MA fire officials and NFPA take aim at Board of Building Regulations and Standards

Published on November 3, 2011
Live fire demo shows value of home fire sprinklers

Jim Shannon speaks at a Quincy, MA, rally on home fire sprinklers.
NFPA President James M. Shannon and representatives of every major fire service organization in the state came together on November 3, 2011, to protest the new building code in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which omits the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction.

November 3, 2011
—Saying the MA Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) is playing with fire, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) President James M. Shannon and representatives of every major fire service organization in the state came together on November 3rd to protest against the new building code in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

All national model building codes include the requirement for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The BBRS promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth in August and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers in new construction.

“Your risk of dying in a home fire decreases by more than 80 percent with sprinklers and property damage is reduced by 74 percent,” said Shannon. “By allowing substandard housing to be built in Massachusetts, the BBRS puts firefighters and citizens at unnecessary risk. Their action should be reversed.”

Officials held a live side-by-side fire demonstration to show the value of home fire sprinklers. During the demonstration, firefighters set on fire two identical rooms, one of which was equipped with a home sprinkler and one that did not include a sprinkler. The demonstration graphically showed how sprinklers effectively control or in some cases extinguish a home fire, and how lack of a sprinkler allows the room to go to flashover, the point in which everything burns.

Other organizations attending the November 3rd fire demonstration and voicing their strong unanimous support for fire sprinklers were representatives from the Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association and Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.

Over 400 communities in the U.S. now require home sprinklers. California, Maryland and South Carolina have adopted the provision statewide.

A public hearing will be held in Boston on December 13th where testimony will be accepted on the code action. The time and location are yet to be determined. Additional information can be found at www.firesprinklersMA.org.

About the Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home
The Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a project of the National Fire Protection Association, is a nationwide effort to encourage the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275