A key ally in the push for home sprinkler requirements, Massachusetts Rep. Ruth Balser has once again filed a bill calling for the installation of these devices in newly constructed one- and two-family homes in her state. The bill is currently co-sponsored by state Sen. Ken Donnelly.
Filed this month, the act states that "in any city or town which accepts the provisions ... every newly constructed building, designed or used for residential occupancy and containing no more than two dwelling units, shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers."
At NFPA's recent Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Durham, North Carolina, Balser called sprinklering residential homes "the next frontier." She's developed a close relationship with the state fire marshal and other members of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who have informed her of the alarming number of home fire deaths in her state and elsewhere. Balser has filed previous legislation to increase sprinkler requirements but admits "it's very tough to fight an argument around something that people feel will hurt business and the economy," she told summit attendees. "At the end of the day, sprinklers cost something, but how do you put a price tag on a human life? If we as policymakers can do something to save lives, we need to do it."
Balser and Donnelly are encouraging Massachusetts residents to contact their legislators and have them co-sponsor and support the bill. Use this "find my legislator" feature to find their contact information.