key takeaways from that piece which hopefully can help better your local efforts.
I. Understand the home fire problem. Before you can promote the solution to America’s home fire problem, you must explain why the solution matters. Use NFPA’s data on the issue and obtain local fire statistics over a 10- to 15-year period to better illuminate what’s happening in your area to the public and your local decision makers. Check the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's sprinkler coalition pages, many of which include this data.
II. Join the good fight. Speaking of coalitions, 30 states and one Canadian province have developed one. If your region has a coalition, contact the coalition chair and see how you can get involved. If it doesn't, contact NFPA. We can help you initiate one.
III. Promote the solution. If you’re looking for resources promoting the life-saving aspect of sprinklers, visit our “take action” page. There, you’ll find infographics, fact sheets, and videos ideal for social media sharing. Our newest resource is a downloadable, advocacy toolkit featuring the Fire Sprinkler Initiative’s greatest hits.
IV. Counter the opposition. In case you missed it, a 2016 story by the nonprofit news organization, ProPublica, illuminated the power of the homebuilding industry, one of the most powerful opponents against fire sprinkler requirements. The report states that this industry has spent more than $517 million in the last decade on state politics, and has been influential in thwarting sprinkler requirements in at least 25 states.