Residential Fire Sprinklers Receive Support at Building Safety Hearing


The IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition reports at a recent public hearing in Rochester, N.Y., held by the International Code Council, the organization responsible for publishing the nation’s residential building code, a considerable level of support was shown for residential fire sprinklers.

Although the proposal to modify the International Residential Code in favor of fire sprinklers in single-family homes ultimately failed, it did receive support from more than half of the voting members present, according to the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Procedural requirements dictate that a two-thirds majority is required for proposal adoption.

“Our level of support in Rochester was nothing short of astounding,” says Ronny Coleman, a former California state fire marshal. “To see what the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition has accomplished in less than six months to rally this cause gives me great confidence in the future of residential sprinklers. It’s now clear to me that the question is no longer if we’ll have a national requirement for residential sprinklers, but when, and I think it will happen soon.”

With the nation’s model building codes now requiring fire sprinkler systems to protect all multifamily residential occupancies, home fire sprinklers represent the final piece missing from the nation’s residential fire safety package, according to the coalition.

The coalition maintains, while smoke alarms are essential, only fire sprinklers have the ability to automatically put water on the fire, controlling or even extinguishing it completely.

“Eight out of 10 fire deaths in America occur at home where people feel safest,” says Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. “Our path forward is clear. We must continue to educate code officials, home builders and others about the importance of residential fire sprinklers.”

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