Email-Based Discussion Group Celebrates 20 Years
As many of its members may be aware, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) hosts an email discussion list on issues relating to fire sprinklers. This discussion, known as the SprinklerForum, is open to anyone interested in fire sprinklers and related issues; you need not be an AFSA member to subscribe. The purpose of SprinklerForum is to facilitate the exchange of information, promote discussion and address current issues concerning automatic fire sprinklers. Subscribers are encouraged to ask and answer questions, and representatives of AFSA often weigh in on certain issues. This year, AFSA is proud to announce that the Sprinkler-Forum has been facilitating sprinkler discussion for 20 years.
Over 700 participants have signed up for the technical discussions on SprinklerForum. They post technical questions and answers related to the fire sprinkler industry and codes and standards, they provide helpful advice to those who can benefit from their experience and skills, and they are a part of a community of subscribers just like themselves. Roland Huggins, P.E., AFSA’s vice president of engineering & technical services, is one AFSA staff representative who often finds himself weighing in on the forum.
“The SprinklerForum is an incredible resource, as would be expected as its participants have such a diverse background,” says Huggins.“Although the normal discussions revolve around code questions, the ability to get opinions regarding using resources and devices is priceless. We are fortunate indeed to have so many who are willing to share their expertise and knowledge in this competitive world.”
Travis Mack, S.E.T., a designer from MFP Design, LLC in Gilbert, Arizona, has nothing but glowing things to say about his experience with the SprinklerForum. “I have been a member of the SprinklerForum for many years,” says Mack. “I have made some great friends through the forum. It is a great resource to be able to access so many like-minded fire sprinkler professionals to bounce ideas around. The time and money saved from this forum more than pay for the AFSA dues.”
SprinklerForum is also very valuable to Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs). John Drucker, C.E.T., a fire protection subcode official for the Borough of Red Bank, New Jersey, has used SprinklerForum many times over the years. “SprinklerForum has a wealth of information from boots-on-the-ground professionals dealing with real life situations,” says Drucker. “Often I just read through the subject matter gleaning information from others’ experiences that I have applied to my own.”
Ron Greenman, executive director of the AFSA Pacific Northwest Chapter, loves the SprinklerForum for three reasons. “When I’m stumped I have knowledgeable friends out there who can help me get over the hurdle,” says Greenman. “When my friends are stumped I have the opportunity and pleasure of helping my friends out there get over their hurdles, and thanks to SprinklerForum I have met these great colleagues that I have come to consider friends, people I’d not have otherwise met.”
There are some restrictions for those who participate in the SprinklerForum. For example, pricing issues are never discussed, as that can be construed as a violation of anti-trust laws and can endanger the continuation of the SprinklerForum and the tax-exempt status of AFSA. SprinklerForum cannot be used to solicit employment or advertise for open positions, as it is a technical forum, not a job forum. SprinklerForum cannot be used for self- or company-promotion. Beyond these rules, SprinklerForum can be whatever its members want it to be, and as more members join it continues to evolve through conversations and added expertise.
Visit firesprinkler.org/Technical-Services/Sprinkler-Forum to join the conversation. AFSA is proud to host such a thriving community of industry professionals. Here’s to the next 20 years!