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Residential Fire Sprinkler Battle Still Ablaze

Residential Fire Sprinkler Battle Still Ablaze


Getting home fire sprinklers added to the 2009 International Residential Code wasn’t easy. Opponents are still fighting to remove that requirement from the code, and NFPA and its allies have readied their arguments for hearings next month.

Code development hearings of the International Code Council set for Oct. 24-31 and Nov. 4-11 at a Hilton hotel in Baltimore will include the latest bout between advocates of residential fire sprinklers and their foes, notably the National Association of Home Builders. Four proposals to remove the requirement for home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes from the 2009 International Residential Code will be considered at those hearings.

NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Coalition has prepared seven pages of responses to the proposals, which are featured on pages 96-100 of this document. NFPA’s coalition says the arguments by sprinkler opponents are based on false statements and premises or misleading statements of the benefits sprinklers offer and their potential drawbacks. “The fact is that home fire sprinklers save lives and protect property from destruction by responding quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire. In fact, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present. Sprinklers also reduce the average property loss by about 71 percent per fire,” according to the coalition.

NFPA urges ICC members to attend the hearings and vote no on the anti-sprinkler proposals.

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2 Responses to “Residential Fire Sprinkler Battle Still Ablaze”

  1. Hello:
    Thanks for covering this very important issue. I just wanted to add a small correction to the information above. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to home fire sprinkler education and does not participate in lobbying or advocacy.

    The response to the recommended changes mentioned above is NFPA’s official position. NFPA advocates for the home fire sprinkler requirement through the Fire Sprinkler Initiative:

    Maria Figueroa
    Regional Manager
    NFPA Fire Prevention Field Office

  2. Yes! I really want to know why are residential sprinkler systems are such a “big” debate? THERE IS NO DEBATE! RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLER SYSTEMS SAVE LIVES and PROPERTY! Is it that the public is a “afraid” or “fear” this type of technology? This reminds me of the same “attitude” in the 1970’s with smoke detectors, and guess what! States across the United States MANDATED them throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Starting in 1974,Yes! 1974 the state of California and Michigan had mandated them in there “new” construction!

    Just to let you know a state does have a “obligation” to protect its citizens from harm and when a state requires or mandates residential sprinkler systems in “new” residential construction the “liability” and “potential” for a state to be sued and in some cases held “criminally liable” YES! a state CAN BE HELD “LIABLE” in a lawsuit if due to the fact that a homebuilder is “licensed” by the state in which they are building in and at which point the “victim” or “victims family” would not only sue the homebuilder, but sue the city, town and state as well in a lawsuit.

    With residential sprinklers the “liability” and threat of a liability lawsuit is “extinguished”.
    I had over the last year and one-half worked to introduce a “proposal” on this issue in the State of Texas for the 81’st Legislative Session for the State of Texas and guess what! My “law” was passed and became law (as I had origianlly designed)on September 1, 2009 and becomes effective on June 1, 2010.

    Plus! If you think about it residential sprinkler systems “cost” alot less to install than a funeral service for one family member. The “average” funeral service costs about $4,000 to $8,000 for one person plus other “fees” such as “plot fees” etc, etc,.

    So do the math! Residential sprinkler systems save lives, property, and “funeral” costs. I do not mean to “vague”, but I want to drive the “point” across to you.

    Yours Truly,
    Ted H. GarlickIII
    San Antonio, Texas

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Ryan J. Smith