MA Fire Chiefs Outraged Over State Action on Home Fire Sprinklers

Fire chiefs from across the Commonwealth expressed outrage and disappointment at the recent vote by the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards to defeat a proposal that would have amended the Massachusetts One and Two Family Building Code to allow for home fire sprinklers.

"The BBRS is letting down the people of Massachusetts today and for generations to come by allowing substandard homes to be built in Massachusetts," said Ashburnham Chief Paul Zbikowski, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM) "Not only are they ignoring the minimum level of safety established by model codes, they are putting our firefighters unnecessarily in harms way."

All national model building codes include the requirement for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The BBRS promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth in August and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction. The state fire marshal filed a proposal to allow local communities to be able to set the requirement if they chose to do so which the BBRS defeated at a February 14 meeting.

FCAM joined every other fire service organization in the state to support the inclusion of home fire sprinklers in the MA code.

According to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the risk of dying in a home fire decreases by more than 80 percent with sprinklers and property damage is reduced by 74 percent. Massachusetts statistics show that in the last decade there have been more than 54,000 fires in one- and two-family homes in Massachusetts. These fires injured more than 2,300 firefighters and 1,500 civilians, and caused more than 753 million dollars in property loss. Forty percent of all firefighter injuries happen in one- and two-family homes.

"These staggering statistics aren't just numbers. Behind every digit is a human being that has been tragically effected by fire," said Chief Zbikowski. "Today we have the technological means to do better by adding sprinklers in homes and we should."

For more information, visit www.firesprinklersma.org.

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