Minnesota ITM Reporting Summit
NFSA and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division co-hosted a November 19th virtual summit on ITM reporting systems currently in use across the state. The summit was intended to bring together contractors and AHJ professionals to share perspectives about the benefits and the challenges of using ITM reporting. Although “third party reporting” services are working well in some jurisdictions, the system processes and implementation have proven problematic for Minnesota Chapter contractor members in other places. By bringing together a large group for this summit, which totaled 58 participants, it was hoped to gain an understanding of what has taken place to date in the state, get a status of how the systems are working, and identify recommendations and best practices for jurisdictions considering future implementation of ITM reporting services.
The summit was originally designed as a 5-hour blended format event; however, was moved to an all-virtual format and shortened significantly to just 90 minutes due to COVID-19 concerns and presenter schedules. Summit planners agreed that the November 19th session would be the first in a series of “listening sessions” to gain a more complete understanding of issues surrounding implementation processes, data privacy, cost, the wording and content of violation letters, and ITM reporting service “intrusion” into, or outright interference with, the contractor-building owner relationship experienced by some contactors.
NFSA President Shane Ray and State Fire Safety Supervisor Jon Nisja co-hosted the meeting and stressed the critical need for cooperation, involvement, and positive collaboration between all stakeholders. NFSA Vice President Jeff Hugo then presented a short history of ITM Reporting across the nation and a recap of the national listening sessions hosted by NFSA in 2018. Those sessions led to the publication of a position statement entitled, What to Consider Before Implementing Life Safety System ITM Reporting Systems. That position paper was jointly produced by the NFSA, the American Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), and the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED). In that paper, the authors identified six key areas to consider before implementing ITM reporting, including:
- Security, regulatory, and liability considerations
- Data collection and security
- Reporting processes and systems
- The need for collaboration among all stakeholders
At the November 19th Summit, a panel of contractor and AHJ representatives help planners and participants understand both the benefits and challenges of using third-party reporting services. Panelists included:
- Fire Marshal Sandy McComb, from the Duluth Fire Department
- Fire Marshal Patrick Farrens, from Maple Grove Fire Department
- Fire Marshal Todd Williams, from Coon Rapids Fire Department
- Jim Kuempel, President of Midwest Fire Protection
- Rich Poole, Service Manager from Viking Automatic Sprinkler
- Kevin Olsen, President of Olsen Fire Protection
Plans are underway for several follow up sessions to delve deeper into successful implementation strategies, address concerns about data ownership and privacy, and to develop a resource guide and training program for stakeholders considering future implementations. Ultimately, the intention of this Minnesota Chapter initiative is to hold a blended-format formal summit in 2021 that will include the best practice discoveries from our listening sessions and will include presentations by third party reporting services. Future events in this ITM series in Minnesota will be posted on the Minnesota Chapter website.
Additional information on ITM Reporting can be found at https://nfsa.org/itm/. Scroll down to “ITM Reporting by State” to find a map of known implementation sites, the joint Position Paper on implementation considerations, a data input form for jurisdictions who use third-party services, and other helpful resources.
The November 19th Summit made it clear that all parties support the ultimate goal of increased life safety system reliability resulting in the saving of additional lives and property. The summit also made it clear that NFSA supports ITM Reporting Services when the challenges spelled out in the joint Position Paper are resolved ahead of implementation through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.