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Case Study: The Great Couch Fire
A few years back, when the state's professional fire fighters were in a bind, they brought us in to help out. They were fighting up at the capitol to get flame retardants banned from new furniture sold in Minnesota. What should have been a fairly straight forward and easy pitch was falling on deaf ears with the reporters at the capitol. The counter-intuitive nature of their position seemed like an easy sell. Turns out, the carcinogens in flame retardants are a lot more deadly to the fire fighters than slightly faster burning furniture. With progress stalled, they needed a new script.
Following an off-handed comment from a reporter suggesting that a couch fire would be necessary to get their attention, we decided to give them just that. We set up a living room set at the St. Paul Fire Training Facility and invited to media to come watch us burn it. We had reporters from nearly every outlet in town there to cover the burn. Suddenly this once stalled legislation was given a new breath of air from the media, and by session's end, a deal was struck to start the process of phasing out the sale of furniture with flame retardants in the state of Minnesota.
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