I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff LaFlam, chair of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, for a feature story highlighting some of the top home fire sprinkler advocates in North America. What has made LaFlam so unique is how he invites the most vocal opponents to sprinkler requirements--homebuilders and their associations--to his coalition's table.
"I make our coalition meetings very inclusive," says LaFlam in the current issue of NFPA Journal. "I'd rather have some open discussions and at least try to solve the opposition's issues. Otherwise, you have two armed camps."
That's not to say LaFlam won't counter sprinkler myths being publicly perpetuated by the opposition. He's now a key figure on an advisory group that provides recommendations to the state's Building Code Council. "I heard from a builder [at an advisory group meeting] that there had never been a fire death in Washington State since 1985. Now, we are certainly able to find those instances. That's going to be my role--cut through those inflammatory statements."
Learn more about LaFlam by reading his profile in the feature "Movers, Shakers, Advocates" in the latest edition of NFPA Journal.