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Plan for the Future

(Appeared in March 2017 issue of The Dispatcher)

The adage, “Proper planning prevents poor performance,” applies to work and personal life. Planning assures we have the tools to succeed. Without planning we cannot be prepared for the future. So, what have you done to prepare yourself for the future? What have you done to educate yourself and assist your community? Have you created a five-year plan for yourself, your department and your community? We often plan well for emergency situations that occur within our communities, but do we plan for other events that may occur?

At a recent conference, fire inspection personnel from a small northern Wisconsin community approached me. They were informed that new construction in their community would be protected by fire sprinklers, but they were concerned because they did not know the requirements for reviewing or inspecting fire sprinkler systems. I was able to share some information about fire sprinkler systems with them, but it was difficult to review that information from beginning to end at a moment’s notice.

So, what do you do to prepare for this or any other issues involving fire protection? First, remember that Wisconsin has four district fire prevention coordinators that can assist with questions regarding a variety of fire prevention topics. They also can provide other contacts who can answer questions regarding plan review for specific areas of construction. These coordinators are a great resource for information on fire prevention duties. Be sure to contact your local building inspector to review plan submittals, coordinate site inspections, and to assure safeguards during construction. Also, it is important that the fire department receives a copy of the reviewed building plans with comments. This will allow for preplanning for emergencies during the construction process and when the project is completed. It educates the fire inspectors on how the building was constructed and how it must be maintained.

Training is available at the Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association’s annual conference. The training covers many topics dealing with fire prevention: building and fire code updates; public fire safety education; fire protection system plan review and inspection; community risk reduction; and fire prevention management. Throughout the year, the National Fire Academy offers classes at its campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland, or in other regions throughout the U.S. Also, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) has many offerings regarding fire sprinkler systems. Two classes offered this year will be “Rough and Final Inspection of Fire Sprinkler Systems” (one-day class) and “Plan Review for Fire Sprinkler Systems” (two-day class). These classes answer most questions on the installation of fire sprinkler systems.

In Wisconsin, there will be a one-day Residential Fire Sprinkler Educational Summit scheduled for May 11, 2017, at the Green Bay Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. Topics presented will be National Update and Trends in Residential Fire Sprinklers; Legacy Burn/Modern Fire Environment; Legal Liability and the Model Codes; and a Residential Fire Sprinkler Panel Discussion.

On May 25, 2017, Fire Team USA will be presenting an informational seminar that will explore current public policy, how community planning affects fire protection, fire prevention efforts currently underway, and how fire sprinkler legislation can assist in the future quality of life in our communities. This event, which includes lunch, will be held at the Gurnee (Illinois) Fire Department Station #2, just a few minutes from the Wisconsin-Illinois border. The event is free of charge and sponsored by the NFSA. Seating is limited. Register today.

For information on how fire sprinklers save lives and property, please email me or visit the National Fire Sprinkler Association – Wisconsin Chapter, NFSA, and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

-Marty King, State Coordinator, NFSA-WI


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