Here’s why amendments and add-ons to home fire sprinkler requirements should be avoided

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By Fred Durso, Jr.

The reasons are endless as to why California is considered the “Golden State.” For instance, its decision to require home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes certainly exemplified its golden status among sprinkler supporters. While the requirements are officially on the books, educating the public and jurisdictions on these systems and the standards guiding it is far from over.

In an effort to showcase the importance and cost-effective aspects of sprinkler standards, the hardworking members of the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition recently released the white paper “Limit Local Amendments to Residential Sprinkler Requirements.” The report highlights the benefits of NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, and why any amendments or alterations to the standard at the local level can produce unintended consequences.

“NFPA 13D was developed to provide a cost-effective means to provide occupants 10 minutes to evacuate a home safely,” states the white paper. “The goal was to provide the greatest life safety for occupants of residential dwellings at the lowest possible cost.

“Changing design or installation requirements for perceived added benefit could be disastrous. What may appear to be minor amendments to the…standard can have a significant effect on the proper operation during a fire incident.”

Read the white paper for additional details and for an overview of California’s statewide sprinkler adoption that took effect in 2011.

Source:: NFPA – Fire Sprinkler Initiative

Michael S. Williams

Michael S. Williams

Williams founded the Fire Services Training Institute in 1995 to find solutions to the challenges confronting the volunteer fire service. He has been an active member of California State Firefighters Association (CSFA) since 1994, having served on the volunteer and public relations committees, and as a southern division deputy director. He sits on several local organizations including the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and is a founding member of the Santa Barbara PIO group Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC). He has been the author of many articles and a columnist for a local newspaper on public safety matters. He is also the co-host of Community Alert on KZSB AM-1290 in Santa Barbara. Williams has been a member of the California State Board of Fire Services since 2008. Prior to becoming involved in the volunteer fire service, Williams was a California police officer for 12 ½ years and a POST certified Field Training Officer. He is a licensed private investigator and security consultant specializing in self-insured, government and insurance defense assignments.


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