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California OKs requirement for fire sprinklers in new homes

Posted: January 13, 2010 12:28 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2010 12:31 p.m.
 

PATTERSON, N.Y., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), the longest-tenured fire sprinkler advocacy organization in the U.S., announced that California has adopted building code changes that will require all new one- and two-family homes and townhouses built in the state starting Jan. 1, 2011, to be equipped with life-saving fire sprinkler systems.

The California State Building Standards Commission voted yesterday unanimously by a margin of 10-0 in favor of adopting the 2010 California Residential Code, which includes the 2009 International Residential Code  as established by the International Code Council in September 2008. 

The residential sprinkler requirement was voted into the 2009 IRC Code by building code officials from all over the U.S., gaining more than two-thirds of the vote. This demonstrated that officials very clearly see the need to require sprinkler technology as a life-saving measure.

The fire sprinkler requirement was recently reaffirmed at an ICC vote in Baltimore in late October 2009.

"This is a monumental victory for the residents and fire service professionals in California as the state is providing its residents and fire service professionals with an important life safety measure which will provide residents with peace of mind in their homes and fire service professionals extra time to perform their jobs," said NFSA President John Viniello. 

"I would like to applaud all of the officials who have worked tirelessly in the state to secure the adoption of the 2009 IRC Code," he said. "California now joins Pennsylvania and New Hampshire as the only states in the nation to adopt the 2009 IRC Code at the statewide level and will serve as an excellent example on why other states should adopt this important life-safety regulation."

The inclusion of residential fire sprinkler requirements in the 2009 IRC is a response to the growing fire problem in the U.S. About 85 percent of all fires occur in the home and many are fueled by new "lightweight" construction and more flammable home contents.

Smoke detectors may no longer be enough in residential fire protection, as the time to escape a house fire has dwindled from 17 minutes 20 years ago to three minutes today.

This poses a severe risk to firefighters as they now have less time to do their job and save residents' lives and property.

About the National Fire Sprinkler Association
Established in 1905, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) is the voice of the fire sprinkler industry. NFSA leads the drive to get life-saving fire sprinklers into all buildings; provides support and resources for its members - fire sprinkler contractors, manufacturers and suppliers; and educates authorities having jurisdiction of fire control matters. Headquartered in Patterson, N.Y., NFSA has regional operations offices throughout the country. For more information, visit nfsa.org.

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