Ever since the requirement to fire sprinkler new homes made it into all U.S. model building codes, Sheridan, Wyoming, officials have decided not to adopt it. Citing fire safety issues, the city now seems to be seriously considering this requirement as it goes through its next building code update.
The Sheridan Press states that "safety concerns as well as arguments that the sprinkler requirement's impact on building costs have been overstated are leading [city] council members and members of the community to question whether the [requirement] should be omitted again this year." According to this story, building officials are exploring ideas that address installation cost concerns, including tax rebates and insurance reductions. Noting that the sprinkler requirement in the model building code "is unlikely to go away," local building official Kevin Bare also told the news outlet that "we hope to make this proposed change a wash when it comes to the costs of construction."
Furthering the need for a sprinkler requirement was a study of Sheridan's fire department response times, which noted that firefighters would have difficulty quickly responding to the city's fires due to its staffing levels. Responding immediately to fire, fire sprinklers can help ease this burden.
One of Sheridan's city councilors, who had voted against the requirement during the last two code adoptions, seems to now understand the role sprinklers play in firefighter safety. "If our firefighters aren't rushing into a structure that's on fire, that's a good day," he told The Sheridan Press.
This blog will post updates to this story as NFPA is made aware of them.