IRC proposal to require fire extinguisher in kitchen in lieu of sprinklers causes concern

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Apr 8, 2013

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d42a23fff970c-pihttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c38732a89970b-piFireextinguisherOf all the proposals submitted to the IRC as equivalencies for fire sprinklers in homes and townhomes, the most controversial seems to be the requirement of a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Proposal suggests revising the townhouse and one- and two-family dwelling fire sprinkler requirements with the following exception: “An automatic residential fire sprinkler shall not be required when a fire extinguisher has been installed in the kitchen and the separation for the townhouses is two 1-hour walls or a 2- hour common wall between units is provided...”

Last week, this proposal was the topic of discussion on the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Linkedin Group. It drew numerous comments and we heard many experts voice their opinions on the subject.

All see this is as a misguided attempt to usurp fire sprinkler requirements. Some of the comments follow:

  • The kitchen is 3rd on the list as fires that kill.
  • It's hard to use that extinguisher when I'm asleep in my bedroom!
  • Fire extinguishers in the kitchen would have to remain in the kitchen/home over the life of the home
  • The code change proposal appears to assume that the fire is originating in the kitchen. Only 15% of all home fire deaths were caused by a fire originating in the kitchen. Even assuming that intervention would occur 100% of the time, this proposal does nothing to address the other 85% of home fire deaths.
  • How about the sick,weak or otherwise impaired occupant, will they be able to accurately use the extinguisher?

Visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Linkedin page to join our group and offer your comments on this and other discussions.