ORLAND PARK, Ill., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The non-profit Northern
Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) believes the Huntley
Village Board decision to rescind an ordinance requiring residential fire
sprinkler systems in all new single-family homes is a giant step backward
when it comes to life-safety for its residents and firefighters.
During a board meeting Thursday night, the Huntley Village Board voted
4-2 to reverse the two-year-old ordinance citing the cost of installing and
maintaining the sprinklers prevented new homes from being competitively
priced with neighboring communities. Since the ordinance was passed, more
than 1,300 single-family homes are protected with fire sprinklers.
Tom Lia, NIFSAB's Executive Director who attended the meeting said the
board members who voted to reverse the ordinance did not provide facts
supporting the removal of the ordinance. "It was clear that these trustees
had other motives, other than the life-safety of their residents and
firefighters," Lia said. "Trustee Niko Kanakaris, who voted against the
ordinance admitted that he's getting ready to start developing a six home
subdivision in Huntley. He should have abstained his vote because of
conflict of interest."
According to Lia, facts about residential fire sprinkler systems
support the trend for communities locally and nationally to pass
residential fire sprinkler ordinances. Currently, there are 50 Chicago area
municipalities/fire districts that require fire sprinklers. Six have passed
their ordinances in the last year.
"I feel for Huntley Fire Chief Jim Saletta," Lia said. "He worked hard
to pass the ordinance two years ago and to defend it last night. More than
50 members of the fire service from surrounding communities, many chiefs
and marshals, attended the meeting to show their support. Not a single
resident voiced their opposition. Even a homebuilder supported the
sprinkler ordinance," Lia added. "It's frustrating when elected officials
don't support their own safety leaders."
Lia said the reversal is an embarrassment for Huntley. In addition to
local fire officials watching the decision, many national safety
organizations will be disappointed to hear about the ordinance reversal.
Those organizations include the National Fire Protection Association, Home
Safety Council and the U.S. Fire Administration.
According to a May 2007 press release from the USFA, national support
for residential sprinklers has been a long and important project for USFA.
"Since 2001, then USFA Fire Administrator R. David Paulison and I have
made it a point to endorse local sprinkler ordinances, and recruit all fire
service leaders to embrace sprinklers in all commercial and residential
properties," said Acting USFA Assistant Administrator Charlie Dickinson.
"Every firefighter in this nation, running into buildings people are
running from, knows first hand the lives smoke alarms and sprinklers are
saving across this nation."
According to the NFPA, most fire deaths occur in the home. Three of
NFPA's model codes require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in
new construction of one- and two-family homes.
"We've already heard from dozens of fire safety experts from around the
country who were disappointed to hear about the Huntley vote," Lia said.
"It's sad to see a community take a progressive approach with life-safety,
then take a giant step backwards two years later."
NIFSAB is a non-profit organization composed of fire officials,
contractors, building officials, suppliers, architects, engineers, and
manufacturers. NIFSAB is dedicated to educating and informing the public
and elected and appointed officials of the vital role that fire sprinklers
play in fire protection.
For more information visit http://www.firesprinklerassoc.org.
SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board