A Balanced Approach to Fire Protection Offers the Greatest Benefits

IRVING, Texas — A balanced approach to fire protection that includes the installation of both fire detection and suppression systems will save lives according to the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), and for that reason, NBFAA urges that consumers support two legislative initiatives now pending in Congress.

“The members of NBFAA are committed to the fight to save lives from fire-related deaths and believe that, in addition to the firefighting community, there are two major weapons in that fight – detection and suppression. Sprinklers and smoke detection together cut a person’s risk of dying by 82 percent and provide for greater protection of lives, homes and businesses. Two important pieces of legislation which are currently pending in the 110th Congress, H.R. 2882 and H.R.1409, have the potential to save lives. We strongly urge consumers to get behind these bills,” explained NBFAA President George P. Gunning, CEO of USA Alarm Systems.

The College Life Safety and Fire Prevention Act, H.R. 1409, introduced by Rep.Vito Fossella, R-N.Y. and several co-sponsors, would establish a demonstration incentive program within the U.S. Department of Education to promote the professional installation of fire alarm detection systems, or other fire prevention technologies in qualified student housing, dormitories, and other university buildings.

H.R. 2882, the “Long-Term Care Life Safety Act,” introduced by Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-NY is designed to establish a grant program within the Department of Health and Human Services to promote professional retrofit installation of fire alarm detection systems and other fire prevention technologies in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice facilities.

“Only automatic and manual fire alarm systems give advance notice to all of the occupants, staff and just as importantly, the fire departments and emergency first responders. The elderly in these facilities often cannot save themselves, and many times lack the hearing capacity to listen for the shrill beeping of a smoke alarm. Smoke detectors installed on a fire alarm system are UL-listed for commercial use and have audio and visual notification appliances required by the Americans with Disabilities Act for the hearing impaired. It is this advanced warning that accounts for a decline of more than 50 percent in residential fire deaths in the U.S. since the1970’s ” explained NBFAA Government Relations Committee chairman Michael Meridith, president, Security Equipment, Inc., Omaha, Neb.

“Fire alarm detection along with suppression is the formula for fire safety. In fact, the NBFAA has in the last year undertaken a national campaign entitled ‘Fire Detection + Suppression = Fire Safety.’ It seems quite clear to our industry that in the past only sprinklers were considered when rules were developed. This is unfair to the students in college facilities and to the elderly in long-term care situations, as well as to the staff and the families of those who rely on these institutions for safe living and working environments,” added Meridith.

The NBFAA believes that the life safety community must work together to ensure a balanced fire protection system so as not to rely on any one single fire prevention technology to protect lives and property. The association approved a white paper this year, “A Balanced Approach to Fire System Design: Alarm & Detection Alongside Suppression” that outlines NBFAA’s position.

For more information about these bills and what you can do to support them, contact NBFAA’s lobbyist and Director of Government Relations John Chwat, at Chwat & Company, Inc., 625 Slaters Lane, Suite 103, Alexandria, VA 22314. He may be reached by phone at (703) 684-7703 or by e-mail at

The white paper is available on NBFAA’s Web site at

NBFAA, a non-profit 501(c) 6 trade association, is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to representing, promoting, and supporting the electronic life safety, security, and systems industry. Member companies specialize in a wide spectrum of services to commercial and residential consumers, including security and fire alarms, video surveillance, access control and monitoring. In cooperation with a federation of state associations, NBFAA provides government advocacy and delivers timely information, professional development tools, products and services that members use to grow and prosper their businesses.

The NBFAA may be reached at (888) 447-1689 or on the Web at

Valerie G, editor at CANW
Valerie G has been an editor with California Newswire for several years, is a gifted theremin player, can quote copious lines from 'Red Dwarf' and also knows where her towel is. Oddly, she does not drive, nor does she take the bus. She identifies as both human and democrat.