Greetings from the Academy, May 2017
The Sprinkler Geek goes to Washington...on Thursday, April 6, 2017
Every year, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) offers educational opportunities. This year, the CFSI held the 29th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium in Washington, DC. This annual event provides an opportunity for the fire service to attend classes and training. It also gives the fire protection community a chance to visit their Senators and Congressional Representatives.
Thanks to Vickie Pritchett (below), the NFSA’s Director of Outreach and Government Relations, I was able to attend the day’s events.
There were nearly one hundred Fire Sprinkler Industry Professionals in attendance that made visits to both halls of Congress. We were there to seek support for the 2017 FIRE SPRINKLER INCENTIVE ACT. We were broken into regional groups and visited the offices of various Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen. I was part of the professionals representing the MidWest. We visited the offices of Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Betty McCollum, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar all from Minnesota. We also visited Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
One of the more exciting moments happened as we visited Senator Stabenow’s office. The staff member we met with was very excited to learn of the proposed legislation. He had been involved in a legal case during law school that could have been resolved and may not have existed if this incentive were in place. Someone in a US Senator’s office was familiar with the benefits of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act!
Our group then moved on to Senator Lindsey Graham’s office. Senator Graham is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This committee will decide if the bill moves forward in the Senate. Of all the offices we visited, the staff in Senator Graham’s office spent the most time with our group.
Fire Sprinkler Supporters visit Senator Graham’s office
Chelsea was our guide on Capitol Hill.
Senator Jim Langevin and Rob Feeney
Cecil Bilbo and Mark Hopkins, VP NFSA Engineering with Senator Langevin.
After visiting “The Hill” we gathered for a lunch that included some words from Senator Jim Langevin. The Senator has introduced and sponsored the Incentive Act. He represents the citizens of Rhode Island. If you’ll recall, Rhode Island is where that very tragic Station Nightclub Fire happened. Not only did we get to meet and know Senator Langevin, we met and talked with Rob Feeney, a survivor of the fire.
We ended the day with the CFSI dinner at which Jim ‘JD’ Dalton (left) was presented the highest award from the Congressional Fire Services Institute. He received the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award for his years of work in the fire services and his long time advocacy of the fire sprinkler concept. Congratulations to JD and we thank him for his decades of advocating for the installation fire sprinklers in the built environment.
We thought you would like to know about the work being done on your behalf at the national level. We work very hard to educate professionals within the industry AND those that are making decisions that affect our industry.