I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for electing me as president of the New Hampshire Fire Prevention Society for the year 2017. I take this appointment with a great deal of respect and appreciation. You should know that I will do my best to continue diligently steering this ship in a forward sailing direction. It is hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over and this is the fourth and final quarterly update I am writing to the membership. I want to start by giving you a yearend review of 2016 and little projection to 2017. These two items will be co-mingled in the text below and I will end with the 2017 objectives I would like to accomplish. I hope you all are as eager to see what 2017 will bring as I am.
2016 was a good year when it comes to training and education and an OK year with dinner meetings. Communication is always a hurdle and it proved to continue with only a little improvement in 2016. There were some members that complained of too many e-mails being sent, and then some that complained that there was not enough notice, yet others that did not complain, and were satisfied with the communication efforts. This issue was discussed at the October annual meeting and the consensus was that sending too many E-mails is not a bad thing. The quarterly updates from the president are a good thing. This form of communication used is our best avenue for keeping open communication and will be the process we will continue to use first. Important information will still be mailed the old fashioned way, with envelope and stamp. The one improvement in communication that needs to happen in 2017 is getting the meeting minutes posted quicker for everyone to stay informed of activity and actions.
The annual meeting at the NH Fire Academy in October was well attended with an equal number of board members and regular members. This is a huge improvement from years past where the majority of attendees were the Board of Directors with only a few members. Hopefully the 2017 annual meeting will yield many more regular members participating, this is your organization. There were several by-law changes that were made, mainly cleaning up language that has always been our practice, but is now written to identify the correct routine. Annual elections were conducted. I want to thank Peter Lennon and Scott Hunter for their many years of service supporting the NHFPS and serving on the board. Scott Symonds and Rick Dunton were elected in an uncontested election for the two vacated seats. A single ballot was cast by the secretary to reelect me as president, Carl Roediger as you first vice president, Ed White as your second vice president, Rick Wood as your treasurer, and Helen Burke as your secretary. Mitch Cady, and Jeff Emanuelson were re-elected to their board positions. Mitch will assume the awards and recognition duties that were held by Peter Lennon and Jeff Emanuelson will remain on legislative updates.
Rick Dunton in his new role as training chair, has already got the ball rolling with a Certified Plans Examiner Class in January and is working on filling out the rest of the year with training for each of our focal points (fire prevention, code enforcement and investigation). We should all look forward to 2017 and a litany of great training opportunities with an exciting topic each month.
Scott Symonds in his new role will assume the membership responsibilities that Scott Hunter held. Scott Symonds is off and running with a plan to organize and get the inspector breakfasts like the one that Scott Hunter was working on in the Nashua, Salem catchment area and up and running in the Seacoast and Keene area. Scott Symonds has plans to get these meetings established as a way for code enforcement officials to network and share in successes and failures. Another initiative from the membership committee will be getting a student chapter up and running at Lakes Region Community College and perhaps Southern Maine Community College as well. More information to come on this
Carl Roediger has been appointed to the Maine IAAI Chapter as a Liaison and he has already started working on a tristate (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire) 2018 training event. More information on this will be coming in the near future and there may be a call for help to pull off the logistics. Carl continues to serve as the vice chair to the NH Fire Sprinkler Coalition as well. In 2016 the NHFSPC held an educational event in Portsmouth for the Eastern States Building Officials with a side by side prop that was constructed by Carl Roediger, Shawn Wheeler from the Portsmouth Fire Department, and I. The three of us volunteered a full day of building and furnishing the cells. We were fortunate to have donated funds from ESBOF, Mark Lemeir from Lubrizol Sprinklers, and Joe Gobbi, The president of Gobbi Plumbing donated his time to outfit the sprinkler. Because of these donations and the efforts and assistance from Tim Travers of NFPA and Dave Lafond of National Fire Sprinkler Association, over fifty building officials were able to see the benefits of residential sprinklers. After this event, I worked with Dave Lafond and successfully received a $5,000 National Fire Protection Association “Bringing Safety Home” grant to be used with the NH Fire Sprinkler Coalition. This money is going to be used to educate communities and secure a trailer to transport the side by side props. These props are available for use by any NH state department. More information is available from Carl or I. We would like to get a few more members on board to help with this initiative.
Rick Wood has been our treasurer for a long time and has been outstanding in paying our bills, processing payments and keeping the society financially sound. Without a strong treasurer like Rick, we would not be the society we are. Rick faithfully provides financial reports for every business meeting and is a true asset to our society.
Brian Johnson has been serving as the communication and public relations chair and has been on top of any needs that arise. Brian has been keeping the Facebook page up to date and trying to make sure that all events that we know of get posted for all to see. Brian has been quick to take care of any task I send him and he is the back up to disseminating information that comes in too late for Cornerstone to send out.
Sean Toomey has been active with the Code Review Board, seeing much debate with the state fire code. For those that are not aware, the 2015 edition of the Life Safety Code NFPA 101 was adopted, but the legislature felt it necessary to have a more thorough review of the Fire Code NFPA 1 and for now we are still enforcing NFPA 1. There are other debates going on and Sean does a great job of keeping us updated on these. There have been several joint meetings with NH Home Builders Association, the Fire Marshal and the NH Fire Chiefs Association and the NH Fire Prevention Society. The meetings have been productive to some extent but there is still a long way to go working with the home builders.
Ed White and Helen Burke have had a yeoman’s task of getting the quarterly dinners going and although attendance has been low, each of the dinner meetings have offered an educational experience, not only from the presentation but the casual conversation and shared opinions of the others in the room. Peter Cutrer did a presentation on Wood Stoves that was well received and John Swanson returned from Minnesota to give us an update on NFPA 72 and the fire alarm code. The next dinner scheduled is the Christmas Party at Paddy’s Bar and Grill in Portsmouth. We look forward to seeing you and your guest at this event. The pool tables will be available for a little competition.
Scott Hunter, while serving as membership chairman was successful in getting our logo cleaned up and turned into membership pins. When you renew your membership you will receive a pin and a certificate. This is the start to a new goal of having an online store to buy NHFPS regalia for the 2017 fiscal year.
Jeff Emanuelson continues to provide legislative updates when they are available. These initiatives are not always easy to define and deciphering the ones that impact our mission is a difficult task. Jeff has been there recognizing those that effect our mission and sharing them as best he can.
Sheryl Nielsen is our liaison to the Fire Marshal and responsible for the fire life safety education and youth fire setter intervention initiative. Sheryl has been dealing with some health concerns and our thoughts and well wishes should be sent her way. There have been several efforts that NHFPS has been involved with, most notably was the presentation of awards to the calendar winners and the securing of a grant from FM Global. We look forward to the renewed effort to get a YFS Symposium going.
As I come to a close in my end of the year review, I am impressed with the professionalism of your board of directors and am constantly in awe with how much each of them give to making this organization a success. I am eager to see the new energy that is in and around the NH Fire Prevention Society and look forward to an even better year in 2017. The three focal points for 2017 are training, membership and communications.
I need to give a shout out to Dee Rainville at Cornerstone Association Management, I would be remiss in not recognizing the voice behind the phone and the information behind the e-mail request. Dee has done a great job at taking care of the society needs, working directly on our behalf with instructors and organizations and board members to get the information out to the membership.
If there is anything I can do for you or if you need more information or want to be a more active participant in the direction of the society, there are plenty of committees and agendas we can move forward with. Your help is always appreciated.
Stephen R. Gallagher, President