Last year, the New York Fire Prevention and Building Code Council adopted the 2015 edition of the International Residential Code, but decided to not adopt the requirement to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes. While seen as a setback for home fire safety, an NFPA sprinkler advocate recently noted a glimmer of hope.
"There are some important positives that came out of this battle," writes John Caufield, NFPA's Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, in a recent issue of Size Up (page 9-10), the magazine for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. "For one of the first times in recent memory, all of the primary fire service organizations, both code-making organizations, enforcement associations, as well as other interested parties such as burn victim advocates, architects, and engineers joined forces in supporting home fire sprinklers." Bringing these parties together for the cause were members of the New York Sprinkler Initiative, which joins 29 other states in educating and advocating for sprinklers.
While the efforts may not have led to a code requirement for home fire sprinklers (yet), it has bolstered public awareness of this technology. "Slowly but methodically, many fire chiefs are carrying the safety and prevention message out to their community members. It is becoming increasingly more common for fire chiefs, in their post-incident press briefings, to point out "this fire could have been far less serious, or even prevented, if home fire sprinklers were present."
Watch this video underscoring the power of forming an effective state sprinkler coalition: