KSPR: Mandatory Fire Sprinklers for Homes Could Come in 2012

KSPR 33 news reported that the Springfield Fire Department is already pushing for mandatory fire sprinkler systems in all new homes, when Missouri’s current moratorium on such honerous mandates expires at the end of 2011.

In 2009 the city decided not to adopt the current code which would, if adopted in its entirety, be illegal under state law because it requires sprinklers in all new homes. Currently the state of Missouri prevents cities from requiring sprinklers be put in new homes. Instead, builders are required to provide homebuyers information that gives them details on the option to put sprinklers in the house, including cost and safety considerations.

HBA of Greater Springfield CEO Matt Morrow was interviewed for the story and emphasized that the focus should be put on older homes built before modern building codes were in place where nearly all residential fire deaths take place. You can news story that aired on Thursday, August 26 below:

Morrow also provided KSPR with a series of documented studies demonstrating that fire deaths happen in older homes (not new ones) and that analyzed the cost per life saved of fire sprinkler systems versus any number of other ways communities might invest dollars to increase safety (widening roads, for example). The cost per life saved of mandating fire sprinkler systems in new homes is 792 times more costly than the average of the other ways communities could spend money on life safety (that’s 79,200 percent higher cost per life saved than the other choices). KSPR chose not to utilize the information, but it can be accessed by clicking here.

Thanks to the work of the HBA affiliates in Missouri, the state legislature passed a law last year requiring builders to OFFER installation of a fire sprinkler system at the purchaser’s expense and it stated that no permitting jurisdiction can currently adopt a code requiring residential fire sprinklers. But that law sunsets December 31, 2011. To document compliance with this state law, builders who build custom homes or sell spec homes are encouraged have the purchaser fill out the the Residential Fire Sprinkler Option Form, which was developed by the state‚Äôs HBA affiliates in partnership with the Missouri Fire Service Alliance. Home buyers should sign this form as part of the official purchase documentation to record the offer and compliance with state law. Builders are then asked to share a copy with the HBA for response tracking. To download the form, click here. An educational brochure for consumers is also available, outling the cost and safety considerations of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems. Download a copy of the brochure by clicking here.