Officials from the City of Blue Island, Illinois, recently updated the City’s fire and building codes to require fire sprinkler protection in all new construction one- and two-family homes and townhomes effective immediately. The new residential fire sprinkler requirements were adopted as part of the 2012 editions of NFPA 1 Fire Code and the International Residential Code (IRC). NFPA 1 is a model residential fire code from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that is widely accepted across the U.S. and has included fire sprinkler requirements since its 2006 edition. The International Code Council’s IRC has required fire sprinklers since its 2009 edition. It has been adopted as a statewide measure in California and among numerous local jurisdictions nationwide, including the Illinois villages of Hoffman Estates and Gurnee. NFPA’s latest fire fatality statistics (from 2010) report that 85% of fire deaths occurred in the home, where people tend to feel the most comfortable and secure. Hoping to prevent the statistic from becoming a stark reality in Blue Island, Fire Chief Terry Vrshek and Fire Inspector Bob Copp played vital roles in educating Robert Adams, commissioner of the Building & Zoning Department, and City Council officials about the protection that residential fire sprinklers provide to the City’s homeowners and firefighters. Additionally, residential fire sprinklers are able to save money in the form of lower insurance rates for homeowners and the cost of insurance for the City itself, given that the City will have a safer housing stock as new homes are built. “Congratulations to forward-thinking Mayor Donald Peloquin, the City Council and the fire and building departments for investing in the future safety of Blue Island residents and firefighters,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). “They truly understand and recognize the important role that fire sprinklers play in protecting lives and property, making Blue Island a model fire-safe community.” According to NIFSAB, Blue Island is now one of 79 municipalities and fire protection districts in Illinois that require fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes through the adoption of the model codes provided by the International Code Council and NFPA. Blue Island marks the fifth jurisdiction in Illinois to pass residential fire sprinkler requirements this year, joining Gurnee, Manhattan Fire Protection District, Glencoe, and Flossmoor.]]>