Governor Signs Groundbreaking Illinois Fire Sprinkler Incentive Bill

Aug 14, 2008, 01:00 ET from Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board

    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