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New Guide Helps Jurisdictions Implement Residential Fire Sprinkler Requirements

Fire officials across the country are adopting residential fire sprinkler requirements, but what happens after a jurisdiction adopts a model code or ordinance? Addressing this challenge is the mission of a grant-funded guide and workshops developed by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation) and the Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI).

The comprehensive guide, entitled “Bridging the Gap: A Guide to Implementing a Residential Sprinkler Requirement,” has been developed to help jurisdictions answer the question, “We have established a residential fire sprinkler requirement – now what?” The guide addresses the planning, management and administration of residential fire sprinkler requirements after they have been established in a community. The guide provides information regarding policy issues, stakeholder involvement and critical decision points. Also provided is detailed information on incentives that can be offered to builders, developers and home owners; extensive links to best practices from jurisdictions around the country that have successfully carried out residential sprinkler requirements; and sample checklists and other model documents that will be helpful in the implementation process.

“Excellent guidance is available from other sources on how to actually get a residential fire sprinkler requirement passed,” said Lane Wintermute, RFSI Field Director. “The ‘Bridging the Gap’ guide is designed to complement and provide follow up to those efforts by taking jurisdictions the next few steps – showing them how to effectively manage the plans review, inspection, installation and approval process that is critical to assuring a properly operating systems when a fire occurs.”

Chief Alan Shuman, NASFM Foundation President and Georgia State Fire Marshal, adds, “There is no reason for a community to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when it comes to implementing a residential fire sprinkler ordinance.  The ‘Bridging the Gap’ guide contains models and best practices from jurisdictions that have worked through these issues and are willing to share what they have learned with others.”

The development of the guidebook and a series of 10 workshops to introduce it to the fire service in the first half of 2011 were funded with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Fire Prevention & Safety Grants Program.

About the Residential Fire Safety Institute

RFSI, formerly known as Operation Life Safety, was created in 1982 as a public interest group to promote fire-safe homes through built-in fire protection and fire safety education. RFSI’s activities include a newsletter, website, educational resources and technical assistance to fire departments, local and state governments on programs that involve residential fire sprinklers, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, and other early warning equipment.

About the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation

The National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation), a 501(c)(3) organization, works with companies, government agencies, associations, academic institutions and others that strive to achieve higher levels of fire safety for consumers and for the emergency response community. The NASFM Foundation is managed by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), whose members are the senior fire officials and their chief deputies in the 50 US States and the District of Columbia. NASFM’s primary mission is to protect life, property and the environment from fire and related hazards.

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