Hawkeye State Fire Safety Association Conference

On October 22-25, I attended the Hawkeye State Fire Safety Association’s (HSFSA) Fire Prevention and Building Safety Education Conference in Des Moines, IA.  The 4-day conference focused on topics of interest to the fire inspections and code enforcement community.  Roughly 40 Fire Chiefs, Fire Marshals, code officials, and contractors from across Iowa and from Sioux Falls, SD attended.  NFSA members Johnson Controls, Fire Protection Professionals, and J. F. Ahern were vendors at the conference.

Conference topics included:

  • The State Fire Marshals Association annual meeting
  • A day-long presentation on fire safety system Testing, Inspection, and the Commission process by Brandon Wilkerson, owner of Rated Engineering
  • A 4-hour class on the changes between the 2015 and 2018 editions of the IBC and IFC (Iowa has adopted the 2015 of each)
  • A presentation on Community Risk Reduction
  • A panel discussion of hot topics of interest to the attendees
  • A tour of the Krause Gateway Center (national headquarter of Kum and Go gas stations, the Des Moines Menace soccer team, and other corporate interests)
  • An award banquet

Brandon Wilkerson

I primarily went to meet NFSA AHJ members and contractor members and to determine if NFSA has a role in future HSFSA events and conferences.  I was universally welcomed with open arms; they were extremely happy to see an NFSA presence at this gathering.  I had the opportunity to meet personally with AHJ members and contractors, prospective members, and the State Fire Marshal and his staff members.   

A number of the conference delegates expressed interest in starting an NFSA chapter in Iowa, and many asked about NFSA training courses and side by side demonstrations.  Several mentioned the exceptional groundwork laid by John Corso and Dominick Kasmauskas through their past training presentations.  We discussed potential NFSA training and conference support in the future, and that idea was eagerly accepted by the HSFSA President, Patrick Phelan of Des Moines Fire and by Fire Marshal Justin Frederick, President of the Iowa Marshals Association.  I will work with both of these officials to determine the best way NFSA can support their future efforts.

The Ahern company personnel from both the Davenport and Des Moines offices were very interested in NFSA training and are clearly engaged in sprinkler industry happenings statewide.  I had the chance to sit with a number of them – including the Des Moines General Manager, Arita Balken, and the Design Manager from Davenport, NFSA member Abby Andrews.  Arita is well-known in the Ahern company and a strong advocate of starting an NFSA Chapter in Iowa.  We will meet soon to discuss how we can best support Ahern needs in Des Moines, and I will also be meeting with Abby to tour the Ahern office in Davenport.

Krause Gateway Center

Another key official in the Iowa sprinkler scene is NFSA member Jonathan Lund of Lund Fire Protection.  He reviews fire protection systems plans for 11 jurisdictions from around the state and is also the Fire Marshal for Des Moines Fire.  He is clearly a mover and shaker in the fire sprinkler industry in Iowa, and I look forward to our future work together.

All in all, this was a great conference, and a wonderful time to connect with key AHJ members. I look forward to following up on the contacts I made and supporting the important work of NFSA members in Iowa.