Fire safety advocate who fought anti-sprinkler legislation receives national award

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Aug 29, 2018

Stephan Cox (left) and Richard Smith with the Maryland State Firemen's Association accept the 2016 Bringing Safety Home Award from Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and president of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Smith was recently named Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year by the American Fire Sprinkler Association.


In 2012, Maryland passed legislation to fire sprinkler its new homes. A few years later, a local delegate aimed to weaken the requirement by introducing a bill that would have given counties the ability to opt out of fire sprinklering their new homes. Aiming to keep the statewide requirement intact, Richard Smith and his fellow safety comrades went to work. 


"We knew [the bill] was coming," Smith said in a recent story by the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). "We knew which committee it was going to and which subcommittee it would wind up in. We started visiting [committee members] and asking them for support. We brought documents with us. A lot of the information that was being passed out [from sprinkler opponents] was, as usual, incorrect." 


While meeting with legislators, Smith gave them compelling arguments on why fire sprinklers are necessary for safeguarding the local fire service (of which he was a member) and public. His efforts worked; the anti-sprinkler bill died in committee months after it was introduced. 


Its efforts like these that have made Smith a local champion for home fire sprinklers and a national role model. He has been named AFSA's 2018 Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year, and will be honored at the association's convention, September 30-October 30. 


Smith, vice chair of the Maryland State Firemen's Association (MFSA), and MFSA's Richard Smith were awarded the 2016 Bringing Safety Home Award, administered by NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. This award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC and NFPA resources to ensure that decision-makers have accurate information as new or updated home fire sprinkler codes are considered.


As for the AFSA award, Smith says "this is truly a prestigious award for a volunteer firefighter like myself." Read his full bio by visiting AFSA's site.


NFPA congratulates Smith on his newest accolade!