COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our lives this year, and one of the disappointing and negative impacts has been the cancellation of many community events and fire department open houses for Fire Prevention Week and Fire Prevention Month. Some events have moved online, but many have been cancelled outright. The Excelsior Fire District (serving the Minnesota communities on the southeastern shore of Lake Minnetonka) held an alternative event aimed at providing services to business owners in the community. Billed as the Business Services Mini Event, it was the first time this unique event was attempted. NFSA was a proud participant in this unusual community engagement opportunity.

The idea behind the event was for the Excelsior Fire District to provide services for business owners: education materials on fire prevention, shredding and recycling services, AED/CPR training opportunities, emergency service information, business management of office assistance, and fire extinguisher serving. By far the most popular service requested at the event was the fire extinguisher serving, provided by Summit Fire Protection. Nearly three dozen businesses dropped off extinguishers to be serviced, then toured the other information booths and the food trucks until their extinguishers were ready to be picked up.

Minnesota-based NFSA staff provided information on tax incentives for qualified improvements like fire sprinklers, and information on retrofitting buildings with sprinklers. In addition to informational material, various sprinkler-related videos were presented on the Minnesota Chapter’s TV monitor. Joel Hewitt and Tim Butler also briefed the local cable news on sprinkler facts and myths and the new tax incentive changes that can help business owners with upgrades to fire alarm systems and sprinkler system retrofit projects.

More information about the event can be found here:

Of note, Excelsior Fire Marshal Kellie Murphy-Ringate (NFSA member and event organizer) linked NFSA tax incentive information on their event marketing material.

NFSA seeks out opportunities to promote the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept at local community events. Supporting our contractor, supplier, and government members while engaging in the grass roots education so vital to the “widespread acceptance” part of that mission is the reason we go to these local events. This event, although sparsely attended, was a unique way to engage business owners, and we look forward to a return of this event again in the future!