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California's path to a statewide sprinkler requirement was as long and windy as the Yellow Brick Road. Prior to the mandate taking effect in 2011, local communities, one-by-one, decided to embrace mandatory installations, the first city being San Clemente in 1979. Getting all stakeholders on board to expand the requirement statewide might have seemed like a feat for Oz, but fortunately State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover knew how to make it happen.
Despite the successes in California, Hoover is quick to point out that the statewide adoption "was only the beginning."
+NFPA Journal+ had a recent conversation with Hoover on the effective way her and her team brought builders, water purveyors, fire officials, and others to the table and initiated dialogue on what a statewide requirement would look like. She also discusses what issues cropped up post-mandate.
"Even though we had more than 160 local jurisdictions with home fire sprinkler ordinances already in place before the statewide adoption, we still had areas of California that had never seen a home fire sprinkler, and this was a challenge for them," Hoover told NFPA Journal. "Many wanted to know who was going to do the plan review. Some areas may have had water-supply issues. Other places worried whether there would be enough contractors to install sprinklers if homebuilding picked up. There were just all sorts of little things that crept up."
Hoover also offered this caveat: "I think one of the biggest mistakes we could make would be to think that home fire sprinklers are chiseled in stone like the Ten Commandments. I believe that you have to continue the message, and the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition continues the message."
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Obtain some inspiration from the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition by visiting its site, and hear some additional pearls of wisdom from Hoover:
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