Quincy, MA - At its 2005 World Fire Safety Conference and Exposition today in Las Vegas, NV, the membership of the NFPA voted to require fire sprinkler systems in all new one and two-family dwellings. The action took place through floor votes in support of amendments to two separate consensus documents - the NFPA 101(r) Life Safety Code and the NFPA 5000(r) Building Code.
Although the action within the Life Safety Code was contested by the National Association of Home Builders, the later action on the Building Code went without challenge. The homebuilders group claimed that the decision of the Committee on Residential Occupancies to mandate residential sprinklers, coming at the end of the public comment period, did not allow sufficient public review. This opposition was met by a stream of support for dwelling sprinklers from various organizational representatives, including the NFPA Fire Service Section, the Center for Campus Firesafety, the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, Underwriters Laboratories, the Washington State Fire Marshal's Office, the American Public Health Association, and the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Project.
NFSA Executive Vice President Russ Fleming applauded the floor action, stating "It was gratifying to see the level of support for a long overdue requirement for sprinklers in dwellings. Many people have worked very hard for decades to show others that sprinklers are the solution to the residential fire problem, and a practical solution." He noted that many NFSA members and staff were among those who stayed to the end of the two-day Technical Committee Reports session to ensure that the committee was supported in its efforts.
Commenting on the news, NFSA President John Viniello noted, "This is truly an historic day in the annals of fire safety. We are pleased to finally see the efforts of the many people who have worked tirelessly for this goal to protect lives and property come to fruition. I want to thank all the members to the many organizations that joined with the NFSA in supporting these changes".
The NFPA Standards Council will meet in July to hear any challenges, and is expected to issue the new editions of NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000 at that time.