AFSA, NFSA, ICC, CPSE ink agreement on sprinkler installer certification

CHICAGO — 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 home. The 2009 International Residential Code 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), the International Code Council, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, and the American Fire Sprinkler Association signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding during Fire Rescue International in Chicago to jointly advance and promote the mutual interest of fire protection safety and accreditation.

The associations previously announced a fire sprinkler installer accreditation effort, but the group did not include AFSA (see “Associations partner for home fire sprinkler contractor accreditation,” May 2010, http://bit.ly/aqTm1T).

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 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.

Approved fire sprinkler systems will be required in all one- and two-family dwellings constructed after the 2009 IRC is adopted or on Jan. 1, 2011, whichever is later.

While there are professionals who are well trained to install commercial fire sprinklers, the demand for qualified residential sprinkler contractors is growing at a tremendous rate. Given the dependence on the life-saving benefits of fire sprinklers in residential properties, the four partners believe 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 provide not only 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.

Additional information is available at www.firesprinkler.org/news/FRIMOUAnnouncement.pdf.

The American Fire Sprinkler Association is a non-profit, international association representing fire sprinkler contractors, dedicated to the educational advancement of its members and promotion of the use of fire sprinkler systems. AFSA was organized in 1981 to provide the fire sprinkler contractor with training, consulting, communication, representation and many more services, all of which have expanded over its existence. Additional information is available at www.firesprinkler.org.

ICC publishes building safety, energy efficiency and fire prevention codes that are used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Additional information is available at www.iccsafe.org.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence is dedicated to helping local public safety agencies worldwide to streamline and improve services to their communities. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides a host of programs, including accreditation and education programs for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations. Additional information is available at www.publicsafetyexcellence.org.

Established in 1905, NFSA is the voice of the fire sprinkler industry. NFSA leads the drive to get life-saving fire sprinklers into all buildings, provides support and resources for its members-fire sprinkler contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, and educates authorities having jurisdiction of fire control matters. Headquartered in Patterson, N.Y., NFSA has regional operations offices nationwide. Additional information is available at www.nfsa.org.