About the Initiative
The New York Sprinkler Initiative is a group of fire and life safety advocates urging the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council (NYS Code Council) to adopt the most recent building codes. With the advent of lightweight construction in new homes and townhomes, the initiative believes it is necessary to install fire sprinklers in order to protect homeowners and firefighters. If sprinklers are installed, residents will have time to escape the fire and firefighters will have more time to fight the fire before it grows out of control.
Although the NYS Code Council has adopted the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) with an amendment removing the requirement for residential sprinklers, the initiative will continue to advocate for improved fire safety in townhouses. It is the hope of the initiative that the NYS Code Council can be convinced to include a requirement for sprinklers in townhouses when the final version of the code is implemented in 2016. The initiative will also continue to advocate for fire sprinkler installation in newly constructed one- and two-family homes.
To join the coalition or for more information, contact Jerry DeLuca.
Safety Advocate Pitches to Sprinkler All Residences Following Campus Housing Fire
A 2016 campus housing fire has prompted debate on the state of these settings. While certain laws have improved on- and off-campus safety, an advocate wants to take safety a step further. "Calling for college residences across New York State to be updated with modern fire sprinklers is absolutely the right thing to do, and will dramatically improve fire safety across New York’s many colleges and universities," Jerry DeLuca, member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative and executive director/CEO of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, wrote in a letter to the editor. "But sprinkler technology should also be made standard in new residential construction."
Read his full response by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.
New Campaign Educates New Yorkers on Home Fire Sprinklers
The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs has launched a multi-media campaign aimed at educating residents about the life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers. Made possible by FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention & Safety Grant Program, the campaign is partly aimed at dispelling the many myths of sprinklers, particularly that they are costly to install. A report commissioned by NFPA found that the average cost to install fire sprinklers in a new home is $1.35 per sprinklered square foot. While housing costs vary from region to region, the overall cost of home fire sprinklers ends up being around one percent of the total new build cost.
Watch the following public service announcement produced for the campaign:
Take Action Today in Support of Home Fire Sprinklers
Members of the New York Sprinkler Initiative hand delivered more than 2,000 letters to the New York Department of State in support of sprinkering the state's new townhomes.
The Initiative has advocated for the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to adopt the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) in its entirety, including the provision to require sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. Unfortunately, the 2015 IRC was adopted but the sprinkler provision was removed. The Initiative is now gathering support for requiring home fire sprinklers in newly constructed townhouses. This would be a first step in assuring these life-saving devices are installed in new residences statewide.
Please sign and send this letter to Mark Blanke with the New York Department of State's Division of Code Enforcement, urging the Code Council to include sprinklers. Use these talking points when stating your case for fire sprinklers to the public or media.
For additional resources, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Advocacy and Awareness Toolkit page created by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.
Fire Sprinkler Demonstrations Wow Crowds
In front of 300 people, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) and the Henrietta Fire District conducted a dramatic demonstration on October 10, 2015, to illustrate the effectiveness of home fire sprinklers in saving lives and reducing damage. Two simulated rooms were set on fire, one protected by sprinklers and the other non-sprinklered.
The live fire demonstration showed that the room without sprinklers quickly reached a temperature that caused flashover, or the spontaneous combustion of all the contents in the room. In the room protected by sprinklers, the fire was controlled. In a real-world situation, this would have given residents time to safely escape, minimized the risk to firefighters who responded, and significantly reduced property damage.
“The participants at the demonstration very clearly saw the difference a home fire sprinkler can make in protecting them and their families in a fire," said Jerry DeLuca, NYSAFC executive director and member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative. "The comments I heard from parents of young children prove that we are getting our point across. The demonstration showed them that the cost of a sprinklered home is a small price for parents to pay in exchange for the peace of mind knowing that their families will be able to escape and be safe in case of a fire."
Another demonstration took place in Plattsburgh on December 4, 2015. The event attracted the media, including the Press Republican. For photos from the event, visit NYSAFC's Facebook page.