The fight over home fire sprinklers continues, but NFPA and two allies are moving ahead on developing accreditation programs for their installers.

Big Push Coming for Home Fire Sprinklers

A $746,438 grant to the National Fire Protection Association from FEMA backs the national awareness campaign, "Faces of Fire," to communicate fires' impact. NFPA and two allied groups also are developing accreditation programs for home fire sprinkler contractors.

The results of a $746,438 grant given by FEMA to the National Fire Protection Association will soon be visible nationwide. The grant supports a national awareness campaign, "Faces of Fire," to communicate fires' impact. NFPA argues sprinklers should be required in newly built one- and two-story homes.

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home blog offers updates on the ongoing battle over residential sprinkler requirements, which remain in the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) but are being dropped in some jurisdictions that have adopted the code without the provision.

The International Code Council, which maintains the IRC, signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month with the Center for Public Safety Excellence and the National Fire Sprinkler Association to create a new Commission for the Accreditation for Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractors that will develop accreditation programs. "The program will ensure that the entire industry has access to a superior level of training and have taken the ICC Residential Fire Sprinkler Design and Installation Exam, which is critical to enable construction projects to be completed on schedule and ensure quality installation," ICC said April 15. "These highly qualified experts will be accredited by a well respected, nationally recognized organization. This will provide home buyers, contractors and fire and life safety agencies with an added sense of security in knowing these fire sprinkler systems will be properly designed and installed."

About 3,000 people die in fires annually in the United States, with more than 80 percent of those deaths occurring in home fires. "We have long known the life-saving benefits of sprinklers in many types of buildings. It is critical to bring this technology into homes where the vast majority of fire deaths occur," said James M. Shannon, president and CEO of NFPA, which launched its Fire Sprinkler Initiative nationally in 2009 to encourage the adoption the home fire sprinkler requirements in new one- and two-family homes.

The grant was awarded under the 2009 Assistance to Firefighters – Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program. The money will be used for outreach, added materials on the initiative's Web site, paid advertisements, and social media including a YouTube video campaign featuring fire victims. NFPA also will host representatives from each state for a training meeting.

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