Home fire sprinklers save lives, protect property and create a safer fire scenario for firefighters. Every national model building code in this country includes the provision for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. That means it is the minimum level of safety. Jurisdictions who choose to bypass this provision or amend it out of their codes are choosing to allow substandard housing to be built.
Plumbers, gas fitters issue sprinkler installation guidelines
The Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters has issued guidelines for installation of NFPA 13D potable water (multipurpose) fire sprinkler systems. “Installation of said 13D systems, to include the installation of the sprinkler head, shall be, installed by licensed plumbers. A Massachusetts registered professional engineer shall design the potable water piping system in compliance with 248 CMR. Additionally, inspections are required by the plumbing inspector to assure compliance with 248 CMR.” Contact NFPA's Tim Travers for required training information.
How you can take action for safer homes in Massachusetts
by Chief George Rogers, Bridgewater FD, President Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, and Chief Mary Regan, Westfield FD, Chair, MA Fire Sprinkler Coalition
The time has come where all advocates in the state need to come together and make our push for residential sprinklers. HB 2121 sponsored by Representative Ruth Balser (D), 12th District, Middlesex County, will be coming up for hearing and testimony before the end of this year. The bill is entitled “An Act relative to enhanced fire protection in new one and two family dwellings.” The bill reads in part as follows:
“In any City or Town which accepts the provisions of this section, any newly constructed building or any existing building substantially rehabilitated… and containing not more than two dwelling units, shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers… “
This so-called “Local Option” legislation leaves the decision to the local community to require residential sprinklers. The leadership of Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM) has requested that all fire chiefs reach out to their respective legislators and let them know that FCAM supports this important public health and safety piece of legislation. We are asking that you do the same. Make a scheduled appointment NOW to visit your legislator(s) in their district home office. Have a conversation with them face to face. Remember, you are an advocate that they count on for information and recommendations.
Pending residential sprinkler legislation in Massachusetts
Fire chiefs outraged over action on home fire sprinklers in Massachusetts
Fire chiefs from across the Commonwealth expressed outrage and disappointment
at the February 14, 2012, vote by the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards to defeat a proposal that would have amended the Massachusetts One and Two Family Building Code to allow for home fire sprinklers. “The BBRS is letting down the people of Massachusetts today and for generations to come by allowing substandard homes to be built in Massachusetts,” said Ashburnham Chief Paul Zbikowski, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM) in a press release issued today. “Not only are they ignoring the minimum level of safety established by model codes, they are putting our firefighters unnecessarily in harms way.”
The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) had promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction, effective August 4, 2011. The BBRS is made up of 11 individuals representing various disciplines and falls under the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Public Safety.
NFPA and the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition believes the BBRS should have reversed its action to better protect the citizens and firefighters of the Commonwealth or, at a minimum, push out the implementation date for the provision to become effective.
On December 13, 2011, against the backdrop of the firefighters memorial at the State House, NFPA President James M. Shannon and representatives of every major fire service organization in the state came together to protest against the new building code in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts fire organizations that support fire sprinklers in new homes
Rally, sprinkler demonstration held at NFPA headquarters
A fire totally destroys an unsprinklered room during a live, side-by-side demonstration at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA, on November 3, 2011. In the room outfitted with a single sprinkler head, the sprinkler activated after 20 seconds and quickly brought down the flames. Information, more photos from the Quincy event.