State Senator Mike Stack's (D- Philadelphia) recent letter to the editor on Pennlive.com says that the new law in Pennsylvania repealing the mandate for fire sprinklers sends a 'bad message' and sets a dangerous precedent for the future of common sense public safety adoptions.
"More fire fatalities, property damage and more danger. That's what we get from the first bill Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law.
This measure repeals the residential fire sprinkler requirement in the International Residential Code, which requires all newly constructed one- and two-family homes built in Pennsylvania to have a fire sprinkler system installed.
This repeal is dangerous because we know that the majority of structure fires occur in residential homes. About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires, and about 18,300 are injured. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that the combination of working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers reduces the likelihood of death from fire by more than 80 percent. To see the power of sprinklers in action, just visit www.youtube.com and search "Home fire sprinkler demonstration."
Yet the Republican-led Legislature and administration has put a price tag on the lives of homeowners and firefighters, claiming the mandate would be too expensive for homeowners and builders. The new law made a second dangerous change. It requires a two-thirds vote by the Review and Advisory Committee to change the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.
This will create gridlock and prevent adoption of common-sense public safety changes. This law sends a bad message to our first responders, who put their lives on the line every day to protect us."
If you would like to echo Sen. Stack's sentiments in your community, review our advocacy page for tools to encourage your local government to require spinkler installation in all new one- and two-family homes.