Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighter Training

Anti-sprinkler bill defeated in Illinois

A statewide legislative threat that would have eliminated the ability of local communities to adopt or enforce requirements for home fire sprinklers has been defeated in Illinois. The Illinois bill died in recent days, but sprinkler opponents continue to push similar anti-sprinkler legislation in several other states.

Despite the fact that all major safety codes now call for the installation of fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes, sprinkler opponents want to prevent the adoption of these codes at the local level. The anti-sprinkler legislation threatens to put lives at stake.

“These anti-sprinkler bills have been designed to take a step backward in public safety,” says Jim Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “The bills ignore the success of a proven technology and inappropriately take away a community’s ability to protect its citizens with this life-saving equipment. The fire service and other sprinkler advocates worked to defeat this safety threat in Illinois, but the threat of anti-sprinkler bills continues to be very real in other states.”

The legislation defeated in the Illinois Senate was brought down through teamwork and grassroots coordination. A dedicated group of supporters let their voices be heard with phone calls, letters to officials and testimony at a committee meeting. The Illinois bill was defeated by a 6-to-3 vote in committee.

“With the vast majority of the fire deaths in this country occurring in homes, it is unconscionable for anyone to stand in the way of efforts to save lives,” added Shannon. According to NFPA, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut by approximately 80 percent with home sprinklers.

In response to the continued legislative threat, NFPA is making available important information regarding the anti-sprinkler bills and the life-saving effect of sprinklers. Home fire sprinkler advocates can access that information through the Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home Web site (National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This new, free resource is a source of information and contains tools needed to fight for sprinklers in homes. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a project of NFPA, is designed to give supporters the resources they need to communicate the need for home fire sprinklers.