The Residential Sprinkler Initiative Committee supports and assists local fire service and governmental groups in establishing requirements for residential fire sprinkler systems in new one – and two-family dwellings. The Committee is educating personnel of our member companies, governmental agencies, legislators, builders, developers, realtors, and citizens on the facts about residential fire sprinklers and their benefits. NFPA statistics show that residential fire sprinklers reduce fire deaths in homes by over 80%, and can reduce property loss by as much as 71%.
Our partners in this effort include the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI), the Fire Prevention Committee of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, the NFPA, the NFFF, the NFSA, and most county firefighter associations.
Committee meetings are held periodically and are scheduled about a month ahead.
HB 366 and SB 602 (2012) were signed into law by Governor O’Malley, and became effective on October 1, 2012. This law strengthens the residential fire sprinkler requirements for new homes and will disallow local jurisdictions from opting out of residential fire sprinkler provisions of the Maryland Building Performance Standards.
A bill was introduced in the 2016 Legisltive Session to allow counties to “opt out” of the residential fire sprinkler requirements of the 2015 International Residential Code as adopted for the state by the DHCD. With the help of the Maryland fire service, we were able to keep this bill from ever making it to the floor of either house of the legislature. The efforts to squash this bill were being led by the MSFA Legislative Committee and officers, the Maryland Fire Chiefs, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the NFPA, the NFFF, and some county associations.
We can protect our fire safety laws if we all come together. Certainly, we will continue to battle the lack of knowledge of some legislators in future sessions. We must and we will be prepared to meet this challenge. A potential challenge has risen in the 2019 Legislative session which the MSFA is watching closely.