The Village of Gurnee, Illinois chose life safety when it adopted its residential code requiring fire sprinklers in all one- and two-family dwelling construction. With this action, Gurnee joins another 75 communities in the state that have already adopted a residential code with fire sprinkler requirements.
After a contentious battle pitting the life safety community against the usual opponents, the Board of Trustees voted 4-2 yesterday in favor of the requirement. NFPA joined the effort by writing letters to the board and a letter to Trib Local Gurnee from NFPA President Jim Shannon, in which he refuted the usual “red herring” arguments brought up by opponents in Gurnee.
This victory counted on the effort of many advocates working together to make it a reality. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinklers Advisory Board (NIFSAB) led the charge and conducted live burn demonstrations to the trustees. Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) educational materials were also provided before the key vote. “We had to fight and counter the realtors association opposition and anti-fire sprinkler campaign of misinformation to trustees, and residents through a series of mailings and robo calls…and e-mails to the trustees to oppose the ordinance” said Tom Lia, Executive Director of NISAB.
If your community is considering the inclusion of fire sprinklers in its code you can obtain model language for adoption from this site. Visit the Research/Reports and Resources section to obtain additional statistical information and advocacy tools.