In case you missed it, NFPA interviewed a fire official in Wales about how fire safety advocates secured a requirement to sprinkler all of the country's new homes beginning this year. Offering his congratulations in person for this effort was NFPA president Jim Pauley, who recently attended the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association's biennial conference in Cardiff, Wales' capital.
The sprinkler requirement's passage followed a relentless push from Welsh fire service officials and Assembly Member Ann Jones (shown in the photo with Pauley), a vocal supporter for this technology. "We are inspired by your accomplishment and look to your success as an example of how it can be done," Pauley said during the conference. "I assure you, we are working extremely hard to follow your lead. With this, Wales is a global leader in home fire safety. The result will undoubtedly be lives saved for generations to come. You are to be thanked, admired, and copied."
Pauley also noted the same sprinkler pushback from the Welsh homebuilding industry also experienced in North America. "I guess I would say I was heartened to see that the U.S. is not alone in its opposition from the homebuilders when I looked at some of the press from Wales at the time you were aggressively pushing this forward," he said. "I saw an article where builders said home fire sprinklers would scare away development in Wales."
To allay stakeholder concerns, Welsh officials organized committee meetings with all stakeholders-- the water industry, homebuilders, fire officials, and building-control authorities. Jones and the fire service worked together to address all critical points that came up during the meetings.
"While we often feel the weight of the opposition, we cannot let that dissuade us," said Pauley. "We should not have to imagine a future where no one dies in a fire in the place they feel safest – their home. It can be a reality. Just has it has here in Wales."