NFPA show offers wide variety of choices

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WAUNAKEE, Wis.—Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, said attending the National Fire Protection Association’s Conference & Expo for the first time this year will be like being “a kid in a candy store.”

“I’ve never done NFPA before,” said Rierson, whose company is based here. “I’m planning on taking the NFPA 25 session over the weekend, but other than that I’m just going to leave myself wide open to just to go out there like a kid in a candy store and see what this market has to offer.”

The 2013 NFPA Conference & Expo will be held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago June 10-13. Trade Show Executive magazine named it one of the nation’s “Fastest 50” rapidly growing trade shows. It typically draws a crowd of about 5,000.

Rierson shared with Security Systems News what makes the show exciting from a newcomer’s eyes.

He said the reason he’s attending this year is that “we’re now installing sprinkler systems in addition to alarm systems” so the show has lots to offer an integration company like his.

Best Defense—a Silent Knight-Farenhyt dealer that was founded in 1994 and has branches in Milwaukee, Wis., and Rockford, Ill.—has been doing sprinkler inspections for about three years but branched out to installing them about three months ago, Rierson said. “It has always been my goal to be a full-service life safety provider,” he said.

He’s excited about attending a pre-conference two-day seminar titled “NFPA 25 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems Certificate.”

The NFPA says the seminar is designed to give attendees “a firm grasp of how the 2011 NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems works to ensure systems are ready for action.” The seminar will cover inspection and testing rules for components, an owner’s responsibilities for compliance, signs of corrosion, and the process for managing impairments.

Rierson said he also likes the fact the seminar is offered on a weekend, on June 8 and 9. Typically, he said, most industry training seminars are during the workweek. “Thisbeing on a weekend I can’t tell you how attractive that is because my time during the week is pretty valuable,” he said.

He said he plans to take a couple of his employees from the sprinkler side of the business to the show and they’ll all introduce themselves to vendors. “The first year at NFPA is going to be finding vendors and building relationships,” Rierson said.

The conference includes more than 150 education sessions and nearly two dozen pre- and post-conference seminars, as well as hands-on training and networking opportunities, according to a news release.

The show also will include a new Accessibility Expo featuring fire and life safety products designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Accessibility Expo will co-locate with the show’s regular expo, which will feature more than 300 exhibitors.

The keynote speaker will be Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian and author of the best-selling “Team of Rivals,” a book about Abraham Lincoln, who will speak about leadership and teamwork. She also will speak about her experience with the film “Lincoln,” for which Daniel Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for best actor this year for his portrayal of that president.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org\conference.