Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel recently weighed in on a state fire sprinkler requirement, stating in an opinion that requiring this technology in apartment units with three to 20 units is unlawful. This requirement, adopted by the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services for new builds after January 2011, has been challenged by the Wisconsin Builders Association. The builders argue the state legislature prohibits agencies from setting regulations.
Recently coming to the defense of fire safety is the editorial board for the Journal Times. In a recent editorial, it states: "Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing told a Milwaukee newspaper in August: 'To think we’re going to roll that back is disheartening. As firefighters, we know that sprinklers save lives. When you look at a building and you think ‘What can I do for protecting that building and the people in it?’ the single most important component of that is a sprinkler system.'
He called on legislators to take up the issue directly. We echo that call."
The board adds that residential sprinklers further the progress Wisconsin and America as a whole has made in reducing its home fire problem. It references NFPA data on fire. About 40 years ago, almost 6,000 people died in home fires. Today, that number has remained at a fairly stagnant 2,500 people. "That’s progress and the Legislature should keep us on the path toward reducing those numbers with a sprinkle of support."