On Friday, April 11th, Congressman Curt Weldon and Congressman Jim Langevin introduced H.R. 1824, legislation to provide tax incentives for the retrofit of automatic sprinkler systems in commercial buildings. The legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to classify automatic fire sprinklers as a five-year property for purposes of depreciation. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Currently the installation cost of these expensive systems prohibits many business owners from installing them. This legislation, while not mandating the installation of automatic fire sprinklers, will make it more affordable for businesses to install these systems, increasing fire safety.
The legislation was written with the cooperation of representatives from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the American Fire Sprinkler Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and the National Volunteer Fire Council. At its semi-annual meeting in October of 2002, the CFSI National Advisory Committee adopted a resolution supporting the introduction of legislation to provide tax relief for the installation of fire sprinklers in residential and commercial buildings
Congressman Langevin, whose congressional district includes Warwick, RI where the Station nightclub fire occurred, introduced a resolution in Congress last month to honor the victims and survivors of the fire and to urge increased fire safety in non-residential buildings. The resolution passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 421-0 on March 12th. The Senate approved the resolution by unanimous consent of March 13th.