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AFSA, NFSA, ICC & CPSE Sign Historical Agreement

Courtesy of the Center for Public Safety Excellence

From Left: Buddy Dewar, Vice President of Regional Operations, NFSA; Randy Bruegman, President, CPSE; Janet Knowles, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, AFSA; and, Jay Peters, Executive Director, ICC PMG.

More than 3,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives each year to fires and 84% of those who die do so in their homes. While smoke alarms provide an early warning signal of smoke or fire, fire sprinklers respond to fires while they are still small, controlling the spread of deadly heat, flames and toxic smoke, as well as saving valuable property. The 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) provides a provision that requires newly constructed one- and two-family houses to include the installation of life-saving fire sprinkler systems, designed to dramatically reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the home caused by fires.

To address the huge upswing in demand for professionals who are accredited to install residential fire sprinkler systems driven by these new regulations, the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), International Code Council (ICC), National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), and American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding during Fire-Rescue International in Chicago on August 27, 2010, to jointly advance and promote the mutual interest of fire protection safety and accreditation.

Supported by its partners, the CPSE will soon begin forming a technical committee with broad-based representation to develop the criteria and structure for an accreditation for professional dwelling fire sprinkler installers.  The successful work of this technical committee will lead to the creation of a new Commission for the Accreditation for Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractors. Using the CPSE accreditation model, many stakeholders will be brought together to form this new commission to jointly develop programs for accreditation, leveraging their collective knowledge, provisions and expertise.

The timing of this agreement couldn’t be better: approved fire sprinkler systems will be required in all one- and two-family dwellings constructed after the 2009 IRC is adopted or on January 1, 2011, whichever is later.

While there are professionals who are well trained to install commercial fire sprinklers, the demand for qualified residential fire sprinkler contractors is growing at a tremendous rate.  Given the dependence on the life-saving benefits of fire sprinklers in residential properties, it is imperative that there is a system to ensure quality installation.

Once this program is launched, and the Commission has been formalized and becomes active, the Accredited Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractor program will not only provide the public a greater peace of mind but also local AHJs with the confidence that all dwelling fire sprinkler installations are performed by qualified companies.

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