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The state legislatures are in session and opponents of home fire sprinklers have wasted no time in convincing legislators to introduce bills in several states that would prohibit jurisdictions from including one- and two-family dwelling fire sprinkler requirements in the adopted codes.

In Colorado, HB12-081 prohibits local jurisdictions from requiring installation of fire sprinklers in single family dwellings. It has been assigned to the Local Government Committee. The bill does not, currently, have a companion in the senate. 

In Hawaii, SB2397 and its companion bill HB1795 prohibit local jurisdictions from requiring installation of fire sprinklers in new or existing one- and two-family homes. The bills seems to have been stalled as of this writing, but advocates need to stay alert and be ready to act on a moment's notice. Contact Jeffery Hudson, Sprinkler Specialist for the West and Northwest Regions, for more information.

In Tennessee, SB2492 and its companion HB2639 prohibit sprinkler requirements in local building codes in one- and two-family dwellings. Last year, home fire sprinkler opponents were sucessfull in getting the legislature to introduce a set of similar bills prohibiting the statewide adoption of the requirement. As a compromise, legislators ruled that communities should retain control of life safety decisions, allowing jurisdictions to adopt the requirement by local ordinance. Tennessee is number 2 in the nation in the number of people who die in home fires every year, and the numbers continue to increase.

The fact that the opposition came back this year should not surprise anyone; it will not stop until it succeeds in obtaining total prohibition through legislative action, disregarding the long established code adoption process. The TN Fire Sprinkler Coalition, formed to work with the fire service and other stakeholders, has been coordinating with the TN Fire Service Coalition to mount an attack on the current bills. For more information contact this writer, or visit the TN Fire Sprinkler Coalition website.

Home fire sprinklers advocates need to remain vigilant for any anti-sprinkler legislation popping up in their states; uniting and working together to engage legislators against these bills. Visit the Legislation/Adoption section of this website, as anti-sprinkler legislation informaton is updated weekly.

Stay united and stay strong. Keep up the great work out there!

Maria Figueroa

Concealed-sprinklerAs reported by Leesburg Patch, a fire in a townhouse in Landsdowne, located in Loudoun County, VA was doused by the activation of a single fire sprinkler.

The fire started in the garage, a non-living area not required to be sprinklered by NFPA 13D - Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. However, homeowners sometimes prefer to add one more fire sprinkler in the garage as added protection.

The single fire sprinkler activation possibly saved the lives of the occupants by not allowing the fire and smoke to spread to other areas of the home. The fire department was dispatched close to 1 a.m., a time that is included in the interval when half of all fire deaths occur; between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

As stated in the article the fire sprinkler activation reduced fire property damage significantly. In doing so, the residents were able to continue living in the home after the fire department cleared the atmosphere of any lingering smoke and declared it safe.

The public information officer of the Landsdowne Fire Department did an excellent job communicating the impact of home fire sprinklers by adding in its press release: “A residential sprinkler system activation has once again highlighted the importance of residential sprinkler systems after it extinguished a small fire at a townhome in Lansdowne last Wednesday.”

In other news related to this fire, Matt Letourneau, Dulles District Supervisor, wrote a letter to the editor emphasizing the importance of home fire sprinklers and the ability of communities to decide on critical safety code provisions. In it, he explains that he worked with Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Chief Keith Brower "to introduce a motion supporting local control of this requirement as a fire protection option for our community." He informs that "the resolution was adopted by the Board of Supervisors at the board's Jan. 3 meeting and is now part of our legislative program that has been transmitted to our delegation in Richmond." He concluded by thanking his colleagues "for this support and I hope that Loudoun will one day be able to make its own decisions on requiring fire sprinklers."

This type of communication after a fire sprinkler activation event is what is needed to highlight the importance of fire sprinklers and the right of communities to make decisions about what is best for the life safety of its residents. All should strive to emulate the fire department and Mr. Letourneau for taking advantage of this incident to raise awareness and advocate for home fire sprinkler requirements.

Maria Figueroa

FSInewsletterThe new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, features Canadian homebuilder Murray Pound, who long rejected the notion of home fire sprinklers, but has become an outspoken sprinkler advocate.

We also look at:

  • how a condo fire underscores the case for sprinklers in Massachusetts
  • efforts of a New Jersey coalition to jump start a sprinkler bill
  • the dangers of too much stuff
  • a new report that will study impact of sprinklers in reducing fire injuries

Subscribe today to automatically receive our monthly Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. It's free, informative, and will keep you up to date on anti-sprinkler legislation, our advocacy efforts, and other sprinkler-related news.

Bill A1570 requiring fire protection sprinkler systems in all one- and two-family home construction has been prefiled for the 2012-2013 legislative session in the State of New Jersey.NJ_FSI

During the last legislative session a similar bill was passed by the Assembly but its sister bill died in the Senate committee. It is important to see that home fire sprinkler advocates have support from legislators to revive the issue again this year. NJ Fire Sprinkler Coalition will work feverishly to make sure that this bill gets the attention it deserves. Get involved now to assist in the effort by visiting the coalition web page to stay informed.

Maria Figueroa

Murray Pound of Gold Seal Homes
Murray Pound with his Gold Seal staff in Carstairs, Alberta. (Photo: Courtesy of Gold Seal Homes)

For years, Canadian homebuilder Murray Pound rejected home fire sprinklers based on notions of exorbitant cost and installation hassles. Now he’s an outspoken sprinkler advocate on a mission to dispel the myths. What changed?

Gold Seal Homes, founded in 1989, has built the majority of the residences in the Canadian town of Carstairs, Alberta (population 3,500), and recently celebrated the construction of its 300th home. Murray Pound, Gold Seal’s vice-president of operations, relishes the accomplishment, but he’s more pleased that every home built since the summer of 2008 is safeguarded by residential fire sprinklers.      

His company’s decision to install sprinklers didn’t happen overnight, however. Mr. Pound, like most of his peers, had bought into the homebuilding industry’s barrage of reasons why sprinklers were bad for business. Only after some investigating and implementation — and a eureka moment — did Mr. Pound realize these reasons are unfounded.

Read more about Murray Pound, his advocacy efforts, the Canadian viewpoint on sprinklers, and the misconceptions about home fire sprinklers affecting his peers across the globe.

Murray Pound is one of the latest additions to NFPA’s Faces of Fire, a campaign designed to put a face on the life-saving impact of home sprinklers.

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