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January 21, 2019

Challenging States to Ban the “Ban” on Local Fire Sprinkler Codes

It has been an uphill battle in New Jersey to get traction for the proposed “New Home Fire Safety Act” which after many months has finally cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and is now open to review by the General Assembly.  The NJ bill (A3974), sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, would require fire sprinklers to be installed in newly constructed one and two-family homes.  NJFSAB has been working hard to develop a coalition of supporters for this bill which has made a tremendous impact on this progress (see StopFireSaveLives.com for a list of supporters and click on legislative update for more details).

Getting states to adopt the national code that calls for this has been an uphill battle, not only for New Jersey but for other states as well.

A recent article by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) references this struggle and calls for action in 2019 to help get fire sprinklers into homes to save more lives.

ORLAND PARK, Ill., Jan. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — While national codes require home fire sprinklers installed in all new construction single-family homes, half of U.S. states are able to pass codes that require the life-saving technology, the other half cannot due to anti-sprinkler code efforts.

Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), laid down a new year’s challenge he calls “Ban the Ban” to fire safety advocates concerned about reducing home fire loss.

Map showing the states with great success in passing lifesaving fire sprinkler codes (brown), while others were hampered by anti-sprinkler-code forces (orange).

According to Lia, while a number of jurisdictions had success passing sprinkler requirements, others were held back by anti-sprinkler efforts. Citing a report from ProPublica, the housing industry spent more than $517 million on state politics over the last decade supporting lobbying efforts designed to keep sprinklers out of the codes.

“We can’t afford to sit back and watch sprinkler codes blocked,” Lia said. “How can we allow a ban on improving public safety? It is an overreach of the legislative process and it needs to be challenged. The housing industry and real estate associations have used politics to work against state code adoption autonomy,” he said.

According to Lia, whether in the fire service, as code officials, as property owners or representing the sprinkler industry, the first step should be to fully understand the issues. Once we do, we can better educate others within our organizations and communities and broaden our effort against sprinkler opposition.

To read to full article which includes a call to action and steps to follow visit this link: http://www.firesprinklerassocnewsletters.org/index.php/ring-in-the-new-year-with-a-bang-not-a-ban/

 

January 21, 2019

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