NFPA President Urges Governors, Lawmakers to Veto Anti-Sprinkler Bills

In recent letters to the governors of Florida and Georgia, and to members of the New Hampshire Senate, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) President Jim Shannon is calling for the rejection of bills that would prohibit the inclusion of home fire sprinkler requirements.

“In 2006, three major NFPA codes were revised to include the requirement for home fire sprinklers in new construction of one- and two-family dwellings,” he wrote. “In 2008, the International Code Council voted to add a similar provision to the 2009 edition of International Residential Code. This occurred through a well-established process involving both public and private entities and cannot be influenced by any single special interest group. These codes identify the minimum standards of safety to protect people in their homes.”

Mr. Shannon wrote that these anti-sprinkler bills ignore the success of a proven safety technology. “Any proposal that removes this requirement from the code reduces the established minimum standards of safety in one- and two-family homes and equates to substandard housing,” he said.

Encourage your elected officials to reject anti-sprinkler legislation, and reach out to safety advocates in your state to make them aware of this threat. Visit our www.nfpa.org for more information and resources.

Saying that fire service leaders are in a unique position to advocate for home fire sprinklers, the president of the International Fire Chiefs Association (IAFC) is urging IAFC members to support the Fire Sprinkler Initiative’s efforts to require sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes. “Nationwide, once every three hours someone is fatally injured in a home fire,” says Chief Jeffrey Johnson of the Tualatin Valley (OR) Fire & Rescue. He adds that sprinklers also help protect firefighters. “Sixty-two percent of fireground firefighter deaths occur in residences and the vast majority of the residential firefighter deaths happen in one- and two-family homes,” he says.

Firefighters around the country are working to educate lawmakers, homebuilders, and consumers about the life-saving potential of home fire sprinklers. This week, dozens of South Carolina firefighters attended a state senate hearing to oppose a bill that would remove sprinkler requirements from the state building code. And as California moves toward implementing sprinkler requirements for new construction next January, the Roseville (CA) Fire Department has devoted a section of its Web site to educating homebuilders about sprinklers.

The Phoenix Society , a nonprofit organization that empowers people affected by burn injuries, held an advocacy training at the American Burn Association meeting in March. Survivors, burn care professionals, and firefighters attended the session, sponsored by Tyco International, which was led by burn survivor and media expert Brad Phillips. Participants learned about attracting media attention, being a good spokesperson, and how advocating for home fire sprinklers can save lives, prevent injuries, and protect property.

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