When you read this we will have passed two summer milestones, the 4th of July and the Annual NFPA Conference and Expo. Having said that I can tell you that I enjoyed both and upon reflecting on these two events found them to be not really all that different from one another at their roots. Both celebrate a rich heritage, both bring a variety of people together for a common cause, and both ought to inspire all of us to achieve even more.
Specifically this year as part of C&E your organization, the International Fire Marshals Association, had a full day of activities for Chapter Presidents and the membership at large. This proved to be an opportunity for a sharing of ideas and solutions and to tell one another of our successes and struggles in the daily performance of our jobs. Both meetings were well attended and I believe kept everyone engaged in the meetings. The IFMA Executive Board will be following up on many of the ideas and concerns that were expressed. Some of the hot topics included the reality of shrinking budgets, the seemingly ever increasing challenges to our enforcement authority, and the seemingly endless and overly long processes to get state or local codes adopted, One of our members summarized the whole problem best by saying, “it now takes longer to adopt a code than it did for the US and its allies to win WWII”.
As a group the Chapter Presidents and later in the day the IFMA membership at large discussed growing concerns that if a jurisdiction changes a nationally recognized code by deletions, amendments, or other changes in requirements have they in fact created a sub standard code resulting in sub standard construction. One of the biggest examples of this is the elimination of automatic sprinkler requirements in otherwise nationally recognized code(s).
A number of those present also raised a common theme of the need to bring new people and chapters into IFMA and also recruiting new people to enter the fire prevention field and for these new people to become involved in joining professional organizations like IFMA and serving on work groups, Technical Committees, etc.
Those present also discussed several studies and code concerns being heard at this year’s C & E including a preliminary report on the tall wood building project with the use of CLT materials and several code changes up for a vote before the NFPA membership.
But not all the news was stressful or concerning, several chapters were recognized for their years of membership within IFMA and I want to thank them for their support and encourage everyone to remember that a 20 year tenure as a chapter needs to start with an application so: “let’s just get it done”: and if you are not a member of IFMA join and if your organization is not yet a Chapter “just do it” and join us. Remember no matter how long you are a member everyone started at year one.
David Lynam of your Executive Board closed the day with a 3 question survey asking members what they wanted from the Executive Board. David was looking for what was working and what was not working for the membership. My take away from this survey and follow up discussion was that our membership wants the Executive Board to be involved with Chapters, to be involved in the code development process, to provide quality training opportunities, and to serve as the flagship for the fire marshal and fire prevention community.
As you are planning your Chapter or organizations meetings, seminars, etc. please keep in mind that IFMA does maintain a Speakers List of vetted speakers and programs. For more information on this please contact David Lynam, myself, or one of the other Executive Board members
As I enter my second term as your President I commit to you that I and the rest of the Executive Board will do all we can to serve you and to represent you.
As with any of my earlier messages, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact either myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Executive Secretary Steve Sawyer at email@example.com. Once you are involved with IFMA you will quickly learn what a valuable asset Steve is to all of us in the many areas of the fire service that we represent.