The 2009, 2012 and 2015 editions of the International Residential Code contain a mandate for fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. However, ensuring every home in in the United States had at least one working smoke alarm would save around 890 lives each year. This would benefit low-income families and not just those who can afford a new home with fire sprinklers.
NAHB continues to counter emotional arguments with reason, facts and common sense, as we did in our recent responses to a typical PR push and in an article that Fire Protection Engineering asked us to write.
That’s one reason why the overwhelming majority of states and local jurisdictions have adopted the model codes without the fire sprinkler mandate and instead make fire sprinklers a voluntary decision by the home buyer. Many HBAs have used this “Fire Sprinkler Action Kit” successfully when testifying at local code hearings and when speaking to their elected officials. The map below provides an overview of the status of residential fire sprinkler mandates in each state. You can also download more details, maps and tables.
Use these compiled questions and answers to help refute opponents who would push for mandates. The responses are divided by topic area so it’s easier to cut and paste when you write your responses. Contact NAHB for examples of legislative language used by HBAs in their efforts to keep fire sprinklers a voluntary measure for one- and two-family homes.
- Smoke Alarms Work (PDF)
- Contacting Your Code Officials – Sample Talking Points (revised 2013)
- NFPA 13D Technical Requirement Concerns
- Residential Fire Sprinklers — Problems with NFPA 13D
- NAHB Policy on Low-Cost Fire Sprinklers
- NAHB Policy on Cost-effective Fire and Life-Safety Requirements