Lockport Doesn't Want to Gamble with Fire Safety

City's video gaming revenues fund grant program to create fire-safe buildings

Aug 24, 2015, 13:55 ET from Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB)

ORLAND PARK, Ill., Aug. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The city of Lockport now offers a unique grant program to encourage the installation of fire sprinklers and smoke alarms in its historic downtown district. The grants are funded through the city's video gaming revenues. In the initial phase, the grants will provide property owners up to $20,000 to install fire sprinkler and smoke alarm systems.

"To the best of my knowledge, our fire sprinkler and smoke alarm grant program is the first of its kind not only in Illinois, but also in the nation," says Darren Deskin, 3rd Ward Alderman for the city of Lockport.

Deskin came up with the concept following a rash of downtown fires in recent years. Community & Economic Development Director Pamela Hirth, Building Official Keith Rooney and Lockport Township Fire Protection District Chief David Skoryi created the resolution that will help the historic buildings meet current codes.

The program aims to provide an incentive for property owners to enhance the protection of their structures and occupants, as well as to improve the economic viability of the properties.

"The Lockport Township Fire Protection District supports the city's creative plan to increase life safety in the historic buildings so that the next generation can enjoy the deep-seated history of Lockport," says Fire Chief David Skoryi.

Currently, nearly 900 Illinois jurisdictions receive video gaming revenues. Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, believes that those jurisdictions should follow Lockport's lead of using video gaming revenues to provide fire safety project grants for property owners.

"This is a perfect example of city, fire and building officials working together to enhance the fire and building safety of a core downtown business district," states Lia. "As a result, the city's historic downtown is preserved and protected and so are the property and sales taxes associated with the buildings."

About the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB)
NIFSAB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting progressive legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and governmental policy makers by demonstrating the proven performance of fire sprinklers in saving both lives and property. For more info, visit www.firesprinklerassoc.org.


SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB)