NFSA Continues to provide the latest information and resources to the fire sprinkler industry as the U.S. adapts to the impact of COVID-19… Get your information here…
Developments are happening daily surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and NFSA continues to work to keep our members informed and all the resources for this national emergency gathered in one location. For the past few weeks, NFSA has utilized the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS) (CISA) that would classify fire sprinkler work as essential, especially where emergent repairs, outages, or inspection, testing and maintenance is required by code to operate critical facilities. We have also been carefully evaluating each Executive Order that comes into our team as to how it impacts our members in each state. We have watched as safe work places have become as important as the “essential worker” declarations, and we realize because so many of you have shared that each situation is unique, we created state by state pages to address the issues. We have also summarized information available from the Federal Government on loans and programs that were passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security Act (CARES Act). The loan programs from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Reserve, and perhaps even the Treasury Department will benefit our members as we work diligently on recovery. Within the CARES Act is incentives for fire sprinklers and accelerated depreciation in the US Tax Code for all commercial properties. There are commonalities that exist for all our members during these times and there is much information that can have a positive impact on your business operations. Please reach out to our NFSA team in your area or reach out directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, comments, and/or concerns. Be well and stay safe in the workplaces where you are able to!
For the past month, NFSA has been providing information to our members for the situation in which we all find ourselves. For more than a year, NFSA has been preparing for a recession and a negative impact event to our industry. The first term of this NFSA administration and Board cycle couldn’t have been more positive for our industry, with double digit growth in most major metro areas across the country and an average of greater than 6% growth nationwide. In 2019, NFSA reported record fire sprinkler shipments. For the first time in our history, residential fire sprinkler shipments were more than 25% of the total number of fire sprinkler heads shipped.
While we find ourselves in the largest international crisis of our lifetimes, we know that our industry will not only respond to this crisis, but will recover with a renewed spirit. As we respond to the short-term and long-term needs of our members, we are also preparing for recovery. We are implementing our recession plan and budget, which modifies our 2020 Operations Plan. While our Annual Seminar and Business and Leadership Conference is cancelled, we have information included within that invites you and your staff, free of charge, to the first ever NFSA Virtual Business and Leadership Conference. You won’t want to miss it from the comfort of your home, or hopefully office by then. We have added many new online classes, all dealing with COVID-19 for free, and we have discounted our NFSA classes from 10% to 50% off.
While the health industry and the medical response teams may not have been prepared for such a widespread pandemic, the response to this event worldwide has been better than in the past, but not as good as it should have been here in the U.S. We have never seen a national emergency of this magnitude, but we have been through the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, many natural disasters that severely impacted our country, such as Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crash of 2008. The response to these events were widely criticized, and this one will be no different.
NFSA has worked diligently to ensure that fire sprinklers were deemed essential by governments. We reminded every Governor and many, many elected officials across this great country of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Department of Homeland Security spreadsheet that kept us working. At this time, 42 states have stay at home orders in place, and we are monitoring state by state developments on a daily basis. During this time, we have also ensured that fire sprinklers were included within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This is a technical correction from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which NFSA has been actively working with many other prominent national associations in Washington, D.C., to ensure that qualified improvement properties (QIP) include accelerated depreciation for fire sprinklers in all commercial buildings, not just small businesses, which was included in the original Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Fire sprinkler systems will no longer be treated like plumbing systems and other building components within the tax code. While we didn’t get other bills passed during this time, still active is the High-Rise Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which will ensure residential high-rise buildings receive a 15-year depreciation, and the Public Housing Fire Safely Act, which will provide $25 million dollars per year for ten years to retrofit public housing of the Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD).
We have been, and we will continue, working to promote the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept, regardless of good times or bad. The feedback we have received for NFSA’s response to the COVID-19 event has been positive. Please go to our COVID-19 webpage to find information that impacts your company and our industry. Please reach out to our staff and fellow Board, Council, and Committee members if you need assistance getting through this. We welcome your feedback, as mentioned in one of the first articles in National Fire Sprinkler Magazine two years ago following the election of officers. Well, we still mean it and we still seek it. We have been on many calls with our chapters and members across the country in the past few weeks, and for the first time in many years, we convened a full Board of Directors and Councils meeting between regularly scheduled meetings.
We wish you, your families, and your companies/organizations the best during these times.
May God Bless Us All,
Coronavirus Resources for Employers
Information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be issued at a rapid pace. In order to stay up to date and access accurate information, employers are encouraged to utilize the below links.
As COVID-19 continues to change our way of life, the way Inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) of fire protection systems is also changing, specifically in health care facilities.Read More
On May 5, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced guidelines to be followed for businesses and regions of the State to reopen following the expected termination of the State’s PAUSE Order on May 15, 2020. Regional reopening will be based on the four following metrics: (1) 14 days of decline in net hospitalizations and deaths; (2) 30% hospital and ICU beds available; (3) ability to conduct 30 virus tests per month for every 100,000 residents; and (4) 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.Read More
After generally deferring to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) thus far in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued industry-specific guidance for construction companies.Read More
Legislation passed the Senate, House and was signed by President Trump last Friday infusing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $310 billion in funding.Read More
We all know that many times having frequently asked questions and answers available makes a big difference! NFSA is happy to share that the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released answers to questions frequently asked by employers regarding paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)Read More
As a road warrior for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), it’s not uncommon to be in multiple states in any given week. As the Director of Field Operations and Government Relations, I manage our field team who cover all 50 states and the U.S. Territories. Our Field Ops Team members all have routines, and for most of us that travel regionally or nationally, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world.Read More
On April 1, the Minnesota Chapter held a historic meeting with senior NFSA leadership using a video conference format. The briefing by NFSA President Shane Ray, Executive Officer Vickie Pritchett, Senior Vice President Fred Barall, and Director of Field Operations Gary West was the first time the Chapter had ever met using a “virtual meeting” format. 33 members of the Chapter joined the call, which lasted just over an hour.Read More
NFSA is happy to share that there are additional federal lending programs available. For those who are following our updates, you know that we have tried to keep you updated with the latest information. We are hopeful that many of you are able to take advantage of some or all of these programs, we appreciate those who have let us know you’ve used the information gathered and turned your applications in!Read More
As part of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering three types of loans for eligible businesses. In addition, the Federal Reserve is offering loans available to both small and large businesses through the new Main Street Lending Program.Read More
COVID-19 has changed the jobsite. Contractors need to work with owners to identify potential risks on each site during construction activities and develop a safety plan for their employees, visitors and inspectors. Contractors need to review and enhance their infection control plans to include awareness, training, and use of personal protective equipment.Read More
NFSA is happy to share the following information from the CDC, which we believe will be very helpful to many of our members. We have heard examples of the need for this from many of you during Chapter meetings held virtually this past week.Read More
NFSA President Shane Ray provides an update that includes the latest information on COVID-19, fire sprinkler incentives, and plans for the upcoming NFSA Virtual Business & Leadership Conference!Read More
On April 7, 2020, the Small Business Administration released additional guidance concerning the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to address concerns commonly raised by applicant companies and lenders. The six-page document is full of information which many NFSA companies will likely find helpful in deciding whether to apply for the PPP.Read More
President Ray and Chairman Mezaros outline the NFSA's progress during this time of crisisRead More
30+ top speakers, authors and thought leaders sharing strategies to help you stay positive, overcome challenges and make a greater difference. Each speaker will share a short video message, which includes actionable advice, that you can access on-demand, online during the summit dates. We release a few speakers each day. Once a speakers video is released, you can watch it anytime you want.Read More
There are many federal, state, and local requirements, many of which have been changing from day to day. Therefore, it is impossible to provide complete, “one-size-fits-all” advice applicable to every job in every locality.Read More
In this difficult time of the most virulent pandemic to hit the United States since 1918, the National Fire Sprinkler Association recommends that, in states and communities that have shut-down the construction industry, fire protection activities must be considered an essential, life-sustaining activity and should be able to continue work. Our fire sprinkler industry is working hard to ensure that job sites are safe, and utilizing the recommendations from the respective agencies for guidance.Read More
On March 25th, Congress passed the Coronavirus Stabilization Act of 2020. This legislation, which includes over $2 trillion in aid to combat both the virus and the negative economic impacts associated with social distancing, also includes a technical correction to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) that gives incentives to corporations that retrofit their businesses with fire sprinkler systems.Read More
To further assist NFSA members regarding management of COVID-19 related issues, please see wide-ranging information provided to NFSA by trusted legal partners Foley Hoag LLP and Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP . These analyses cover issues such as employee travel, excluding employees from the workplace, notification requirements for employees confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, attendance, vacation, sick time and FMLA requirements, unemployment insurance, working from home and more. We know that these issues are providing challenges and that our members have questions, our hope here is that we have gathered the information that can help.Read More
The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) includes various provisions intended to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see a detailed analysis as provided to NFSA by Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP. This includes practical information for employees concerning unemployment assistance and relief, recovery rebates for individuals and various business provisions including new tax credits and related rules. We believe that there are many parts of these programs that can benefit our members, please explore the information shared.Read More
The article linked provides details on federal loans which may be available to some NFSA member companies who meet their criteria.Read More
OSHA and state agencies across the country are advising employers to refer to guidance developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reduce exposure to COVID-19 for their employees, to plan for instances of exposure in the workplace, and to develop a plan of action for responding to employee exposure.Read More
The statute originally stated that the leave would be available no later than April 2, 2020.Read More
It would be remiss of us to not address some of the issues that we have before us today. Our nation and world are in a crisis. The COVID-19 virus has halted our world as we know it. Only the “essential services” are allowed to open and running in many states around the country.Read More
NFSA has reached out to our members and compiled the summary below of current practices being implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Read More
President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law on Wednesday. The FFCRA will take effect no later than April 2nd and sunset on December 31, 2020.Read More
Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the expansion of employer’s responsibilities to prevent and track the exposure of employees to certain infectious illnesses to include COVID-19.Read More
The NFSA is monitoring legislation and regulations at the federal, state, and local level. Our Field Operations and Government Relations personnel are working closely with our Codes, Standards, and Public Fire Protection team to review and investigate the impact of legislation on the fire sprinkler industry.Read More
As a result of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, and the Governor of Arizona declaring a State of Emergency, we have canceled our 2020 Annual Seminar.Read More