Position

Fire Sprinklers in New Construction

The International Association of Fire Chiefs adopts the position that all new construction, including one- and two-family dwellings, should be built with fire sprinklers installed to protect the public, fire service personnel, the structure, its contents, the economy and the environment.

In an effort to reduce the number of deaths from an average of 3,000 citizens and 100 firefighters annually and to avert billions of dollars annually in property loss to the effects of fire, we must include fire sprinklers as an integral part of a community’s fire protection. The increased demands made today on local fire departments, usually without increased staffing or funding, and the changes in building materials and home contents, all increase the risk to firefighters and the public. It’s timeto add active fire protection as a baseline in all new construction.

The time is now for the fire service to adapt to the changes in construction techniques; as new technologies becomes the norm in construction (light-weight construction, etc.), and as building contents become more flammable and more toxic as they burn. We must protect our communities in non-traditional ways with proactive, rather than reactive, approaches. The current built environment and furnishings necessitate the additional protection of built-in fire protection. Fire sprinklers will provide the active protection needed to reduce the fire risk of these new building components to citizens and firefighters.

We further state that we do not support and will oppose regulations that prevent or discourage the installation of fire sprinklers. We also stand against fees and charges that create economic barriers to the installation of fire sprinklers. We support incentives for business owners and citizens to protect their buildings, thus protecting our citizens, their property and fire service personnel.

This position statement supports the priorities of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and we pledge to work with IAFC sections, IAFC divisions, and other organizations which are interested in being proactive in providing community fire protection. We welcome partners and collaborative efforts that support similar goals. It’s time for us all to take action.

ADOPTED BY: IAFC Board of Directors on March 13, 2008

Download the Fire Sprinklers in New Construction (pdf)