Glenn Gaines, deputy U.S. fire administrator

Home Fire Sprinklers Kept in Building Code

The International Code Council voted Wednesday night to preserve the decision made last year, IAFC said. Glenn Gaines, deputy U.S. fire administrator, spoke passionately about the need for residential sprinklers.

The International Code Council’s 2009 Code Development Hearings and Annual Conference in Baltimore produced the result the International Association of Fire Chiefs (www.iafc.org) hoped for: The decision made in Minneapolis last year for a residential-sprinkler mandate was upheld. "In addition, the ICC voting members defeated (by an overwhelming majority) a floor motion to overturn the committee vote last night. It's now very clear: ICC members have sent the strongest message possible on the importance of residential sprinklers," IAFC said in its announcement.

IAFC said the fire service and the building officials will continue to work together to ensure the building codes continue to call for sprinklers for newly constructed one- and two-family dwellings. "The IAFC intends to maintain this level of commitment at the state and local level until the IRC provisions are adopted," the association said, noting that testimony from Glenn Gaines, deputy U.S. fire administrator, and Chief Jeff Johnson, IAFC president and chairman of the board, helped to preserve the mandate.

"Last year in Minneapolis, the International Code Council membership culminated an effort that has lasted more than 30 years, but it is important to emphasize that Minneapolis was not a one-time event," Gaines said. "Model codes have been moving towards where we are today for decades. I ask those of us assembled here today, on what basis would we look to step backwards from this point? Is it not inevitable that we would eventually put a sprinkler requirement back into the IRC anyway? And, if so, what good would be served in delaying the inevitable? It is simply time for us to move forward. On behalf of this nation's fire chiefs, I would like to express our willingness to work with the homebuilders and others, to step onto a common path that ends with homes that are fire-safe in America."

IAFC represents leaders of 1.2 million firefighters and emergency responders.

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