NAFED won't appeal code changes

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--Unsuccessful in their bid to keep fire extinguisher inspection requirements for electronically monitored fire extinguishers in the new edition of NFPA 10, John Gioseffi and the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors have decided against an appeal. They plan, instead, to wait until the next code cycle--three or four years from now--to submit a proposal to reintroduce inspection requirements.
The NFPA voted during its June meeting to change NFPA 10 to allow electronically monitored extinguishers in lieu of mandatory 30-day inspections (see accompanying story, this page).
"My position and NAFED's position is that these [inspection] requirements have been in the standard for cycle after cycle, for many years," Gioseffi said. He believes the electronic monitoring technology is promising, but should be "advanced further."
He believes NFPA prematurely adopted these changes to "accelerate the industry acceptance of this technology," and he doesn't feel that's "concurrent with proper fire protection."
Gioseffi is the president of Broward Fire Equipment and Service here, a privately held company that provides fire extinguishers, special hazard fire suppression systems and fire alarm installation and service. He has 16 employees and 3,000 customers around Broward County. He is also the immediate past-president of NAFED, a 44-year-old trade organization with 1,000 members across the United States.
What about the fact that 30-day inspections do not always occur? "I understand that, and my first response is always: Lack of enforcement is not a reason to eliminate a requirement," he said.
Gioseffi said he'd heard someone say fewer than 10 percent of extinguishers are inspected regularly. "With my customers, I know we get much better adherence to the requirement than just 10 percent," Gioseffi said. "The safety-conscious ones are fulfilling the monthly requirement."
For the foreseeable future, Gioseffi and NAFED will step aside and watch the effects of the code change.
"If the code changes make more markets for electronic monitoring, I think it's a good thing, because when it's used they're going to find out what works and what doesn't. There's no product that's perfect," he said.
"We're going to monitor the situation, see what the results of lessening of inspections requirement are and utilize all that information when we submit a proposal during the next revision cycle."