National Buiding Safety Week Reminds of Vital Role of Fire Sprinklers
In honor of National Building Safety Week, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) reminds people of the vital life-safety role fire sprinklers play in keeping building occupants safe.
National Building Safety Week is an annual tribute that reinforces the
important public safety role that building inspectors play throughout
Illinois and across the U.S. This year the event takes place May 5-11,
2008. This year's theme is "Building Safety: Where You Live, Work and
Sponsored by the International Code Council (ICC), Building Safety Week
shines a national light on the importance of construction measures that
protect the lives of residents, occupants and emergency responders.
"At least 60 percent of the ICC's International Building Code pertains to fire safety," said Tom Lia, NIFSAB's Executive Director. "These important
provisions help protect people from fire in all types of occupancies. But
unless sprinklers are required, the codes don't go far enough."
Fire sprinklers should be required routinely, regardless of a
building's size. "Pinning sprinkler installation to a certain square
footage minimum is outdated, and frankly an unsafe practice," Lia said.
"Forward-thinking community leaders have made our state the national leader
in 'zero tolerance', or zero square foot thresholds for sprinkler
installation requirements. Now that is a public safety concept that makes
sense. We applaud the building, fire and elected officials in the 170
communities and fire districts in Illinois who have made progressive
upgrades to the model codes by moving forward zero fire tolerance."
Lia said National Building Safety Week also is a great time to
recognize all the building and fire inspectors who work together to make
the daily plan review and inspection decisions for the safety of the
According to Lia whether the building is a high-rise apartment or
commercial, a school, hotel, strip mall or single family home, fire
sprinklers save lives. The time-tested technology is recognized within the
fire service and broader fire safety field as being the number-one means to
suppress or control structural fire in its early stages.
"Because each sprinkler is activated by heat, a fire sprinkler stops a
fire from spreading and prevents deadly flashover," Lia said. "Because the
fire is contained, fire sprinklers prevent widespread property loss, which
is not only good for the building owner, it's good for employees and the
No other technology provides the level of life safety and property
protection that a fire sprinkler system can and does. Building Safety Week
reinforces the importance of fire safety provisions in building codes,
including strong requirements for fire sprinkler system installation,
testing and maintenance in every structure.