The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) recently adopted a resolution supporting a change to the International Residential Code (IRC) to require fire sprinklers in new single-family homes (IRC Proposal RB64-07/08). The IRC is the model code governing residential construction in 46 states plus the District of Columbia.
The International Code Council (ICC) will be holding a Final Action Hearing on the IRC from September 20-22 in Minneapolis to decide the matter. Firefighters are eligible to attend the Hearing and vote on whether or not the proposed changes should be adopted.
"The importance of automatic fire sprinkler systems in protecting lives is well known to firefighters, and the fire service is committed to seeing residential sprinklers as a standard feature in new home construction to protect the citizens who we serve" said Ronny J. Coleman, President of the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition and former California State Fire Marshal. "We're excited to have NVFC on board as an organization who supports the residential sprinkler initiative."
With eight out of ten civilian fire deaths and most fire-related line-of-duty deaths occurring in homes, it is clear that the NVFC and other fire service organizations need to emphasize the need for residential sprinklers. Smoke alarms are important and have gone a long way to reducing residential fire losses, but only fire sprinklers have the ability to automatically control or extinguish a fire while it's still small. This is particularly important given firefighter safety concerns associated with today's residential construction techniques, which are known to collapse quickly in a fire.
"By attending the IRC hearing, volunteer firefighters have the ability to support the residential sprinkler proposal and make a major contribution to saving lives," said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. "The NVFC encourages volunteer firefighters to attend the hearing so that the voice of America's volunteer firefighters will be heard when the votes are counted." More information on how to participate in the ICC's Final Action Hearing and on a funding program that will offset travel expenses is currently available online at www.IRCFireSprinkler.org.