Associations Garner Win for Public Safety; ICC Heeds Advice

IRVING, Texas

The International Codes Council (ICC) has overturned two fire/life-safety recommendations after the alarm industry lobbied to have them reconsidered.

During the final action hearings in Minneapolis in October, ICC membership voted to include a requirement for single station carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to be installed in new dwelling units. The ICC also voted on an action that removed the restriction on household fire alarm systems to be installed as a primary form of smoke detection if they are monitored by an approved supervising station and maintained in accordance with NFPA 72.

The 2006 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) was initially amended to require household fire alarm systems continue operating and providing the same level of protection as interconnected smoke alarms in the event the control panel was removed or the system was not connected to a central station. The language essentially precluded household fire alarm systems from being installed as a primary or supplementary form of smoke detection.

The New Jersey Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NJBFAA) and the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) assembled a broad coalition of building code officials, fire service personnel, government agencies and others experts to speak in support of the CO and smoke detector requirements. The Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) also provided assistance by submitting a proposal to the ICC along with advocating comments submitted by the NJBFAA.

“This is a great example of how codes and standards can be developed without adequate input from all stakeholders,” NBFAA Vice President Michael Horgan tells SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. “It’s encouraging to see the alarm industry collaborate on this important issue to enhance public safety. It underscores the importance and impact of our state and national associations.”

According to Chris Mack, president of NJBFAA,”The alarm industry was able to assemble a broad coalition of building code officials, fire service personnel, government agencies and UL to speak in support of the CO and smoke detector requirements. Needless to say, both actions are good for the industry but more importantly, they will certainly enhance life safety for the public.”

The ICC target for the revised 2009 codes is February 1; however, 14 states adopted the 2006 version of the IRC and will need several years to amend the household fire alarm restriction. Those states are: Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

Individual state and local jurisdiction adoptions will most likely begin in 2010.

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