Fire Sprinkler Group Says Huntley Board's Decision to Reverse Ordinance Requiring Home Fire Sprinklers a Step Backwards for Residents and Firefighters
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
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