Battling Over The Code Process

When it comes to saving lives and property on a grand scale, nothing is more important than the strict enforcement of strong building, fire and life safety codes. Every hour of every day, fire departments respond to alarms that turn out to be routine...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

At present, only nine states have adopted NFPA 1 as their model fire code. Others use codes written by three ICC members - the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). The most used model is the ICBO's Uniform Fire Code, which has been adopted by 16 states.

It's up to states and cities to implement codes as they see fit to meet local situations, but the model codes are a powerful force in fire prevention and life safety. Frank Brannigan has pointed out many times that buildings are the enemies of firefighters. Therefore, it seems logical that experienced fire chiefs - who have taken an oath to protect lives and property and are responsible for sending their firefighters into burning buildings - should have something to say about any regulation that deals with fire and life safety, even when it is a part of the building code.

There is no way of knowing how many lives have been saved by the strict enforcement of tough building, fire and life safety codes. But we do know that many lives have been lost because of weak codes that ignored the recommendations of fire experts.


Hal Bruno, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a political analyst with ABC News in Washington and served many years as a volunteer firefighter.