Fire safety advocates, including NFPA, attended a meeting last week with the New York State Code Council, which is looking to update the state's residential code. The new code aims to adhere to provisions in model safety codes, which require home fire sprinkler installation in one- and two-family dwellings.
The top priority this year for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs is to get a new residential code passed and have it include sprinkler requirements, says Don Corkery, the association's vice president, who spoke at the meeting. "Our generation has the chance to do something that will save lives for centuries to come," he tells NFPA. "Our friends in government always say that [firefighters] are heroes. I would like to go back to the Code Council in six months to a year and label them heroes for having the courage to pass this code."
This push for sprinklers comes at a crucial time; Corkery notes that today's home fires tend to burn longer and hotter due to furnishings generously stuffed with combustible materials. NFPA data indicates that in recent years fires involving upholstered furniture have annually accounted for the largest share of fire deaths of any first item ignited in U.S. homes.
The Code Council has decided to revisit the issue of updating its state's residential code in May. Stay tuned for more updates, and in the meantime, learn more about home fire sprinklers at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.