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Nashville, TN FARS Code Adoption Case Study

In 2022, Nashville became the first city in Tennessee to adopt a code requiring Firefighter Air Replenishment Systems (FARS) in certain complex structures where the delivery of air resupply presents significant logistical challenges.

Accelerated Development is Challenging Fire Department Resources

In 2022, Nashville became the first city in Tennessee to adopt a code requiring Firefighter Air Replenishment Systems (FARS) in mid-rise, high-rise and big box structures where the delivery of air resupply presents significant logistical challenges. FARS, a building-installed air standpipe system, is designed to allow firefighters to refill their air bottles in 2 minutes or less under full respiration, greatly reducing their risk of exposure to toxic smoke.

Nashville's path to a FARS code is a model for any city looking to better protect their firefighters. Their code adoption effort started with a demonstration of FARS at Firehouse Expo, held at the Nashville Convention Center. The system made a big impression a group of Nashville firefighters in attendance, among them a member of the training division. They began a push inside the department to consider the system and attracted numerous supporters, including the supervisor in the department's Plan Review Section.
The Training Division staff did extensive research to vet the system, and Codes Division/Plan Review staff determined which system requirements would best to address the safety needs of the city.
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Ultimately

the department identified
the following new construction
projects that would trigger the FARS code:
  • Mid- and high-rise buildings of 75 feet or higher,
  • Any building with 2 or more floors below grade,
  • Horizontal structures of 500,000 square feet or more,
  • Transportation tunnels constructed in accordance with NFPA 130 or 502 that exceed 300’ in length, and
  • Existing buildings as noted above undergo renovation to 50 percent or more of the building or a change in occupancy classification.
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Director Chief William Swann strongly supported the department's due diligence process. When it was complete, fire department leadership reached out to the mayor, city council members, building owners, and developers to communicate the benefits of FARS to public safety and growth management. Ultimately, these often divergent interests came together to support bringing this important firefighter-breathing air technology to Nashville.

With all stakeholders aligned, the Nashville City Council voted to adopt a FARS code.

For Nashville City Council Member Jennifer Frensley Webb, support for FARS was personal. Her son is a Nashville firefighter. "I will have much less sleepless nights," Frensley Webb said. "If you're a true advocate of the people who are saving your lives, I'm going to say, 'Get the system.'"

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The Fireground, Our Mission and You

Firefighter Air:  The Fireground, Our Mission and You - the FDIC 2024 supplement this year. Please take moment to download your copy to explore new science and research, new breathing techniques and training opportunities for air management, tactical operations for high rise and much more.  Please share this information with your department.

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Since

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Our mission

The Firefighter Air Coalition is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization dedicated to advancing firefighter safety through education and training on air management best practices. We promote new air management technologies that enhance firefighter safety and advocate for the implementation of codes requiring these innovative solutions.

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Our vision is for all firefighters to have the tools and expertise they need to operate safely and effectively, protecting themselves and the communities they serve.

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Advocating for Innovations in Air Management Technology Integration

We follow the development of air management technologies and advocate for integration into firefighting best practices. These technologies include portable breathing air, gas detection, fireground and training tools, PPE and more.

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Leadership in the Fire Service

The air on your back is what enables you to do your work and survive. And like every other resource on the fireground, that air needs to be deliberately planned, practiced and managed.

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It's a simple equation

Smoke is a killer. Understanding the enemy is crucial to reduce the chance of illness, disease and death.

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Fire science studies the causes and effects of fire,  fire management, fire behavior, and firefighter health and safety. We will bring you the latest science and research related to firefighter health and safety.

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Fire Service

The Firefighter Air Coalition (FAC) focuses on the need for smart, responsible air management. It’s our passion and our privilege to advance firefighter safety through continued education and training programs and the advancement of important life-saving air supply technology.

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Code Compliance Professionals

The Firefighter Air Coalition advocates for codes requiring proven technologies that improve air management in the fire service and help reduce cancer risk. We support the efforts of code compliance professionals in their code review, adoption, and implementation process.

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Municipal & Legislative Representatives

Codes requiring Firefighter Air Replenishment Systems (FARS) are a growing trend nationwide as cities look to keeping pace with infrastructure development, fire department manpower, reduce risk, and maintain the highest level of public safety.

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FARS Installation & Maintenance Contractors

A Firefighter Air Replenishment System (FARS) is a building installed standpipe system and distribution systems that delivers breathing air to firefighters inside large structures.

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Building Owners

As with most building-installed fire safety systems, the cost of FARS and the on-going testing, certification and maintenance of the system is borne by the builder and the building owner.

Our team is here to answer your questions and help you get started on turning your vision into reality.

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Our Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from the fire service and industry. Each brings a unique set of skills and experience to our organization.

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Mark E. Fessenden

Firefighter Air Coalition President

Rodger Reiswig

Bill Dickson

David Rhodes

Ronald J. Siarnicki

Mark E. Fessenden

Firefighter Air Coalition President
Mark Fessenden is well known throughout the fire protection industry for his passion, dedication, and commitment to innovation. Mark currently serves as director of industry relations for Johnson Controls, Inc. His involvement with the manufacturing of active fire protection systems spans more than 25 years and is focused on the development of new technologies, codes and standards, technical services, and training. He holds three U.S. patents in automatic sprinkler and fire alarm technology. He's a member of numerous National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committees and serves as chairman of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Committee on Professional Development and as vice president of the Wisconsin Chapter of SFPE. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for both the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and the International Fire Suppression Alliance (IFSA). In 2017, Mark received the NFPA Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Award, and in 2021 the SFPE honored him with the Harold E. Nelson Service Award. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from New England Institute of Technology and his MBA from Corban University.

Rodger Reiswig

Rodger Reiswig is a Fellow with Johnson Controls and serves as VP, Industry Relations. With over 37 years in the fire protection industry including training, product support, application design, sales, and management experience. Rodger currently serves on numerous NFPA Technical Committees. Rodger serves as a board member for the Center for Campus Fire Safety. He is the Immediate Past Chair of NEMA’s Life Safety Signaling Section and serves as Vice-Chair on NEMA’s Plenary Codes and Standards Committee. Rodger serves as Chair of the Electronic Security Association’s Codes and Standards Committee. Rodger Co-Chairs the USA delegation for ISO TC21 for Fire Alarm Systems and IEC TC 79 Security Systems and Components Committees. Rodger holds a NICET level IV Fire Alarm Systems Certification, NICET level II Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems and NICET level I Special Hazards Layout Certification. Rodger holds certifications from Two Rivers Technologies as a Master in Telecommunications and from Eastern Technical holds a certification in Electronics Technology and Microprocessor Design. Additionally, Rodger holds both a Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Theology from Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Bill Dickson

Bill Dickson is a 30-year veteran of the high-pressure breathing air industry, currently serving as Vice President of Sales for Bauer Compressors, Inc. (BCI). Combined with his fire industry background, he has more than 40 years of experience in BCI's core market. Bill's innovative thinking has helped generate interest in Bauer's line of high-pressure breathing air products. He is the task group chair for the high-pressure breathing air team on the NFPA-1989 standards committees and participates as a voting member on other standards committees. As a certified open water diver, he holds an advanced open certification. He also likes to mountain bike, kayak, and work out in his rowing shell or on his road bike. He holds a degree in Business with emphasis on Marketing.

David Rhodes

As Editor-in-Chief for Fire & Rescue Media, David Rhodes is helping to shape the national conversation on topics important to the fire service -- from innovation to training to safety and more. He leads the editorial direction of Fire Engineering, Fire Apparatus, Firefighter Nation, and the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS). David is known for his keen eye for talent, amplifying new voices while maintaining partnerships with long-established subject matter experts from the fire service and industry. David also serves as the educational director for FDIC International. His 37-year career includes 17 years spent as battalion chief with the Atlanta (GA) Fire Department. He is a Chief Elder for the Georgia Smoke Diver Program, served as an incident commander for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency – Type III All Hazards Incident Management Team, and was a task force leader for the Georgia Search and Rescue Team. David also served on the FDIC Educational Advisory Board, was a Hands-on-Training coordinator for the FDIC conference, an editorial advisor and author for Fire Engineering and Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, a columnist for Fire Rescue, an adjunct instructor at the Georgia Fire Academy, and an Advisory Board Member Emeritus for Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute.

Ronald J. Siarnicki

Ronald J. Siarnicki is a true visionary and a tireless advocate for firefighter health and safety. His 50-year career includes his service as executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) from 2001 until 2023. In addition to managing the National Memorial Services, construction of the National Memorial Park, and the renovation of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel in Emmitsburg, MD, Ron was the driving force behind the Everyone Goes Home Program, designed to reduce the number of firefighter line-of-duty deaths. Ron started his career in western Pennsylvania as a volunteer firefighter at the Monessen Volunteer Fire Department, following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather. He became a professional firefighter in Prince George’s County, where he rose in the ranks to serve as chief of all 47 fire stations in the county. His many honors include the Fire Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Association of Fire Chiefs' Alan Brunacini Fire Services Executive Safety Award, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs’ President's Award of Distinction, the University of Maryland, University College Distinguished Alumnus, and the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Silver Medal of Valor. Ron earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and served as a UMUC faculty member for the Fire Science Curriculum.
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