In Illinois , Building Officials received the anti-fire sprinkler information from the NAHB as if the building officials were clients of theirs and natural friends and defenders, why is this so? Is it because as fire officials we were just accustomed to reviewing and inspecting commercial buildings and the building department was mostly involved in home and townhome plans and inspections? I am sure that is part of it but much more is needed to turn the dial towards mutual understanding. Fire Officials in turn receive all of the pro-fire sprinkler information. How do we get both groups together and begin to learn each others culture? NFPA 13D summits are one way, and have been very successful in opening the lines of communication but a major gap still exists.
A concerted effort needs to be done on both sides to reach out to each other as ambassadors and attend each others meetings on a regular basis and learn what is important to both groups. We recently worked closely with the SBOC Suburban Building Officials Conference a large group of building officials in metro chicago by collaborating on an NFPA 13D class where 2/3rd of the 130 attendees were fire officials. There was a good exchange of technical information but at the same time relationships were developed that will help each other communicate better in the future. Lets meet now with our counterparts in the building and fire departments and start the process. Have coffee, go on joint inspections with them, invite them to a live burn training exercise, meet at a fire scene to see what can be done better, you know what to do! tom lia