Sustainably Speaking

Everyone has a vested interest, what’s yours?

If you haven’t already heard, Pa. H.B. 377 was signed, repealing the fire sprinkler mandate that I reported on back in March. Click here to read the article.

As this has always been a controversial issue, many fire sprinkler advocates are disappointed with the passage of this Pennsylvania bill. Click here to read my article on the recent repeal.

When talking with John A. Viniello, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, he mentioned that Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana vetoed similar legislation.

"Unfortunately, Gov. Corbett lacked the political will to do the right thing to safeguard the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Viniello. “Placing political expediency before life safety will cause life loss in newly constructed homes ... it's not a question of ‘if’ this will happen only a question of ‘when.’ Gov. Schweitzer of Montana vetoed similar legislation.”

Schweitzer vetoed H.B. 307 by Republican Rep. Tom Burnett that would have prohibited state building codes from requiring fire sprinklers in some residential buildings.

In the article Gov. Vetoes Sprinkler Bill by Andy Malby, editor of The Belgrade News, it is noted, “Schweitzer said ‘serious public safety concerns’ prompted him to reject the legislation after lawmakers rejected his proposed amendments, which Burnett said canceled out the intent behind the bill — to avoid having to install fire sprinklers, which he said could cost $3,000 and $15,000.”

“He [Schweitzer] gets it, Gov. Corbett doesn't,” said Viniello. “When he reads these comments he will accuse us of having a vested interest. I'll save him some time ... of course we do ... but unlike the homebuilders who also have a vested interest, the vested interest we represent protects property and save lives and has for more than 100 years...”

I agree with Viniello… Of course there is vested interest regardless of what side of the issue you are on.

As a citizen, my vested interest is safety. I don’t like living in a mid-rise apartment that has no fire sprinklers, and when I buy a condo or house, I rather purchase one that has a fire sprinkler system installed.

So, what’s your interest and why? Is it safety, housing costs, profit, intrusion on individual liberty? I’d like to hear from you regarding this. Please comment on my blog or comment on my recent article about the repeal of the Pennsylvania fire sprinkler mandate.

Side note: On May 26, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed HF460, a bill prohibiting the State Building Code, State Fire Code, or any jurisdiction from requiring fire sprinkler systems in single family homes.

In his veto letter to the Speaker of the House, Dayton wrote, “Evidence supports the use of sprinklers in promoting the safety of home residents and their property. Further, the concerns brought forward by fire safety professionals need to be addressed. They cite the fact that newly built homes burn more quickly and that more of their fire fighters are being injured when floors collapse during fires. With sprinkler systems in place, fires can be more easily contained, resulting in fewer injuries. I simply do not see how we can further jeopardize the lives of the individuals whose mission is to protect the public and who risk their lives on a daily basis. For these reasons, I have vetoed this bill.”