From the Chief’s Corner: Remember the End Game…

Chief Alan Perdue

By Chief Alan Perdue (ret.), SBC Executive Director

Posted on July 27, 2023

When we look at the requirements within the International Fire Code Section 510.1 or NFPA 1 Section 11.10 we must ask ourselves: What is the end game? For all intents and purposes, the ultimate objective is to have communications capabilities for EMS, Fire & Law Enforcement personnel inside buildings. However, when it comes to which code requirements can be achieved, common sense and cost must be factored into the equation. For that reason, we must also consider what is truly needed versus what would be the perfect solution if money were no object. 

I was at the beach with my family this past week and while looking at people in the ocean, I thought about how losing our focus on the end game can lead us into unfamiliar or unwanted waters.

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean at the beach? Think back: You walk into the ocean in front of your hotel, and everything is great. You get relaxed and comfortable in the water and may stop paying attention to where you are. If you are not careful, you may look up a little while later and realize you are nowhere near where you intended to be. Rather than frolicking in the water right out in front of your hotel, you were sidetracked, drifted off target and lost sight of where you intended to be.

As with many activities that you may participate in, taking your eye off the target usually means you miss the target. This can also happen to us in our application of the codes and standards. Instead of focusing on the intent, we start to drift into requirements that reach beyond what the code actually requires. While this drift was unintended, it still impacts the end game for other stakeholders.

I continue to hear from these stakeholders who share their experiences with either the AHJ or the integrator telling them they must do more than the code requires. Often, this involves topics such as pathway survivability, metal raceways, testing, etc.

When this happens, it can have direct and indirect consequences that can drastically impact our efforts to improve communications capabilities for our first responders.

Now, I am the first one to say we need a solution that meets the essential need. In that end, our goal is not to have a gold-plated solution that no jurisdiction will adopt or that building owners will push significantly back on. Rather, our objective is to determine what is truly necessary to achieve our intended goal.

This includes factoring in actual case studies, technical information, lessons learned and many other bits of information. To do that we must continue to have open and honest dialogue and understand the common-sense approach to code adoption and enforcement. By doing so, we can ensure these critical life safety solutions are focused on the end game so that everyone can #feelsafeinside…


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