The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety(IBHS) is urging policymakers to support new residential construction standards that call for the installation of fire sprinkler systems in all new one- and two- family home construction.
Beginning with the 2006 editions, the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, NFPA 1 Fire Code and NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code have required sprinkler in all new homes. The International Code Council’s (ICC) model residential building code requires these systems in all new homes as of January 1, 2011. All national model codes now include the requirement. Several states have prohibited the adoption through legislation, or have left it up to local governments to adopt.
IBHS President and CEO Julie Rochman said there could be cases of legislators feeling apprehensive of the new design of the sprinkler systems. Home fire sprinkler systems are vastly different from the commercial systems most are familiar with. Systems designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13D standard are cost effective and efficient. “There are people who are a little afraid of new technology, perhaps don’t understand how sophisticated it is, how well it works, how efficient it is...” said Rochman.
This action by IBHS is mainly due to NFPA’s U.S. Experience with Sprinklersreport which reveals that the death rate in homes with sprinklers is 83% lower than homes without sprinklers. The direct property damage in homes with sprinklers is 69% lower than homes without sprinklers. Fire sprinklers respond quickly and effectively to control and often completely extinguish a fire, providing occupants with additional escape time, and a safer environment for responding fire crews.
Rochman said the IBHS is hoping that residential sprinklers will be more widely adopted in the future. “It takes people a while to get used to something new, and the more experience and more familiarity they have, the better results that we’ll see in terms of lives saved, fewer firefighters being injured when they’re responding to fires, less property being destroyed — we think the proof will be in the results and that more people will accept and really want to have sprinklers in their homes,” said Rochman.