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National Association of State Fire Marshals

A strong united voice for fire prevention


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Position in Opposition of Single-Exit Stairway in Multifamily Structures

The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has been made aware of efforts in some local and state jurisdictions where consideration is allowing a single means of egress in multifamily buildings that are currently required by code to be provided with more than one means of egress.

NASFM is very concerned that allowing multifamily structures to be constructed with certain exemptions or modifications contrary to decades of research and investigation validating the need for multiple exits will jeopardize safety. More concerning is legislating and reducing known critical life saving features by circumventing the national code development consensus process. The national code development process provides for equal, non-biased dialogue between all stakeholders to find consensus. Bypassing the code development process jeopardizes life safety of the public, building occupants and first responders.

Proper exiting, much like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, is known to have saved thousands of lives and have been and remain the fundamental building blocks to life safety. Layered fire prevention measures encompassing exiting, fire sprinkler systems, fire rated construction, automatic fire alarm systems, compartmentalization and the many other codes afford a reasonable level of protection.

Remember the codes and standards are minimum requirements. Hazards include fires, explosions, hazardous materials, active shooter, natural disasters and arson to name a few. Specifically, we are asking for consideration of the following risks as it relates to this issue:

1. Providing a single means of egress places residents and firefighters in danger.

2. Many fire departments lack personnel and equipment required to combat these types of fires and

evacuate large numbers of people.

3. Providing access to only a single-entry way for emergency forces negatively impacts rescue and fire suppression efforts especially if the single exit is obstructed, not to mention if people are escaping from that same pathway. This really diminishes the emergency responder’s tactical options.

4. Many of these proposed multifamily dwellings serve our most vulnerable populations and place them at a greater risk by degrading the standard of living and life safety.

5. Nationally developed consensus codes and standards are promulgated based on real data from past tragedies to include fire deaths, injuries and large dollar losses. In addition, modern fire science and technologies are used, all to create layered protection in buildings ensuring and enhancing safety. To take parts and pieces of the code and ignore other parts will have devastating consequences.

NASFM strongly opposes any changes that are below the minimal requirements found in the national consensus codes and standards. To be more specific, we do not support reducing the required number of exit passage ways in multifamily dwellings as required by codes. Finally, we implore all stakeholders to continue to collaborate and find workable solutions that maintain fire and life safety as the highest priority.

(Adopted 3-1-2024 NASFM Board of Directors)

Download Position Paper HERE! 

AFG/SAFER/USFA Reauthorization

In cooperation with the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and every other National Fire Organization, a campaign has been launched to reauthorize funding at the federal level to continue important grants that serve the fire service. We are at a tipping point with AFG/SAFER/USFA reauthorization and we need to build a wave of pressure to convince Congress to enact the legislation before the programs expire on September 30th. The time to act is NOW. We need everyone to keep pushing until this passes.

Unless action is taken NOW to save AFG and SAFER, they will EXPIRE. The grant programs face a statutory sunset on September 30, 2024 -- just a few months from now. The national fire and emergency services organizations have collectively been working hard to enact the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S.870/H.R.4090), which would reauthorize AFG, SAFER, and the U.S. Fire Administration, but WE NEED YOUR HELPPlease call or write your Federal Representatives and Senators todayClick here for more information on how to contact your members of Congress, as well as to get talking points for calls, background on how these grants have assisted the fire service and fire marshal offices, and sample letters to send via email.

NASFM has taken steps to join the collective efforts with other national organizations and here is the letter being send on behalf of NASFM (LINK)

Action Needed from State Fire Marshals and local fire officials in your state:

1.    DO THIS TODAY PLEASE: Letters from local, state and national organizations make a difference.  the more letters and emails written, the better. (copy and paste the attached drafts from the links below if you want to): please write and send letters from your organizations (to congressional representatives where you have local, regional, or state operations. Sample letters to Senators and Representatives are attached HERE with instructions and blank spaces to fill in

Sample SENATE Letter HERE! Sample HOUSE Letter HERE! Instructions for Making a Call to Congress HERE! 

2.    DO THIS TODAY PLEASE: Alert your state fire service to Take Action Please have them write/call their members of Congress where they live and work. 

For More information and talking points, go to the Congressional Fire Service Institute website. (HERE) 

Information is provided on the Background of Safer and AFG. 

The IAFC, IFFF, and NVFC Voter Voice Links are also available for contacting your Congress member

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