Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighter Training

Orgs Sign Historical Agreement to Advance Residential Fire Sprinklers

More than 3,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives each year to fires and 84% of those who die do so in their home. While smoke alarms provide an early warning signal of smoke or fire, sprinklers installed in ceilings respond to fires while they are still small, controlling the spread of deadly heat, flames and toxic smoke, as well as saving valuable property. The 2009 International Residential Code® (IRC) provides a provision that requires newly constructed one- and two-family houses to include the installation of life-saving fire sprinkler systems, designed to dramatically reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the home caused by fires.

To address the huge upswing in demand for professionals who are accredited to install residential fire sprinkler systems driven by these new regulations, The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), the International Code Council (ICC), the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding during Fire Rescue International in Chicago, Illinois on August 27, 2010, to jointly advance and promote the mutual interest of fire protection safety and accreditation.  

Supported by its partners, the CPSE will soon begin forming a technical committee with broad based representation to develop the criteria and structure for an accreditation for professional dwelling fire sprinkler installers.  The successful work of this technical committee will lead to the creation of a new Commission for the Accreditation for Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractors. Using the CPSE accreditation model, many stakeholders will be brought together to form this new commission to jointly develop programs for accreditation, leveraging their collective knowledge, provisions, and expertise.

The timing of this agreement couldn’t be better: approved fire sprinkler systems will be required in all one- and two-family dwellings constructed after the 2009 IRC is adopted or on January 1, 2011, whichever is later. 

While there are professionals who are well trained to install commercial fire sprinklers, the demand for qualified residential sprinkler contractors is growing at a tremendous rate.  Given the dependence on the life-saving benefits of fire sprinklers in residential properties, it is imperative that there is a system to ensure quality installation.

Once this program is launched, and the Commission has been formalized and becomes active, the Accredited Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractor program will provide not only the public a greater peace of mind but also local AHJs with the confidence that all dwelling fire sprinkler installations are performed by qualified companies.

The International Code Council (ICC) publishes building safety, energy efficiency and fire prevention codes that are used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the I-Codes based on their outstanding quality. or visit www.iccsafe.org.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) is dedicated to helping local public safety agencies worldwide to streamline and improve services to their communities. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides a host of programs, including accreditation and education programs for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations. Visit publicsafetyexcellence.org.

Established in 1905, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) is the voice of the fire sprinkler industry. NFSA leads the drive to get life-saving fire sprinklers into all buildings, provides support and resources for its members—fire sprinkler contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, and educates authorities having jurisdiction of fire control matters. Headquartered in Patterson, N.Y., NFSA has regional operations offices nationwide. Visit www.nfsa.org.

The American Fire Sprinkler Association, (AFSA) is a non-profit, international association representing open shop fire sprinkler contractors, dedicated to the educational advancement of its members and promotion of the use of automatic fire sprinkler systems. AFSA was organized in 1981 to provide the open shop fire sprinkler contractor with training, consulting, communication, representation and many more services, all of which have expanded over its existence. Visit www.firesprinkler.org.