IAFC Backs Bill Encouraging Faster Adoption of Current Codes

Testimony on Capitol Hill by the organization's first vice president on July 24 supported H.R. 2069, which would add a 4 percent incentive to FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to encourage states to adopt the latest building codes.

Saying it would increase preparedness against fires and other disasters, the first vice president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Chief Hank Clemmensen, spoke in support of H.R. 2069 when he testified July 24 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The bill would add a 4 percent incentive to FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to encourage states to adopt the latest building codes.

Clemmensen's testimony stressed the high cost of fires, windstorms, earthquakes, and other disasters in the United States; fires alone cost an estimated $331 billion in 2009, he said, according to IAFC.

He said much of the damage to buildings and the danger to the lives of members of the public and first responders could be avoided this way. He mentioned three issues for the committee to consider:

  • The importance of states adopting model codes, including residential fire-sprinkler requirements, without making substantial changes
  • The importance of allowing local jurisdictions to adopt more stringent codes than the state model codes
  • The importance of ensuring that both building and fire codes are covered by the bill

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