The fire service has played a critical role in code development for the last 100 years and will continue into the future.
Hopefully, you have heard about the buzz of residential sprinklers and the need for the fire service to be a part of the Final Action Hearings at the International Code Council (ICC) annual conference in Minneapolis the week of Sept. 14-23. Do you know what it takes to be a part of history and ensuring the firefighting voice is a part of the code community?
If you have not been a part of the code process, you may have many questions on why you should participate and what exactly is going on.
What is the International Code Council?
The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The founders of the ICC are Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA); International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI).
The ICC, through the code development process, develops codes and standards that are used by many communities. These include the International Building Code, International Fire Code, International Residential Code, or the International Plumbing Code, just to name a few. The ICC is similar to the National Fire Protection Association.
Why should I attend?
The fire service is the leader in code development since the creation of the first NFPA code. Fire service personnel provide a unique insight to the code development process as they have experience with fire, building collapse, and other building issues.
In addition fire service personnel are passionate about solving the United Sates fire problem. These final action hearings are the last step to approve the 2009 series of codes. The fire service has an opportunity to comment on a wide range of issues that affect us and may include the International Fire Code issues or the residential sprinkler debate. Though anyone attending the hearings can participate by speaking during the hearing, decisions are made by majority vote of governmental members. For the fire service to have an impact there needs to be sufficient attendance by fire service representatives.
I want to attend, what do I need to do?
The critical step is to become a governmental member of the ICC. The ICC governmental membership is available to any agency or unit of government that is engaged in administration, formulation or enforcement of laws, regulations or ordinances relating to public health, safety and welfare. The membership fee is based on the population of your community, $100 for populations up to 50,000, $180 for populations of 50,001 to 150,000, and $280 for populations over 150,000. If you are having a tough budget season and are not sure if you can justify the cost to become a member, keep in mind that as a member you will receive several ICC code books, the value of which will exceed the cost of the membership.
The membership is awarded to your agency or unit of government. If you have a population of 40,000, your agency or unit of government can have four delegates. Another government entity in your jurisdiction with code related duties could also become a member and have an additional four delegates.
The delegates representing your agency are designated by the agency head such as the fire chief or the fire marshal. To vote at this years final action hearings the designation of delegates, (or modification of the existing designations), must be completed by Sept. 10.
I am a governmental member and want to go, what should I do next?
Make sure you register for the conference. The annual business meeting activities and the educational sessions require payment of a registration fee. However, you can register just for the hearings, which is free. Register for the hearings, make your hotel reservation and travel arrangements early as hotel space will fill up.