Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union 40 in Connecticut created its Fire Life Safety lab two years ago to share it with politicians, fire officials and other Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) union members. Last summer, Local 40 leadership decided to take that a step further by creating a video.

The video not only gives viewers a tour of the lab, but it demonstrates how smoke can be trapped in a building, risking lives. The concept can be a difficult one to describe to those outside the industry, and the video was created as an avenue around that.

“We built it because we wanted to be able to show people exactly what we’re talking about, how important it is for smoke to be moved out of a burning building,” said Dave Roche, Local 40 business manager.

The video can be seen here:

Using their skills to create the lab wasn’t the difficult part — Local 40 wanted to get the design right. While sending the video to other locals helps give a glimpse at their system, they wanted a vehicle to explain to those not in the industry the importance of fire and smoke damper inspections.

“If you know how to build and install a ventilation system in a building, you know how to build this,” said Cliff Richards, training coordinator for Local 40. “We used it to showcase to the people in our state who had the power, who had authority, why these types of dampers are necessary. It’s designed to show you what happens when these dampers fail. It delivers a good visual. That was the intent.”

“We’ve gotten great reactions from the politicians who have seen it — they’re amazed by this thing they never knew existed,” Roche added. “That’s the other key to the video: if you’re testifying for a bill, they can’t always come to see these things live, but you have a video to show.”

Although the video provides good representation, Roche said the doors are open to those from other locals who would like to see it in person.

“It’s been very positive,” Roche said. “A lot of people from other locals called and said they really liked the video. They’re always welcome to come by and see it live if they’re in the area.”


The National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) is a not-for-profit organization jointly funded by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and SMART. NEMIC identifies opportunities, seeking to create or expand employment for SMART members and programs that assist SMACNA contractors, including fire life safety.

For more information on emerging market opportunities in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, contact the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) at call 800-458-6525.

Originally posted on Eye on Sheet Metal.