Residential Sprinklers Remain Mandatory in International Residential Code

International Code Council (ICC) members voted to retain residential fire sprinkler requirements in the International Residential Code (IRC) during the ICC code development hearings in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 28, 2009. The fire sprinkler provision was added to the IRC at last year’s code development hearings in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but there is an effort underway to remove it.

“This is a great victory for the fire service and we were excited to be part of this important vote,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Executive Director Heather Schafer, who was among several NVFC staff members that were present at the hearings to vote in favor keeping the provision. “Fire sprinklers, combined with smoke alarms, dramatically reduce losses of life and property due to fire. Now the challenge will come at the local level to make sure communities implement fire sprinklers in residential dwellings.”

The NVFC is a strong proponent of residential fire sprinklers. In advance of the hearings, the NVFC urged our members to join ICC so that they would be able to vote to retain residential fire sprinkler requirements in the IRC. The response at the hearings was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the provision, and the crowd broke into applause as the announcement was made that the motion to remove mandatory sprinklers had failed.

“The message is clear,” said Schafer. “Residential sprinklers are an important part of keeping our communities and members of the fire service safe, and we will not let this important requirement for residential dwellings be eliminated.”

Learn more about ICC and the other code changes that were considered during the hearings at

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