ORLAND PARK, Ill., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Effective
immediately, fire protection districts in the state may now offer financial
incentive to encourage and reward homeowners who install automatic fire
sprinkler systems to protect their homes.
On August 12, 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed HB4687, a bill that
establishes the right for fire protection district trustees to award
monetary grants to the owners of single-family homes when they install a
qualifying fire sprinkler system (installed and maintained in accordance
with national standards and certified locally).
The bill was introduced in January 2008 by Rep. Donald L. Moffitt
(R-74th). Representatives Mike Boland (D-71st) and Michael K. Smith
(D-91st) sponsored it in the House, and Sen. Michael W. Frerichs (D-52nd)
in the Senate. The bill passed the General Assembly on the first attempt.
"The fast track of this legislation speaks to its relevance and value
to our state," says Tom Lia, Executive Director of the Northern Illinois
Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). "We applaud Gov. Blagojevich for
his recognition of that and for his prompt action to get the grants up and
The Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts (IAFPD) initiated
the idea for the program. It gives the trustees a method to reward
homeowner action that helps their districts reduce fire protection costs.
The trustees will determine the grant amounts in accordance with the direct
impact that sprinkler-protected homes will have on their districts.
"This is a true departure from classic top-down legislation," Lia adds.
"With this bill, the districts are in the driver's seat, determining what
is best for their constituents. It's an original approach and a strategy
that will pay the districts financial and public safety dividends for
decades to come."
Despite the fact that 80 percent of fire deaths occur in homes, fire
sprinkler system installation in one- and two-family dwellings lacks far
behind other occupancies, such as apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals
and schools. National fire safety experts widely agree that fire sprinklers
represent the best potential for a dramatic reduction in the thousands of
lives lost to fire each year.
"The installation of a residential fire sprinkler system significantly
reduces the likelihood of a major fire occurring in a home," says George K.
Michehl, executive director with the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association
(IFIA). "The IAFPD recognized that and, as a result, recommended the grant
program to provide some relief to those who make this life-saving decision.
Lia credits many members of the fire service for their hard work and
support including Tom Harnsberger, IAFPD and Carol Fire Protection
District, Michael Dillon and Cheri Breneman, IAFPD, Ron Kubicki, Northern
Illinois Alliance of Fire Districts, George Michehl, IFIA and Dan Hermes,
Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.
SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board