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National Fire Sprinkler Association

Fight to require home sprinklers ongoing in Massachusetts

Lawmakers just killed a bill to let municipalities require sprinklers in new homes, but more bills expected in 2015
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07/22/2014

HOLYOKE, Mass.—A fatal rooming house fire 30 years ago on July 4 led the Massachusetts Legislature to quickly pass legislation allowing local communities in the Commonwealth to require sprinklers in boarding houses. But today’s lawmakers recently killed a similar bill that would have let communities require sprinklers in new homes.

Illinois enacts new law on dorm sprinklers

All public and private colleges and universities must install sprinklers by September 2014
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09/24/2012

ORLAND PARK, Ill.—Parents of college students should be able to rest easier as the result of a new law requiring fire sprinklers in on-campus dormitories at public and private colleges and universities in Illinois by September 2014, according to the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.

Fire sprinkler expo to make history

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07/27/2012

PATTERSON, N.Y.—The National Fire Sprinkler Association, the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association and the new Mexican Fire Sprinkler Association plan to make history next year by partnering to host what is being billed as “the first-ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo.”

Illinois home fire sprinkler initiatives under way

Two-pronged effort in the state aims to increase residential fire sprinkler requirements
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07/11/2012

ORLAND PARK, Ill.—Whether it’s through a town-by-town adoption of new residential fire sprinkler requirements or via a new effort to require sprinklers in homes statewide, Illinois is making progress toward mandating the life safety devices in more and more homes, according to Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB).

Maryland mandates residential fire sprinklers

The NFSA was one of the groups working to get the legislation passed
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05/21/2012

PATTERSON, N.Y.—New homes built in Maryland will be required to have fire sprinklers beginning this fall, the result of new legislation signed into law by that state’s governor May 2.

NFSA gets new president

Former Executive VP Russ Fleming chosen for post
 - 
04/02/2012

PATTERSON, N.Y.—Russ Fleming is the new president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. The NFSA board of directors voted March 2 to select Fleming, formerly NFSA executive VP and a 37-year veteran of the organization, for the post.

NFSA gets new president

 - 
Monday, March 5, 2012

Russ Fleming is the new president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, following a vote by the organization’s board. Fleming replaces John Viniello, who retired effective the first of this month after 28 years on the job.

The board voted March 2 to select Fleming, the organization’s former executive VP, for the president’s post. A special NFSA committee met Jan. 25 to nominate him, Fleming told me at that time.

I’m trying to reach Fleming to learn more about his goals for the NFSA. I’d also like to learn more about who’s going to be the next executive VP.

Viniello announced Jan. 19 that he planned to retire. “I will turn 70 years of age at the end of February and it’s time to step down. It’s been a great run,” he said in a statement on the NFSA’s website.

Viniello told me he and Fleming had worked together for 25 years and “in my estimation, he’s the top engineer in the sprinkler industry.” Fleming sits on a number of National Fire Protection Association committees, Viniello said.

When asked what his own greatest accomplishment has been on the job, Viniello answered: “Oh, that’s easy. My staff.”

He said that when he became president in 1984, “the association was in dire financial trouble. People were being laid off and I was determined to look at the staff and assess who could get it done and who couldn’t.”

He said the association now has a “terrific” staff of more than 40 people. He said NFSA staff members are the “who’s who in the sprinkler industry. … I’m most proud of the staff that I’ve been able to assemble.”

Viniello said his previous careers included being a school guidance councilor and dean of admissions at Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus in New York City before becoming a regional manager for the NFSA in 1973. “I didn’t know a sprinkler from a water faucet when I first started. I had to learn, and I had a lot of good teachers,” he said.

In 1981, he left NFSA to work for Grinnell Fire Protection as head of their residential fire sprinkler division. “That was before fire sprinklers were really known for protecting homes and I guess I was considered one of the pioneers in that whole technology,” he said. He returned to NFSA to take the job as president.

Here’s more from the NFSA’s website on other votes by the board on March 2:
 

At its meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Friday, March 2, 2012, the NFSA Board of Directors elected the following members to two-year terms as officers, beginning immediately: Chairman, Dennis Coleman, Engineered Fire Protection, St. Louis; Treasurer, James Boulanger, Patriot Fire Protection, Seattle.
In addition, the following staff members were elected to officer positions: Russell P. Fleming, President; David J. Vandeyar, Secretary; Fred Barall, Senior Vice President of Industrial Relations; Kenneth E. Isman, P.E., Vice President of Engineering; Buddy Dewar, Vice President of Regional Operations; James F. Lynch, Vice President of Industrial Relations; James D. Lake, Vice President of Training & Education.
Two new members were also welcomed to the Board of Directors. Bruce LaRue of Potter Electric was elected as the new Chair of the Supplier and Manufacturers (SAM) Council, a position that carries a seat on the Board. In addition, Buck Buchannan was designated by Globe Fire Sprinkler as their new representative on the Sprinkler Manufacturers Council, and he was among the sprinkler manufacturers elected to a new two-year term on the Board of Directors. Congratulations to all the new officers and Board members!

 

Viniello leaving NFSA, but still passionate about the cause

 - 
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John Viniello, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, is stepping down after 28 years on the job.

In announcement on the Patterson, N.Y.-based organization’s website today, Viniello writes that he’ll retire as of March 1. “I will turn 70 years of age at the end of February and it’s time step down. It’s been a great run.”

He said that Russ Fleming, NFSA’s executive vice president will handle day-to-day association matters until a new president is elected. “I will work with him to insure a smooth transition of responsibilities,” Viniello pledged.

I haven’t met Viniello personally but have interviewed him over the phone on a number of stories. I’ve been impressed with the way he always returns my calls so promptly. I think that’s because he’s so passionate about the need for fire sprinklers that he never wants to miss an opportunity to get publicity for the cause.

A recent letter that he posted on the site is a good example of his passionate feelings about fire sprinklers. It’s an open letter to Chicago media outlets regarding a tragic fire in a high-rise apartment complex in that city last week.

A 32-year-old woman who lived at the Lake Shore Drive building died when she arrived on the 12th floor by elevator after a fire had begun in an apartment belonging to other tenants, the Associated Press reported. The elevator door opened onto an inferno and Shantel McCoy died of carbon monoxide intoxication and inhalation of smoke and soot, the AP said.

McCoy’s mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the companies that manage the building, the AP said. It said the Chicago Sun-Times reported that JoAnn McCoy claims her daughter still would be alive if a sprinkler system had “been in place to put out the Jan. 9 fire.”

Such a tragedy could happen again, Viniello warns in his strongly-worded letter to the editor. Here’s what he wrote:
 

Elevators stopping at the fire floor…no fire sprinklers installed. Sounds more like the script from the film “The Towering Inferno”. Yet, sadly it happened once again in the City of Chicago. It becomes painfully evident that hundreds of thousands of residents living in high-rise buildings throughout Chicago are at risk of dying in a fire. These “ovens in the sky” will continue to kill or injure Chicagoans, including firefighters, because of a failed administration, including the former and current Mayors and Board of Alderman. They all lack the political will to enact legislation that requires retrofitting these unsafe building with life saving fire sprinkler systems. It is not a question of if it will happen again. It’s a question of when. How high does the “body count” have to get before the city administration becomes proactive rather than reactive? Sadly, those “who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

 

Incentivizing fire sprinklers in new homes

NFSA: Financial incentive laws for sprinklers are life- and cost-saving measures
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12/07/2011

CAPE CORAL, Fla.—A proposed ordinance in this city would give homebuilders a break on city impact fees if they install fire sprinklers in new homes, saving lives and also saving money for taxpayers in the long run, according to the city councilor behind the proposal and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA).

New legislation would promote college fire sprinklers

The proposed law contains incentives for Greek housing
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11/03/2011

PATTERSON, N.Y.—A bill to promote fire sprinklers in student housing, including sororities and fraternities, has just been reintroduced in Congress.

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