Expertise: Government Relations
The Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (FEMA), a trade association representing manufacturers of fire extinguishers and fire extinguishing systems, turned to our firm to help enhance political positioning for the fire extinguishing industry on a national, state and local level among regulators, policy makers and key influencers. Among the challenges FEMA faced were state fire codes which allowed for the removal of fire extinguishers in buildings that were fitted with fire sprinklers, a policy which had a major financial impact the industry. Each state’s fire code mandates the number and placement of extinguishers required in buildings.
As part of the program of work we:
- Developed and implemented an aggressive government relations campaign in targeted states aimed at updating state fire codes, removing the sprinkler/extinguisher tradeoff and promoting balanced fire protection through sprinklers AND extinguishers.
- Executed advocacy efforts which included message development, grassroots mobilization of impacted parties, and targeted strategic communications to key stakeholders such as State Fire Marshals, members of the fire services and state legislators.
- Worked closely with regulators to support code change amendments and to educate on the need for balanced fire safety.
- Built support among national trade associations, fire services and other key influencers.
Through our efforts, nearly twenty states moved to amend their statewide fire code to delete the language that limited fire extinguisher requirements. This widespread movement by individual states was one reason why the language limiting fire extinguisher requirements was voted out of the International Fire Code as part of the 2012 International Fire Code edition – eliminating the need to remove the language on a state-by-state basis.