NYACS Laments 'Foam Bath of Misinformation' from Fire Equipment Dealers

ALBANY, NY (01/18/2016)(readMedia)-- New York's convenience store operators today dismissed the fire equipment industry's new "Safe at the Pump" campaign as "a foam bath of misinformation."

The New York State Association of Fire Equipment Companies announced it was launched a drive "to educate all New Yorkers about the fact that a little known state bureaucracy has recommended the elimination of the requirement that all gas stations must have a fire suppression system in place above their gas pumps."

"That's misleading, and they know it," said Jim Calvin, President of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. "The Code Council proposed lifting the mandate only for those gas stations that are newly built or extensively renovated to meet the new standards in the 2015 International Fire Code. The fire suppression requirement would still apply to all remaining stations, including the Long Island location they referenced in their press release. So why claim we're all gonna die?"

"Let's be frank," said Calvin. "Selling, servicing, inspecting and recharging gas station fire suppression systems is a lucrative business for the equipment dealers. That's what this fuss is all about. Improvements in gas pump safety are threatening their gravy train, and rather than adapt, they're trying to reverse the policy by scaring the public."

"NYSAFEC's histrionics notwithstanding, the state Code Council didn't go rogue here," Calvin continued. "After years of due deliberation, they adopted the provisions of the 2015 International Fire Code, which had been developed by America's top engineers and safety professionals based on science, rather than self-interest."

Calvin said convenience stores care about the safety of their customers and employees, "but the truth is the greater danger is from malfunctioning fire suppression systems. Reputable retailers in all corners of the state told the state Code Council they can never recall their fire suppression systems activating for the purpose of quelling a gas-pump fire, yet every single year, multiple times, these systems discharge accidentally and without notice.

"When such a malfunction occurs, it's messy, costly, and dangerous – for both the gas station owner and unsuspecting fuel customers who happen to be at the pump and get bathed in white foam powder," Calvin explained. "Cars get stained, clothing ruined, and nerves frayed. Worse, motorists panic and try to pull away, sometimes striking pedestrians or other cars. That's the equipment dealers' idea of safe at the pump."