At opening session at the 2011 NFPA Conference & Expo that kicked off on Sunday, NFPA President Jim Shannon shared insight into the advocacy campaign to require sprinklers in the construction of all new one- and two-family homes; requirements that are part of both NFPA and ICC codes. “The home builders lobby is doing everything it can to stop us and, as we all know, they have a lot of clout,” he said.
In more than 20 states, home builders have taken the extraordinary action of sponsoring legislation that would block the consideration of home sprinklers by the established code adoption process. “They have had some successes and some of them have been especially disappointing to us,” said Mr. Shannon. “Scottsdale, Arizona, was one of the first communities in America that adopted a mandatory residential sprinkler ordinance and it has been a model for many other communities. But the State of Arizona recently passed a law that will prevent other Arizona communities from following Scottsdale’s lead.”
But Mr. Shannon said it isn’t all bad news. “In January, California became the first state in America to require sprinklers as a standard safety feature for all newly constructed homes.,” he said. In addition, statewide provision for sprinklers have been adopted in Maryland and South Carolina, and the governors of both Montana and Minnesota have recently vetoed proposed anti-sprinkler legislation.
“NFPA will continue fighting these battles arm in arm with the fire service and it is clear that our message is starting to get through,” he said. “We will marshal all of the technical arguments, we will work with our allies, we will tell the stories of those affected by fire and we will persevere until we have achieved our goal of national acceptance of residential sprinklers.”