Veteran Ryan Sykes helps to raise the U.S. flag in front of his new home, complete with a residential sprinkler system donated and installed by AFSA members. Photo courtesy of Nick Hunte.

Chair’s Message

WHAT WE DO WORKS! Since my last article, there have been tragic fires in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, where three firefighters lost their lives. It pains me every time this happens, knowing that there’s technology here that can prevent these tragedies from happening … fire sprinklers! WHAT WE DO WORKS! How many more lives have to be lost? When will we figure this out as a country … as a world? We must not stop fighting to make sure that fire sprinklers are installed in every single structure that is built. I can already hear the other side saying the structures that burned were older structures that would have been unaffected by new legislation. They’re right, but, if we start protecting all structures now, in another 20-30 years, those “older” structures will be protected, and these tragedies will stop occurring. We need to fight to save the lives of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and every generation following them from the ravages of fire. Please do what you can at the local level and reach out to us here at AFSA to assist you in any way we can. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to fight this nationally with others who share our passion for life safety.

The lifeblood of our association is our local chapters. If you are an AFSA member and reading this article, please get involved in your local chapter. That is where the real “boots on the ground” efforts take place. They do amazing work in the legislative arena, foster relationships with Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), and give back to our communities. One initiative in community relations is our support of Homes For Our Troops (HFOT). 

A few years ago, AFSA and the Public Education & Awareness Committee partnered with HFOT. As you know, AFSA is a very patriotic association. We love our country and those who defend it. HFOT builds specially adapted custom homes for severely injured Veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have had limb amputations, are paralyzed, or suffer from traumatic brain injury. These heroes deserve and need to have the protection fire sprinklers provide for them to escape their homes in case of a fire. AFSA contractor members, manufacturers, and suppliers donate their time and materials to provide a residential fire sprinkler system in these Veterans’ homes. Paulene Norwood, the executive director of the Sacramento Valley Chapter, heads this initiative up at the national level. She coordinates these efforts across the country, and I just want to say “Thank You” to her, as well as to all the other volunteers making our Veterans safe! You can see an example of their work in the March/April 2022 edition of Sprinkler Age.

AFSA’s Board of Directors has added a new member—Parks Moore, P.E., from S & S Sprinkler, Mobile, Alabama—to its already dedicated group of volunteers. Parks has been involved with AFSA for many years and has represented our association on various NFPA code-writing committees. He will be a tremendous addition to our Board. Welcome, Parks!

I also want to put in a plug for AFSA41: Convention, Exhibition, and National Apprentice Competition at the Bellagio in Las Vegas October 16-19. It will be hard to top AFSA40 last year in San Antonio. I had my doubts, but this year’s Convention Committee is pulling out all the stops! Las Vegas is an awesome place to hold our convention, and after hearing what the committee has planned, I’m sure AFSA41 will be a convention we will never forget! 

In closing, please make sure you tell every person you know who’s in this industry (employees and friends) that they save lives every single day, and they should be proud of that!! WHAT WE DO WORKS! Thank you, and God Bless!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Medovich, P.E. is Chair and At-Large Director of the AFSA Board of Directors and president, CEO, and founding partner of Fire & Life Safety America, formerly known as East Coast Fire Protection Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. A 1983 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Fire Protection Engineering, Medovich served three years as fire marshal of Fairfax County, Virginia, before joining the fire sprinkler industry 35 years ago. He has been active in AFSA since 1991, is past chair of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, and served as the chair of the Virginia Chapter and a member of its board of directors for many years. He represents AFSA on the Correlating Committee of NFPA 13, 13R, 13D, 24, and 291. In the past, he has served as a member of the following NFPA committees: NFPA 14, 20, 25, 101, and 750.

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