SimplexGrinnell hosts fire safety conference

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

WARWICK, R.I. - More than 200 people turned out for a fire and life-safety conference here in October, that was hosted by SimplexGrinnell to discuss Rhode Island’s fire-safety law and how compliance to the new law has affected the state’s restaurant and nightclub businesses.

Attendees, according to SimplexGrinnell, included engineers, business owners and government officials. The primary purpose of the conference was how to best comply with the state’s sprinkler and alarm systems requirements.

The Fire Safety Act of 2003 was developed as a result of the tragic nightclub fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. in February 2002, where 100 people were killed. The law went into effect one year later. Among its requirements is that establishments with capacities of more than 300 must install fire sprinklers by July 2005.

Given the short timeline between passage and compliance, contractors and engineering firms have been in high demand, and in short supply.

“Essentially, there’s a lot of scrambling going on to see if they (building owners) can conform,” said Wayne D. Moore, the keynote speaker at the one-day event on Oct. 22 that was held at the Crowne Plaza, here. “The biggest issue is to meet the deadline imposed by the legislature,” he said.

Moore is a principal at Hughes Associates, a fire protection engineering and code-consulting firm. Moore, who is based out of the company’s Warwick office, is chairman of the National Fire Alarm Code Technical Correlating Committee.

“Since the law is in effect, we want to bring a clearer understanding of what the requirements are to the engineering community and property owners,” according to Bruce Fraser, director of industry relations at SimplexGrinnell.