Chief Paul J. Zbikowski, president, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, speaks at the Massachusetts press conference.
Against the backdrop of the firefighters memorial at the Massachusetts State House, NFPA President James M. Shannon and representatives of every major fire service organization in the state came together to protest against the new building code in Massachusetts.
All national model building codes include the requirement for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in August and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction.
“Your risk of dying in a home fire decreases by more than 80 percent with sprinklers and property damage is reduced by 74 percent” said Shannon. “By allowing substandard housing to be built in Massachusetts, the BBRS puts firefighters and citizens at unnecessary risk. Their action should be reversed.”
According to Shannon, in the last decade, there have been more than 54,000 fires in one- and two-family homes in Massachusetts. These fires injured more than 2,300 firefighters and 1,500 civilians, and caused more than 753 million dollars in property loss. Forty percent of all firefighter injuries happen in one- and two-family homes.
Preceding a BBRS hearing, representatives from Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association and Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts participated in the press conference and voiced their strong unanimous support for fire sprinklers. Speaking for the various organizatons were:
Chief Paul J. Zbikowski, president, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts
Chief Kevin Gallagher, member, Board of Building Regulations and Standards
Edward A. Kelly, president, Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts
Thomas Burnett, president, Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association
Captain Rick Tustin, president, Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts, fire prevention officer, Winchester Fire Department
Over 400 communities in the U.S. now require home sprinklers. California, Maryland and South Carolina have adopted the provision statewide.
Additional information can be found at www.firesprinklersma.org.