TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On June 26th, Governor Rick Scott of Florida vetoed HB 653, a bill that would have allowed high–rise buildings in Florida without adequate fire and life safety systems to forego the retrofit of fire sprinklers and/or engineered life safety systems in these buildings that are currently required to come into compliance by 2020.
The recent Grenfell Tower fire in London underscored the importance of fire sprinklers and Governor Rick Scott understood the ramifications. His actions were bold and hopefully lay the groundwork for a new era of policy makers who understand the impact of fire.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), Common Voices, and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors all join to applaud Governor Scott for being a proactive leader who includes fire sprinklers to ensure quality of life for citizens and visitors of Florida.
In his veto letter, Governor Scott explained his decision, "Fire sprinklers and enhanced life safety systems are particularly effective in improving the safety of occupants in high-rise buildings and ensure the greatest protection to the emergency responders who bravely conduct firefighting and rescue operations."
"As someone who has been directly affected by fire, I implore more policy makers to follow Governor Scott's lead," explained Vina Drennan of the non-profit advocates' coalition Common Voices. "My husband, Captain John Drennan died in the line of duty as an FDNY firefighter and I've devoted my efforts to sharing information about fire & life safety and ways to be proactive. Inclusion of fire sprinklers is priority number one."
In a sense, Governor Scott's proactive veto for life safety speaks for those who will become advocates, as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. In his veto letter, he explained, "While I am particularly sensitive to regulations that increase the cost of living, the recent London high-rise fire, which tragically took at least 79 lives, illustrates the importance of life safety protections."
"We hope this veto will encourage other states to stand with America's fire service and citizens alike," adds Chief Ron Siarnicki, NFFF Executive Director. "Firefighter and citizen lives will be saved as a result of this proactive decision that supports the NFFF Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, specifically Initiative 15. We need more policy makers that understand how life safety does impact quality of life, as well as preserving life."
"As a survivor of the Station Nightclub Fire, I understand the fire problem in America better than most," explains Rob Feeney, a fire safety advocate for Common Voices and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. "I lost friends and loved ones in that fire and it amazes me that we don't have laws that can prevent this from happening again by requiring fire sprinklers. My hope is that everyone will see what happened in London and know that it can happen in America."
"As a former mayor, fire chief and state fire marshal, I know there is a way to bring all stakeholders together that will receive benefit for doing the right thing. I am in awe of the advocates who have stepped forward to help Governor Scott understand the significance of this veto," added Shane Ray, President of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. "The Grenfell Tower fire in London helped Governor Scott understand fire and it's devastating impact on our world."
Businesses and advocates are all interested in life safety and sustainability. Everyone's success is a key to the quality of life in any community. Blame after the fact never does anything positive, this veto is an example of good decision making where a balance of life safety and sustainable businesses can co-exist.
Federal legislation (S.602 & H.R. 1481), filed in the 115th Congress, would provide incentives to owners to retrofit with fire sprinklers. This legislation is what America is all about, a public/private partnership that keeps citizens and firefighters safe while saving businesses money. Hopefully, America's congressional leaders will realize that this legislation can help prevent tragedies like those that happened last week in London.
For more details about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's Life Safety Initiatives, please visit www.firehero.org. NFFF was created by Congress to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, non-profit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.
About Common Voices: Common Voices (www.fireadvocates.org) is an advocates' coalition of members who all have been directly affected by fire. By bringing their voices together, they hope to educate others regarding fire and its devastating impact. Their mission is to create a fire-safe America by sharing their stories, creating resources that educate and sharing fire statistics.
About Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors: Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading non-profit organization helping burn survivors meet their challenges with the community support and tools they need to thrive again, and to ensure that no survivor ever has to make that journey alone. Working with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, fire service professionals, we are uniting the voice of the burn community across the globe to profoundly advance lifelong healing, optimal recovery, and burn prevention. www.phoenix-society.org
For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit www.nfsa.org for the latest material, statistics, and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world.
For more information about the International Fire Sprinkler Association (IFSA) visit www.firesprinkler.global - our vision remains for us to be the worldwide center for information on automatic water-based fire suppression systems and the leader in advancing the widespread use of such systems. To see the latest information from the IFSA on the London fire, click here http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-findings-show-sprinkler-system-could-have-prevented-london-tragedy-300479825.html
Contact: Vickie Pritchett
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fire-organizations-applaud-florida-governor-scott-for-veto-of-bill-that-would-have-weakened-fire-codes-300480666.html
SOURCE National Fire Sprinkler Association