Vernon Hills, Illinois, updated the Village’s fire and building codes to include fire sprinkler protection in new construction one- and two-family homes effective 30 days from adoption. The update, which coincidentally occurred during Fire Prevention Month, makes Vernon Hills the 82nd jurisdiction in Illinois to require home fire sprinklers. The inclusion of home fire sprinkler requirements was done so by upgrading to the International Code Council’s 2012 edition of the International Residential Code. In addition to fire sprinkler protection in one- and two-family homes, the code also requires fire sprinkler protection in new construction townhomes, which Vernon Hills has already instituted in the past. Education offered to the building department and Village Board through a joint effort by fire officials at the Countryside Fire Protection District, which serves the majority of Vernon Hills, and Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District, which serves the remainder of the Village, was vital to the inclusion of fire sprinkler requirements. [caption id="attachment_2405" align="alignright" width="249"] Countryside FPD Fire Marshal Mike McNally, who helped educate Vernon Hills officials about residential fire sprinklers, stands with 13D fire sprinkler display in the fire station lobby.[/caption] According to both Countryside Fire Marshal Mike McNally and Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Marshal Eric Norlin, it was important to communicate the facts about home fire sprinklers and discredit the myths. The fire protection districts educated the building department and Village Board with packets of educational information about fire sprinklers from organizations such as the national nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. They also presented years worth of local residential fire data; statistics about the cost effectiveness of fire sprinklers; cost-saving benefits for developers, homeowners and the Village; and reports about the dangers of fire in modern home construction. “Due to engineered, lightweight construction and the abundance of synthetic materials in today’s modern homes, fires develop faster and more quickly turn to flashover than they did thirty years ago, presenting a dangerous situation for homeowners and firefighters alike, states McNally . “That’s the reason why national model codes from the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association have included residential fire sprinklers in recent editions of their codes.” “The Village Board members understand the inherent risks in today’s homes and, therefore, their support for home features that provide additional levels of safety, specifically home fire sprinklers, has been exemplary,” says Norlin. “Vernon Hills is committed to being a fire-safe community for residents and firefighters alike.” With the Vernon Hills code update, Illinois now has eight jurisdictions that have passed home fire sprinkler requirements this year alone, which also include Norridge, South Holland, Blue Island, Gurnee, Manhattan Fire Protection District, Flossmoor and Glencoe. “Awareness of home fire sprinklers and the benefits they offer has been steadily increasing among Illinois jurisdictions throughout this year especially,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). “Local elected officials are now listening to the facts presented by fire officials and building directors, rather than the misinformation provided by other entities. They are making the correct decisions to invest in the long-term well-being of the residents they serve.”]]>