There have already been more than 20 fire deaths in Massachusetts this year. Even more alarming is that 11 of those deaths occurred in March, making it the state's deadliest month for fire in the last five years.
Calling these statistics "intolerable," Fire Chief James McDonald from the Lynn Fire Department has identified a solution to reduce the state's fire risk: " a concerted effort combining technology, economic incentives, and enforcement." In his commentary, McDonald wrote that fire departments should have more resources and a bigger responsibility when dealing with building inspections. He suggests merging a town's fire department with its building inspections department to create a clearer picture of the area's fire risks and more stringent crackdown on landlords or building owners for not adhering to fire safety measures.
Secondly, he proposes that insurers should initiate more policy discounts for fire safety upgrades. "Insurance companies can reduce costly claims filed in the wake of fires by providing significant premium discounts to owners who are willing to spend money on fire safety," McDonald wrote.
Lastly, the fire chief recommends the increased use of fire suppression technology, specifically home fire sprinklers. These three efforts, he notes, will help make a dent in the state' home fire problem.
Like McDonald, please help champion for safer homes in Massachusetts. The state is currently in the process of updating their building code and is accepting comments on code contents through April 10, 2017. Please demand that fire sprinkler requirements make it into the next edition of the state's building code. Use this draft language as a template, and send your comments to Robert.Anderson@state.ma.us.
I strongly support the inclusion of residential sprinkler requirements in the state's building code. All model building codes used in the US. require fire sprinklers in all new homes. Removal or alteration of such provisions is in direct contrast to all model building and life safety codes, which have been developed through open and voluntary consensus processes by the leading code development organizations in this country. I recommend the inclusion of residential sprinkler requirements as stated in the model codes. Thank you for your consideration on these matters of public safety.