Here we are in the midst of what many call the “silly season”, that time of year when politicians are running for office and promising to be there for us, their constituents.
But for those of us doing the work of making our communities safe from fire it is the season of fire prevention and has been since 1920 when President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day Proclamation followed a few years later by President Calvin Coolidge expanding the observance into a Fire Prevention Week. All of this was done to mark the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and to remind all of us of the need for year round fire prevention measures. To this end we spend our days serving our constituents thru the work of public fire safety education, the inspection of buildings, the review of plans for new construction, and thru the investigation of fires to determine their origin and cause and provide a scientific base of knowledge that can be used to prevent future fires.
As part of this year round work I would like to tell you of a few recent efforts of IFMA and its Executive Board. Since my last message we have drafted and posted on the NFPA Xchange a message for fire officials, the media, and the public in general about the importance of not overcrowding buildings no matter the subject or the star attraction. This was done to support code officials who had recently come under fire from some seeking political office and trying to bully our peers into allowing overcrowding of venues. The Board also worked with our IFMA representatives serving on several technical committees dealing with such issues as the size of smoke compartments in health care occupancies, proposed changes to school classroom door locks, and the introduction of proposals into the code allowing tall wood buildings. An important basis for our communication with the representatives was to not move forward on changes without adequate research and a showing of need.
Currently the Executive Board is taking the lead in developing and making presentation ready a 2 day management
class for fire marshals and other fire prevention staff.
Looking forward the Board will be meeting with NFPA staff in Quincy on December 2nd and we will be holding a telephone conference call to Chapter Presidents on the 2nd as well. I urge everyone that is a Chapter President to participate in this call.
Finally, the Board wants to increase involvement with the Chapters including having a representative of the IFMA Executive Board attend / participate in Chapter events. Please contact our Executive Secretary Steven Sawyer or myself to get more information about this outreach effort.
Thank you for your support and all you do to make our world a safer place from fire and other emergencies.
Raymond Walker, IFMA President