Tom Rinaldi, second vice president of the Association of Fire Districts of New York State, penned an op-ed addressing staffing shortages in the fire service and how sprinklers can aid this group. Rinaldi lives in a state that hasn't updated its building code in years, and is urging the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to adopt the 2015 International Residential Code in its entirety, including the provision to sprinkler one- and two-family homes. Rinaldi's association is one of a handful of groups who have joined the New York Sprinkler Initiative that supports this measure.
"Fire departments, whether career or volunteer, are being challenged by a lack of adequate staffing," stated Rinaldi in his op-ed. "In the volunteer fire service, the response times are being affected by short daytime staffing combined with aging-out volunteers. We need to either have a resurgence of volunteerism, which I don't see, or staffing issues will continue.
"The one thing that mitigates faster-burning materials, fire department staffing challenges, and the rapid destruction of lightweight engineered systems is residential sprinklers. This helps the fire service, which does not then need as much staff to extinguish and overhaul the fire. It's like having a fire department parked in every new home."
Tell the New York Code Council to adopt a more robust building code. Visit the New York Sprinkler Initiative site and send the council an already-drafted email in support of the sprinkler provision.