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2010

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has imposed a freeze on all new regulations including the home fire sprinkler requirement.

David Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board weighs in on the issue with a recent commentary. According to Kurasz, fire safety professionals fear that “there are special interests at work, otherwise this regulation would not have been included in the freeze. If this is the case, the residents of New Jersey should not become victims”.

- Maria Figueroa

FSInewsMarch2010 The March issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative Update, our monthly e-newsletter, has hit the streets. (Read the issue or subscribe today - it's easy and free!)

In this issue, we report how South Carolina and Kansas have made gains in their efforts to equip all new homes with fire sprinklers, and provide an update on how sprinkler opponents continue their fight to restrict a community's ability to make its own decision about model safety codes for new construction. We also provide a link to the new NFPA report on sprinklers and other automatic fire extinguishing equipment. Also read about a New Jersey firefighter who is installing sprinklers in his new home.

Read the issue.

- Mike Hazell

Check out "The Solution", a new blog created for members of the fire service who are interested in promoting home fire sprinklers. "We’re starting an exciting new chapter in home fire sprinkler education and it’s all about the fire service," says Peg Paul, Communications Manager for the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and the leading resource for independent, noncommercial information about residential fire sprinklers. "The blog will help us get information to the fire service community faster and allow members to share their stories."

Peg Paul

A field advocates’ “tongue in cheek” statement explains how </span><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; COLOR: black; LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; mso-fareast-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial">the homebuilders were organizing to fight new zoning and code requirements, including the installation of smoke detectors, because of the increased costs to homes (10%!).

According to the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition the ICC residential code will retain fire sprinklers for new homes in its 2012 edidion. They report that the final action hearing agenda has been released and there were no public comments challenging the requirement. This means that according to ICC regulations the home fire sprinkler requirement in the code “will not be subject to debate at ICC's final action hearing in Dallas in May.”

For complete information visit the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition website: http://www.ircfiresprinkler.org/

Maria Figueroa

by Azarang (Ozzie) Mirkhah
in Firehouse.com

"Well, there we go again. Just as they did last year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has once gain increased their systematic behind the scene maneuverings at the state legislative levels in many states, demanding that the legislatures pass laws that prohibit all jurisdictions from enforcing the requirement for installation of residential fire sprinklers in all new homes.

As you know, the fire prevention proponents and the fire service representatives worked tirelessly for a couple of decades to finally succeed in adopting the requirement for installation of the residential fire sprinkler systems in all new homes.

We were defeated many times before due to the strong influence of the NAHB in the building construction code development process. Yet, we continued to work hard through the formal process, and we were finally able to obtain the 2/3 majority of the votes during the International Code Council's (ICC) hearings in Minneapolis, back in September of 2008.

Since then, NAHB has done all that they could, to discredit the ICC process, the fire service participation in that process, and to derail our success in enhancing the safety of our communities. They gathered all their strength to confront us once again in the ICC's code hearing in Baltimore last October. But with strong fire service participation, we obtained an overwhelming majority and were able to soundly defeat their attempts.

And now once again, we must participate at the ICC's Final Action Code Hearing in Dallas (May 14-23, 2010) to defend our success and vote to maintain the residential fire sprinklers requirements in the 2012 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC)."

Read Ozzie's entire article on Firehouse.com.

Yesterday, March 10, 2010, Commonwealth Court Judge Johnny J. Butler denied the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) request for a preliminary injunction enjoining the Department from enforcing its regulation adopting the 2009 International Codes.  The result of this decision is that the 2009 ICC Codes remain in effect in Pennsylvania, including the requirement of fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family homes and townhomes.

The case will proceed from here but developments are not expected in the short term. Until final resolution of the case the PA UCC remains in full force as currently adopted, including all 2009 ICC code provisions.

Maria FIgueroa

By Barbara S. Williams, Editor Emeritus
The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

"Advocates of a life-saving fire sprinkler mandate for new residential construction in South Carolina won a critical, very hard-fought battle last week. What's now in question is whether S.C. lawmakers will allow that victory to stick. Unfortunately, an effort to overrule that win already is under way in the Statehouse.

According to accounts, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 heard some five hours of pro and con testimony before Wednesday's 6-3 decision by the S.C. Building Codes Council to adopt the national code provision that includes the mandate.

S.C. sprinkler advocates know from years of experience on the national level just how hard it is to overcome the opposition of the homebuilders' powerful lobby. In 2008, the International Code Council's convention delegates finally approved the residential sprinkler mandate, with a 2011 effective date. Fortunately, subsequent attempts by the homebuilders' lobby to undo that decision have failed. But the 46 states that adhere to the ICC codes also have to approve the change, which triggered a lengthy adoption process in this state."

Read the entire article.

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