Spring Newsletter

Present: Jamie Vos and Chris Russell from Security Solutions, Michael Fitz from MDE, Randy Knighton and Roger White from Knight Fire, Chuck Paradis and Joe Faulkner from Sprinx, Lynn Rydman from Washington Fire (new member, welcome Lynn), Herb Schairbaum from Bluewater Fire, Steve Hobart from Simplex/Grinnell, Bill McKay from Advanced Fire and Ron Greenman from Bates Technical College–Fire Protection Engineering Technology Program (insert unabashed commercial here).

The meeting was held on 8 May 2007 and started with Bill talking about Redmond getting their zero square foot sprinkler ordinance passed. To our understanding this led to Woodinville and Olympia protesting the refusal of their respective ordinances on the grounds that the Codes Council’s voting rules provided for a small special interest coalition to dominate the outcome without consideration for the best interests public. As I understand it the Attorney General agreed and overturned the Council’s decision so that now both municipalities have enhanced residential sprinkler ordinances. If anybody has a different take on this please let me know.

The newly passed fitter certification bill has passed but has few teeth. It requires a fitter to have 8000 hours of experience for full status and 4000 hours for plastic work. There is no ratio of journeyman to apprentice. The responsibility for administering this program belongs to the State Fire Marshal but at the time of this writing there is no procedure in place. Of course as this develops I’ll keep you all apprised.

The nightclub retrofit deadline has been extended to the end of 2009. From a business perspective this is a good thing. The nightclub owners now have more time to prepare (muffled laugh here) and since you guys are so busy now it gets banked as future work. Let’s hope even more for no fires.

There’s a wage survey coming and Bill wants to make sure that the merit shop contractors are not passed over like last time. Bill has suggested that contractor members be charged $500.00 per company so that an outside agent (not me) can be hired to monitor the process and compile the data. This agent will make sure that all the merit shop contractors (members or not) get their surveys, actually fill them out, help them do that if necessary, make sure the info gets to Olympia, and insure anonymity for those surveyed. Expect a billing notice from me in August.

Bill is winning his battle regarding target money. The attorney General has deemed that using money from prevailing wage jobs is not appropriate to use as target money for private sector work.

Bill suggested that because times are good for the insurance industry you should just demand a 10%-15% reduction from your carrier and see what they do.

There was talk about the terrible news story relating to sprinklers in the Columbia Tower. Once again sensationalism trumps the truth. By the way the first use of an inappropriate deluge system for dramatic effect in a movie that I’ve been able to uncover is to aid a comedic escape from a medical examination room in the Marx Brothers film A Day at the Races, circa 1937.

Tyco’s VRP program will end on 8/31/07.

The group agreed that there would be a gentleman’s agreement to not solicit each other’s fitters. If you’re a merit shop contractor please adhere to this. Of course, as always, it’s Ok to ask for temporary help from your associates. This has worked to everyone’s benefit many, many times.

Jamie called and wanted me to let everyone know that during a conversation with a water official up his way he was told that in a couple of years Washington will be requiring contractors to catch and either re-use or process sprinkler water drained from the system. True or not it’s something to keep in mind and have a contingency plan. There are places in California where this is the case.

If you’re not aware of the AFSA “Become a Life-Saver” fitter recruitment program go to this website:

What you will find is the starting page (excerpt below). Take a good look at this. I think you’ll find it useful.

AFSA Recruiting Materials
1) Basic Recruiting Checklist »
2) Basic Salting Points to Remember »
3) Do’s and Don’ts when the union knocks »
4) Avoiding Salting Problems »
“Become a Life-Saver” Campaign. The “Become a Life-Saver” recruitment, education, and awareness initiative is a targeted advertising campaign provided free-of-charge to AFSA members. It focuses attention on the fire sprinkler industry as a career with a future: one that saves lives, and at the same time offers good pay and benefits, and the opportunity to earn while you learn.
Elements of the campaign include classified display ads, full color brochure, banners, direct mail pieces, PowerPoint presentations, radio ad scripts, sample newspaper articles, and materials to reach high school guidance counselors. With their similar look and feel, the materials work in tandem with one another. Their mix and match elements can be used to create a custom, comprehensive marketing campaign tailored to a member’s needs.
Personalize Version.
All materials are designed to allow each AFSA member, chapter or affiliated state association to include its own logo and contact information. Download fonts for personalization (see instruction guide for use permissions)
Generic Version.
A generic version that includes the “firesprinklercareers.com” Website and an AFSA toll-free phone number, which will provide additional information for potential employees.
Instruction Guide.
This instruction guide will explain step-by-step how to implement all of the campaign materials.
Download Instruction Guide »

That’s it for this time. The next meeting will be at 6:30 on August 15 at the 13 Coins in SeaTac. Steve Muncy, President of AFSA, will be our guest. See you in August.