Have you ever wondered why the best fire protection available today is only in a small number of residential homes ? Since 1896 when a group of Fire Insurance Companies established the NFPA it took 114 years for California and Pennsylvania in 2011 to become the 1st 2 States to adopt Fire Sprinkler Codes with special interests groups in Pennsylvania soon applying pressure to prevent mandatory sprinkler codes, reversing its Fire Sprinkler Codes. 2011 anti sprinkler legislation In fact such pressure had been applied in 13 other States in 2011 to prevent Fire Sprinkler Codes from taking place. In 17 States in 2010 - Anti-Fire Sprinkler Initiative. In 7 States in 2012 - Anti-Fire Sprinkler Initiative . In 2 States in 2013 - Anti-Fire Sprinkler Initiative and 3 States in 2015 Anti-sprinkler legislation .
According to article linked below certain Home Builders Associations had spent a lot of money lobbying against mandatory fire sprinkler legislation. According to sources I have contacted that are supporters of this fire sprinkler initiative the NHBA - National Home Builders Association has spent over $500 M to keep fire sprinklers out of new homes. https://www.propublica.org/article/fire-fight-the-homebuilding-industry-war-on-sprinklers
What I find negligent is the NHBA does not seem to have a problem with offering upgrades such as granite counter tops etc. that can cost as much as fire sprinklers, yet when it comes to a life saving system they have spent a lot of time and money to keep sprinklers from becoming required, using the argument the added costs would prevent some home buyers from affording a home. They surely do not consider the costs to families who lose their homes and have medical costs to treat burn victims that can range from $1M to $10M for 3rd degree burns depending on complications. Also the cost of property losses due to home fires which according to NFPA article linked below, "In 2015 alone, NFPA reported more than 365,000 home fires resulting in $7 billion in property loss".
HB377: Prohibits state Building Code from requiring mandatory installation of fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family dwellings and replaces it with mandatory option. Passed by Senate. Signed by Governor.
Status: Referred to Committee on Labor and Industry. Passed by Committee, moved forward for full house vote. Passed by the House, moved to the Senate.
SB752: Prohibits state Building Code from requiring mandatory installation of fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family dwellings and replaces it with mandatory option.
Status: Introduced on March 8. Referred to Committee on Labor and Industry. Concurrent bill to HB377 (see above)
HB725: Prohibits state Building Code from requiring mandatory installation of fire sprinkler systems in one- and two- family dwellings and replaces it with mandatory option.
Status: Referred to Committee on Labor and Industry. Withdrawn, duplicate bill.
To date only California, Maryland and D.C. have fire sprinkler codes according to www.firesprinklerinitiative.org that was set up by the NFPA in 2008. This site tracks the progress of fire sprinkler codes State by State and according to that site when New Jersey was trying to adopt fire sprinkler codes for new homes Gov. Christie vetoed the plan. Why would anyone veto such life saving codes or there be special interests groups that oppose life saving sprinklers is mind boggling. There even was a Bill proposed in Maryland after it adopted Fire sprinkler codes to allow local counties to opt out of the State adopted code but fortunately it didn't pass.
Bill Number: House Bill 19
Abstract: Gives local counties the opportunity to opt out of a statewide, fire sprinkler requirement for new, one- and two-family homes
Update: The bill died in committee. Please read the story on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.
Home fire sprinkler requirements at a glance
Sprinkler requirements by state - Fire Sprinkler Initiative
• States/regions requiring fire sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes: CA, MD, Washington, D.C.
• States prohibiting statewide and new, local adoptions of fire sprinkler requirements:AK, AL, AZ, CT, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI
• States allowing local adoptions of sprinkler requirements for new homes: AR, CO, FL, IL, IA, ME, MT, NE, NV, NM, OK, OR, RI, TN, VT, WA, WY
An astounding 31 of the 50 U.S. States prohibit life saving Fire Sprinkler codes !! How can this happen when according to NFPA own firesprinklerinitiative.org site for the State of New Jersey you will find these statistic below.
Home fire sprinklers can cut the risk of dying from a fire by 80 percent.
In the event of a house fire, homeowners can expect financial losses 90 percent lower than those that occur from fires in unsprinklered homes.
According to the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the average cost to install home fire sprinklers in a new home is $1.35 per square foot. This is approximately one percent of the value of the home. When the cost is spread over a 30-year mortgage, it comes down to less than the price of a cup of coffee per week.
Again the average cost to add sprinklers to new homes is now only $1.35 per sq. ft. less than a cup of coffee per week and could be added to the mortgage. Carpet cost more than $1.35 sq. ft., yet despite these statistics that show a great life saving benefit and cost benefit, only 6% of homes where most fire deaths occur have fire sprinklers according to a NFPA article written in 2013.
U.S. Experience with Sprinklers
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: June 2013
"Sprinklers are still rare in educational properties (36% of fires), stores and offices (24%), public assembly properties (23%), and especially homes (6%), where most fire deaths occur. There is considerable potential for expanded use of sprinklers to reduce the loss of life and property to fire."
According to Fire Protection Engineer by the name of Richard Patton, Founder of Crusade Against Fire Deaths / firecrusade.com and Author of the book The American Home is a Fire Trap written in 2001, fire sprinklers were kept out of homes early on due to fire codes written by NFPA which were controlled by Fire Insurance Companies that made them to expensive previously for the average home to have them. He suggests that the fire insurance companies are the special interests groups making billions of dollars on fire insurance premiums for over a century which profits would be reduced drastically if the cost of damage from fire were reduced by using fire sprinklers in homes. This explanation sounds a bit strange at first as you would think fire insurance companies would favor paying out less for fire damage, but if the profit is more from higher premiums despite higher costs due to damages from home fires it must come down to someone is making more profits vs. charging far less for fire insurance and paying out far less for fire damages and or water damage as the case would be had fire sprinklers been mandatory for all homes. If this is not the reason then what is in light of how many lives would be saved and how inexpensive fire sprinklers now are ?? Some special interest groups such as NHBA - National Home Builders Association more recently surely are opposed to fire sprinklers to go to the trouble of swaying all but 2 States from adopting anti fire sprinkler legislation and it doesn't seem the fire insurance companies were willing to spend money to fight their anti -fire sprinkler efforts. As they say, "follow the money " and you usually find those responsible!
According to an article found on the fire sprinkler initiative site Healthcare Costs of Burn Patients From Homes Without Fire Sprinklers "Another 10-year report of a fire sprinkler ordinance for commercial structures, multifamily and single-family residential dwellings, also described no deaths in sprinklered homes with an average loss of U.S.$2166 compared with 13 deaths in unsprinklered homes with an average loss of U.S.$45,019 in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States.1" These are same statistic found on American Fire Sprinkler Association site firesprinkler.org as well, and again, A single sprinkler controls a home fire 90 percent of the time, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), saving a majority of a home’s possessions. Also, according to the non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the average fire loss in a house with a sprinkler system is $2,166 as opposed to $45,019 in a home without the protection. Sprinkler systems reduce fire damage by up to 97 percent
More statistics from a USFA / FEMA report Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2012-2014) Findings Topical Fire Report Series Volume 17, Issue 4/ July 2016• Thermal burns and smoke inhalation were the primary symptoms leading to death, accounting for 90 percent of all fatalities in residential fires. • Bedrooms, at 50 percent, were the leading specific location where civilian fire fatalities occurred in residential buildings. • The time period from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. accounted for 52 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. This period also accounted for 49 percent of fatal fires in residential buildings. • At the time of their deaths, 37 percent of fire victims in residential buildings were trying to escape; an additional 31 percent were sleeping. • “Other unintentional, careless” actions (15 percent) and “smoking” (14 percent) were the leading reported causes of fatal fires in residential buildings. • Males accounted for 58 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings; females accounted for 42 percent of fire fatalities. • Adults aged 50 to 69 accounted for 36 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. • Children less than 10 years old accounted for 11 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. Fires can strike anywhere — in structures, buildings, automobiles and the outdoors. Fires that affect our homes are often the most tragic and the most preventable. It is a sad fact, but each year over 75 percent of all civilian fire fatalities occurred as a result of fires in residential buildings — our homes.1, 2 From 2012 to 2014, civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings accounted for 84 percent of all fire fatalities.....
Residential sprinkler systems help to reduce the risk of deaths and injuries, homeowner insurance premiums, and uninsured property losses. Yet many homes do not have automatic extinguishing systems, although they are often found in hotels and businesses. Sprinklers are required by code in hotels and many multifamily residences. There are major movements in the U.S. fire service to require sprinklers in all new homes. At present, however, they are largely absent in residences nationwide.20 USFA and fire service officials across the nation are working to promote and advance residential fire sprinklers. More information on costs and benefits, performance, training bulletins, and public education and outreach materials regarding residential sprinklers is available at http://www. usfa.fema.gov/prevention/technology/home_fire_sprinklers.html. Additionally, USFA’s position statement on residential sprinklers is available at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/about/sprinklers_position.html.
USFA position on residential fire sprinklers
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The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has promoted research, development, testing and demonstrations of residential fire sprinklers for more than 30 years. The research has indisputably demonstrated that residential fire sprinklers can:
Save the lives of building occupants.
Save the lives of firefighters called to respond to a home fire.
Significantly offset the risk of premature building collapse posed to firefighters by lightweight construction components when they are involved in a fire.
Substantially reduce property loss caused by a fire.
The time has come to use this affordable, simple and effective technology to save lives and property where it matters most — in our homes.
It is the position of the USFA that all citizens should be protected against death, injury and property loss resulting from fire in their residence. All homes should be equipped with both smoke alarms and residential fire sprinklers, and all families should have and practice an emergency escape plan. The USFA fully supports all efforts to reduce the tragic toll of fire losses in this nation, including the current International Residential Code that requires residential fire sprinklers in all new residential construction.
As mentioned on the home page, the fire insurance companies set up the NFPA to write codes for all fire protection equipment sold in U.S. and kept fire sprinklers out of home for over 114 years, making billions of $ on fire insurance premiums along the way. In 2011, Pennsylvania and California became the first US states to require sprinkler systems in all new residential construction. However, Pennsylvania repealed the law later that same year. Many municipalities now require residential sprinklers, even if they are not required at the state level. Early on when Richard Patton became a Fire Protection Engineer 60 years ago he tried to have fire sprinkler codes approved that were affordable requiring standard sized plumbing and the NFPA did not approve it. Today after many lost lives only California requires new homes to have fire sprinklers which use a design very similar to the one Mr. Patton sought approval for. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_sprinkler_system
This page describes Deficiencies and Design / Install Errors which somehow also passed code standards set by the NFPA and other agencies.
The link and info below were provided Byron Blake - Fire Protection Inspector who specializes in Service, Failure Analysis and Sales. We are glad to have Byron as one of Smoke Alarm Safety supporters exposing dangerous fire protection equipment and the agencies that approve and promote inefficient and defective products that are supposed to keep consumers safe from deadly fires.
Byron has worked in most states in the U.S. and several foreign countries, and is often embarrassed by the poor quality design and maintenance of fire equipment, particularly fire sprinkler systems. Read what he has to say below and visit his blog link to see if your building may have defective, inefficient and dangerous fire protection sprinkler systems etc.
"Many of the trade magazines (NFPA Sprinkler Quaterly, AFSA Sprinkler Age, BAFSA) actively solicit "success stories", that is stories where sprinklers activated. They do NOT solicit and some (particularly BAFSA) will not publish failure stories. That's bias reporting, technically it is confirmation bias reporting, bad journalism and bad for the industry. Yet, the readers already know the success stories, they don't know or want to hear about the failures. How are we, as an industry, with high goals, are we going to learn, if the failures aren't discussed? We're not, so we don't."
"The "feedback" to the designers, approving authorities is suppressed, ignored and buried. We just don't have a lot of fires to cause a lot of these poor systems to fail or have the right investigators. "
"What I've seen in the business borders on the criminal (in some states it is, like Florida). In other states, city fathers edit the model fire codes and end up with no or little enforcement. Some are so ineffective at enforcement it borders on criminal acts of negligence. But, as public officials, they are often immune."
For more information and pictures regarding faulty sprinkler heads / recalls and other inefficient fire protection products and dangerous installations click link below..
( Seems Congress like the NFPA is very slow on taking measures that protect the public from the dangers of fire yet billions of $ are wasted on pork barrel spending every year while lives are lost due to fire on a daily basis. )
The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (FSIA) is the name of a piece of legislation that has been introduced in both the House and the Senate since 2003. The legislation would amend the 1986 Internal Revenue Code by classifying fire sprinkler retrofits as either a Section 179 depreciation deduction or a fifteen-year property for purposes of depreciation. Currently the tax depreciation time for commercial property is 39 years and 27.5 for residential.
The FSIA would allow for a more rapid recovery of cost, and would reduce the annual economic and human losses that fire in the U.S. inflicts on the national economy, environment, and quality of life. Passage of the FSIA would be consistent with past practice at the federal level, where Congress has historically provided incentives and left decisions regarding adoption of fire protection requirements up to state and local government.
After the Station nightclub fire killed 100 concertgoers in Rhode Island in February 2003, many lawmakers took note of the need to update building and fire codes, but no national action was taken. A large coalition (including firefighter associations, labor organizations, fire sprinkler manufacturers and fire and life organizations) has since formed to lobby congress to pass the FSIA.
The FSIA was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Curt Weldon [R-PA] in 2003 and in the Senate bySen. Rick Santorum [R-PA] in 2004. The legislation has been introduced in both chambers in every Congress since the 108th session, but has never made it out of committee.
The 111th Congress was thought to be more successful with regards to the FSIA’s passage by focusing on the immediate needs of the country, including unemployment. Passage of the FSIA would mean an increase in employment among small businesses that offer sprinkler installation services.
The biggest present obstacle to passing the FSIA is the expected cost.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more than 16,000 fire-related injuries, 3,200 civilian deaths, and 100 firefighter deaths each year. A 2007 NFPA study found that in buildings with properly installed sprinklers, the death rate per fire can be reduced by 83 percent and property damage decreased by 69 percent. The NFPA also has no record of two or more deaths in an educational, institutional, public assembly or residential building with properly installed and functioning sprinkler systems
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Recent fires, the Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland CA and Grenfell Tower in London England both were without fire sprinklers and resulted in many preventable deaths. The Grenfell Tower had just undergone a $9 million remodel completed in 2016, $2.6 million of which were for cladding panels on exterior of building. The panels contained highly flammable polyurethane in between the aluminum casing . These cladding panels were the cause of the rapid spread of the fire trapping occupants inside. Panels with fire resistant composite could of been installed instead for just $5000 extra, less than 1/4 of 1 % of the $2.6 million cost. Fire sprinklers could have been installed in every flat as well for just $1,100 per unit ( $138,000 for all Grenfell units ) approx. 1.5 % of the total $9 million cost. The apartments also had radiator heating systems and the owners of building had option to install fire suppression nozzles at a fraction of the cost of fire sprinklers. Instead they spent $2.6m pounds on installing the flammable panels which were not approved for buildings over 18m according to the wikipedia Grenfell Action Group story . Several other fire safety issues were brought to the attention of Grenfell management over the last few years and occupants reported none of the fire alarms sounded during the fire.
The video of the MGM fire reveals the deli fire started in didn't have smoke alarms or fire sprinklers nor did the most of hotel. A total of 85 preventable deaths 700 injuries with 17 deaths on ground floor with only 8 from flames 9 from smoke with all the rest from smoke inhalation on floors above which flames never reached. Total lawsuits $223 million. How much would of smoke alarms and sprinklers of cost ? Less than 5% of the lawsuit ? Penny wise and dollar foolish is what continues to take place even today with most homes without fire sprinklers despite fire sprinklers offering the best protection. Why have fire sprinklers been kept out of the majority of homes despite a multitude of deaths and injuries ?