Md. County Tests State On Sprinkler Mandate

Codewatcher fire sprinklers mandate maryland

Maryland County wants to opt out of state fire sprinkler mandate, calling it government overreach.

The Commissioners’ plans to not enforce residential sprinkler requirements are drawing criticism from fire safety officials, reports Charlene Sharpe in a recent article in Mdcoast Dispatch:

State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci said this week the county would be in violation of state law if it permitted those building single family homes to opt out of installing sprinklers. He said the commissioners had lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the sprinkler requirement was to save lives. …

The commissioners, however, maintain that the sprinkler law is an unfunded mandate that puts an undue burden on anyone interested in building a home.

“I agree sprinklers help save lives,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said. “But is it the government’s place to mandate that somebody has them in their house?” …

Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) addressed the commissioners’ comments in a blog post Jan. 30.

“One of the arguments being used by Worcester County Commissioners in Maryland to try and opt out of the statewide requirement for home fire sprinklers in new homes is that sprinklers thwart building, a notion that has been proven erroneous in other areas…,” she wrote, citing an NFPA study from 2009 that indicated sprinkler requirements had no adverse impact on housing supply and costs.  “This is an example of unsupported reasoning being used to allow substandard homes to be built and deny new homeowners the protection home fire sprinklers afford.”

Read the full post here.

Read more about fire sprinklers: Design With Fire In Mind: Three Steps to a Safer New Home