New York Fire Sprinkler Council Raises Funds for Burn Victims

The Mechanical Contractors Association of New York (MCA) announced it has raised $34,000 for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, which provides crucial support for research, education, and prevention, as well as medical care for burn victims.

NYFSC Raises Funds

At its November membership meeting, MCA President Michael Russo, Board member Timothy Bowe, and Steamfitting Industry Promotion Fund Chairman James Botto presented a check to the Foundation on behalf of MCA’s New York Fire Sprinkler Council, which was recently created to further spread awareness of the importance of fire suppression systems in saving lives and protecting property. “The work of the Foundation has significantly improved the lives of bum survivors and we are honored to support their efforts,” said Bowe.

“When you find an organization like the Burn Center Foundation that does such incredible work and is so closely aligned with our industry’s mission„ they become the obvious choice for our Association to give back to,” added Russo.

Fire sprinkler contractors have been raising funds for the Foundation since 2000, and total industry contributions have now reached more than $667,000. The MCA’s Steamfitting Industry Promotion Fund alone has contributed $147,500 over the past 16 years, in addition to annual donations by individual MCA members and suppliers.

The Burn Center Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the advancement of quality burn care, research, prevention, and education. The primary beneficiary of the Foundation is the New YorkPresbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, the largest and busiest center of burn care in the nation.

During the MCA meeting, New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Board members, firefighter Ralph Longo, and firefighter Andrew Marrotta gave a presentation about the outstanding work performed by both the Foundation and the staff of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center. Following the presentation, nearly $5,000 additional funds were pledged by industry members in attendance.

Foundation Executive Director Gwen Curran, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and Director of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center Dr. James Gallagher, MD, FACS, Burn Center Patient Care Director Jamie Heifernan, and Research Nurse Angela Rabbit were also on hand to accept the donation.

The New York Fire Sprinkler Council (NYFSC) is a newly created division of the MCA that is dedicated to educating communities and public officials of the vital role of fire sprinklers in protecting lives and property. Its mission is to increase awareness about the lifesaving benefits of fire sprinklers and provide advice to public agencies on technical matters related to the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of these The MCA is an organization of the union Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Contracting industry in New York City and Long Island.

The MCA is designed to promote the welfare and development of the heating, piping, air conditioning, and fire suppression industry. Since 1885, the MCA has provided a place for contractors to come together and assist each other in identifying emerging technologies, addressing labor issues effectively, and improving business practices.


Parents, Students Must Call for College Dorms to Have Fire Sprinklers

January is a time when high school seniors begin to apply for college. As parents consider their options, their children’s safety is of the highest priority. Regional colleges and universities prioritizing the fire safety of New York’s 1.2 million college students and faculty should be commended.

Water Based Fire Sprinkler Head

Fordham, New York University, Columbia, Cornell and St. John’s are among the higher education institutions that have taken proactive steps to protect student-residents by installing fire sprinkler systems in new and existing dormitories. This is so important because, according to Campus Firewatch, there are approximately 3,810 campus housing fires across the U.S. each year.

Perhaps the most significant effort increasing fire safety awareness in the Empire State is the Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act. The 2013 law, enacted after a fatal 2012 Marist College fire where three students died, requires New York public and private colleges to at least inform students and their families whether college-owned and operated housing is protected with sprinklers.

Likewise in 2000, a Seton Hall University dormitory fire in South Orange, N.J., killed three and injured 58 more students. That year New Jersey became the first state to pass legislation requiring both on- and off-campus school residence halls to be retrofitted with fire sprinklers. The state has not recorded any campus fire fatalities since.

Wyoming, Delaware, Illinois and Wisconsin have all joined New Jersey in requiring sprinklers in all new and existing college dormitories.

The majority of campus housing fires in the U.S. (88 percent) begin in the kitchen as young adults experiment with cooking, often for the first time. Statistics also show that U.S. college students are more prone to overload electrical sockets, burn candles and experiment with smoking. These are among the reasons why over 3,780 fires were ignited in dormitories, Greek housing and student barracks in 2011, up from 2,490 in 1983, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Although increased college attendance may contribute to those figures, a 52 percent jump in fires is a problem that cannot go unaddressed.

What’s more, it’s simply inexcusable that campus-related fires have taken 170 innocent young lives since 2000.

According to the NFPA, the risk of dying in a fire is cut by about one-third when working smoke alarms are present. When a water-based fire sprinkler system is installed in an apartment building or dorm, the rate of death is 83 percent lower and average property loss is reduced by 70 percent.

As the number of college fires rise, the installation of sprinkler systems is more important than ever. Due to increased use of petroleum-based compounds and synthetics in modern furnishings, today’s fires are more toxic, burn hotter and 800 percent faster than even those 30 years ago.

Fire suppression technology can now react within just seconds of recognizing changes in atmosphere and temperature. Without sprinkler protection, trapped victims may have as little as three minutes to escape before the fire accelerates to a flashover state, reaching and exceeding temperatures of 2,000°F in mere minutes. A well designed, installed, tested, inspected and maintained sprinkler system will last for many decades, so it’s a long term investment in protecting both lives and property.

It’s time that fire sprinklers are required in each and every one of New York’s 248 higher education institutions. Protecting the lives and property of our student population should be a first priority. If your child is a college student living without sprinklers, urge his or her institution to consider fire sprinkler protection. Let us also call on our legislators to take the lead in requiring fire sprinkler protection in all student population housing. Waiting to take action only guarantees another tragedy.

Tony Saporito is the Executive Vice President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

STORY SOURCE: http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/parents_students_must_call_for_college_dorms_to_have_fire_sprinklers


MCA and Plumbing Foundation Join Forces to Promote Safe Construction

Tony Saporito of the MCA of New York, Inc and Stewart O’Brien of the Plumbing Foundation of NY have co-authored a piece entitled A Dangerous Lower Standard for the Commercial Observer detailing the associations’ efforts on behalf of licensed construction in the Fire Suppression and Plumbing industries.

Architectural Plans Modular Construction

Recent code interpretations by the NYC Dept. of Buildings have allowed owners to circumvent the licensing requirement when building modular construction. Innovation that promotes efficiency is always welcomed in the construction industry, but it should not come at the expense of safety.

Would you want your children and family to occupy a building whose critical life safety systems were put in place by an untrained, unlicensed worker? Or what if the hospital or nursing home your loved one was a patient in had a fire?

The NYC Building Code requires that plumbing work, including connections to domestic water supply, gas piping, medical lines, and back-flow devices in medical facilities, be performed by a licensed firm.  Similarly the Building Code also requires that fire suppression systems that automatically detect and then control, suppress, or extinguish fires, helping prevent fatal accidents, only be installed by licensed fire suppression contractors. The obvious reason is safety.

Licensed master plumbers and mechanical contracting firms are trained and qualified to ensure the city’s gas and steam piping are properly welded, so that the public is protected from leaks that lead to explosions. Does it make any sense to have two regulatory systems—one that requires certain buildings to be constructed using licensed firms and other buildings that can be constructed using unlicensed people?

Read the full article A Dangerous Lower Standard.


MCA and Local 638 Sign Residential Agreements

We are pleased to announce that Local 638 and MCA have signed two new Supplements to the United Association National Agreement for Residential Construction. One covers up to 12 Stories and 200,000 square feet and one covers up to 30 stories residential and up to 40 stories hospitality and 300,000 square feet.

30 Stories Residential Agreement

Local 638 will utilize and administer use of their Target Fund for the up to 30 stories and Hospitality up to 40 stories supplement, and contractors should contact Local 638 to inquire about the Target Fund procedure. All contractors must submit the “Notice of Intent to Use Local Union 638 Addendum to the United Association Residential Agreement” Form, for all work bid under these supplements. Additionally, contractors should contact the Steamfitters Industry Fund Office to discuss the proper remittance form for work under the supplements.

These supplements will assist our industry in an effort to recapture and increase market share in the Residential Market that has been lost to non-union forces.

We believe that an aggressive approach towards bidding the work that the supplements cover will yield great benefits for signatory contractors and Local 638. We encourage you to bid those projects and make every effort to win back this market.



We are proud to announce the 2014-2017 TRADE AGREEMENT Between ENTERPRISE ASSOCIATION LOCAL UNION 638. Steam, Hot Water, Hydraulic, Sprinkler, Pneumatic Tube, Ice Machine and General Pipe Fitters of New York and Vicinity, Local Union No. 638 of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada and MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, INC. Effective July 1, 2014 Terminates June 30, 2017.

Trade Agreement Shaking Hands

The Association and Employers hereby recognize Steamfitters’ Local Union 638 of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative for all their employees performing any work covered by this Agreement and employed by the employer in the geographical jurisdiction of the Enterprise Association, namely, the City of New York, Nassau and Suffolk counties and all of Long Island. This Agreement together with its Working Rules shall govern all steamfitting work performed under this Agreement by any contractor party to or bound by and subject to this Agreement within the trade jurisdiction as set forth herein.

Download the 2014-2017 TRADE AGREEMENT


Executive Vice President Anthony Saporito Writes for Daily News

The following article entitled “New York leads the way in high rise fire safety” appeared in the January 21, 2013 issue of the New York Daily News.

Forty years ago this month, New York City implemented one of the most important pieces of legislation in building safety history. Local Law 5, passed on Jan. 18, 1973, required that existing high-rise office buildings more than 100 feet in feet in height to be equipped with stair pressurization and compartmentalization or a sprinkler system along with several other fire safety provisions.

New York City had suffered two major office building fires in 1970 that killed five people and injured dozens, and City Council was forced to take action. Since the legislation passed, New York City has experienced a tremendous drop in fire fatalities from 295 in 1973 to 58 last year, which was announced by Mayor Bloomberg as a record low in our city’s history. The landmark sprinkler legislation has subsequently been copied by municipalities around the country.

Fire sprinklers are one of the most important components of a building, but most people don’t understand how they operate.

Hollywood producers love towering infernos and promote inaccurate depictions on how fires grow and sprinkler systems work The truth is sprinkler systems are sophisticated units that don’t just deploy; they are engineered, built and maintained by mechanical contractors and steamfitters who specialize in fire suppression. It’ s not merely a jumble of pipes and sprinkler heads attached to a water source.

Fire safety, however, wasn’t always on the minds of property owners, and it wasn’t until the late 1800s that systems were developed to keep manufacturing facilities from burning down.

In the days before electricity, candles and kerosene lanterns lit factories; combustibles, particularly wood dust, were omnipresent, and buildings were routinely lost to flames. The earliest Sre suppression systems were not designed to save lives, but rather to prevent inventory and property loss.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan in 1911, which killed more than 140 workers, marked a turning point in America about the need for fire safety standards. Major insurance companies began to offer building owners reductions in insurance premiums for installing sprinklers. Municipalities acknowledged fire could threaten its property tax base and began adding fire safety measures to building codes.

Tragedies are inevitably the driving force behind building construction and fire code changes. Simply put: when people die in fires, new laws are written, and collectively the mechanical contracting industry responds with the most cost effective protection for the new requirements. New York City has the unfoxtunate distinction of being a national leader when it comes to updating fire codes.

After Local Law 5 paused, another fire tragedy that killed seven people seven people at the Blue Angel nightclub forced legislators to mandate that cabarets have fire sprinklers under Local Law 41.

A high-rise residential fire in 1998 that left four New Yorkers dead of smoke inhalation led to the passage of Local Law 10, which mandated that newly constructed multi-family dwellings with three or more units be protected with fire sprinklers.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, New York City passed Local Law 26, which required existing commercial buildings to be retrofitted with fire suppression systems. New York City also requires fire suppression contractors to be licensed.

Suppression systems are varied, and there are new technologies emerging regularly to battle today’s fires.

In other budding industrial economies, building and fire safety requirements are lax. A recent factory fire in Pakistan, for instance, killed nearly 300 people. The lessons for us in the United States are clear: well-maintained fire suppression systems are the best and most efficient way to protect life and property.

New York is growing, and recent population projections indicate that our city will gain another million people in the coming two decades. As our population ages, future code enhancements are likely to focus on nursing homes, senior centers, and other facilities that cater to the elderly. Recent Census estimates indicated that our country will have 72 million seniors by 2030.

Sprinklers along with greater installation of smoke detectors, fire alarms and elevator recall mechanisms, have contributed greatly to the decline of fire-related fatalities in New York City. New York’s Mechanical Contractors and our colleagues at Steamfitters Local 638 are meeting the challenge and helping protect the next generation of buildings with effective fire suppression systems. Tony Saporito is Executive Vice President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

IMAGE SOURCE: By Unknownhttp://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/primary/photosIllustrations/slideshow.html?image_id=746&sec_id=3#screen, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14685005

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