Any One Up for a Fight?

by mobrian on May 20, 2009

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Budget Shortfalls, Residential Sprinklers, and Lots of Other Stuff

The fire service in Michigan is taking it hard.  Out of all the states we have been hit the highest with unemployment, layoff of firefighters, reduction in staffing levels due to decrease in taxes and state shared revenue.  Many communities are experience or forecasting a 30% reduction in under 3 years in incoming taxes and milages.

Life for senior management in the fire service is not what it used to be.  Now we are in a fight to make our communities fire protection at the front of the battle.  This is happening by evaluating staffing levels, replacement of vehicles, and even additional unpaid leave days.  Firefighters always seem to come up with a plan that meets the needs of our community, we adapt to our situations and come up with plan B.

Here in Michigan we are governed by a State wide building code which is under revision (currently the 2006 versions of the Intentional Code Council documents).  Beyond energy conservation, the new 2009 IRC requires the use of residential sprinklers in all new homes built under this code.  The question becomes, does Michigan have the courage to set the pace for the future?  Do we as a fire service have the courage to protect our community, protect or brother and sisters and stand up to the big bully in the room?

The home builders have us figured out, residential sprinklers will not happen because of the economic conditions that are here.  They are able to use fear as a means to alter the vote.   They are lobbying at all costs and at all levels to get to the elected leaders to tell them how bad it is and why sprinklers just can’t go in.

But wait, are they charged with protecting their community?  The Fire Service, the Building Official, The City Manager, and local elected officials are in one way or another.  Our communities need a Residential building code that are protecting our citizens, not a code document that has been modified to meet the needs of one special interest group.  Our communities need to have the courage to support the adoption of the IRC 2009 with language for residential sprinklers.

This simple change can begin the process of creating safer homes, creating communities that can further weather the economic storm, and following the international standard.

Check out these recent articles and interesting stories from Michigan.  The nation is watching how we do it, so lets show them how

Do you have the courage and want to help make Michigan a safer state? Do you have the talents to serve on a committee that is working to make residential sprinklers a reality, or are you looking for some informaiton for your community?

Then send an email over to the Michigan Fire Inspectors at and get involved today!

There will be many future articles to help prepare your community and staff for supporting residential sprinklers.

Here is a great link on making your department built for life!

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