Representatives of fire departments from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania came to the state house in Harrisburg to show their support for the PA Uniform Construction Code which includes a requirment for home fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes. The code went into effect January 1, 2011 but is now threatened by a bill (HB 377) which would prohibit the PA Department of Labor and Industry from implementing updated safety codes.
Pennsylvania is one of four states that have adopted the requirement for sprinklers in new one and two family homes.
The US Fire Adminstration, the National Fire Protection Association, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and Common Voices commended the Pennsylvania State Legislature for moving forward with the fire sprinkler requirement calling it a significant advancement toward reducing proerty damage and preventing death and injury to citizens and firefighters. They also warned of the deadly consequences of voting to overturn the code requirement.
One by one speakers talked about the benefits of sprinklers saying they are the most effective way to control or extinguish a fire, saving lives and minimizing property damage. Speakers talked about the relative cost ($1.61 per sprinklered square foot according to a Fire Protection Research Foundation study of 10 communities with sprinkler requirements)compared to the cost of a life or the cost of medical care for burn survivors. They also spoke of the importance of the code process that resulted in the requirement. All model codes now require sprinklers in new one and two family homes.
Today's event was coordinated by the PA Residential Sprinkler Coalition. They urged firefighters in Pennsylvania to act on this important fire and firefighter safety issue by contacting their legislator. Go to www.pesla.org to access sample letters and email contact for your legislator.