WASHINGTON — 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. While smoke alarms provide an early warning signal of smoke or fire, sprinklers installed in ceilings respond to fires while they are still small. In an attempt to save lives and property, in September 2008, the International Code Council adopted an amendment to its 2009 International Residential Code that mandates that beginning Jan. 1, 2011, all new one- and two-family residential dwellings along with town-homes be equipped with fire sprinklers.
To address the huge upswing in demand for contractors who are accredited to install residential fire sprinkler systems driven by these new regulations, The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), the ICC, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding that includes the creation of a new Commission for the Accreditation for Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Contractors.
Using the CPSE accreditation model, many additional stakeholders will be brought together to form this newly formed commission to jointly develop programs for accreditation, leveraging their collective knowledge, provisions and expertise. Although this initiative originated with the three organizations, the groups are inviting all construction professionals to lend their support to help evolve and grow the residential sprinkler initiative. The collective participation of the construction community will ensure that the industry is fully trained and qualified.
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. State and local governments must adopt the 2009 IRC for the sprinkler provisions to take effect.
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, it is imperative that there is a system to ensure quality installation. The program will ensure that the industry has access to a superior level of training and have taken the ICC Residential Fire Sprinkler Design and Installation Exam, which is critical to enable construction projects to be completed on schedule and ensure quality installation.
These experts will be accredited by a nationally recognized organization. This will provide homebuyers, contractors and fire and life safety agencies with an added sense of security in knowing these fire sprinkler systems will be properly designed and installed.
Click here for additional information on the accreditation program, IRC fire sprinkler code provisions, or about fire prevention and safety.