NFSA Supports High-Rise Retrofit in Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) is proud to join with other organizations, public policy leaders, and citizens that support life safety in Florida High-Rise Condominiums. Fire sprinklers are an important part of fire protection and are needed in high-rise buildings now more than ever because fire is fast and the smoke is deadly in minutes. Fire sprinklers buy time to escape and for firefighters to arrive and position themselves to finish off the fire.
Florida legislators, Senator Hooper and Representative Donalds, have introduced legislation that ensures residents of Florida High-Rise Condominiums will be safe. SB 908 and HB 723 provides language adding fire sprinkler or engineered life safety system projects in existing high-rise condominiums as eligible to receive optional funding through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, the program used for solar panel installation.
The low- or zero-interest loan coupled with a percentage of the loan paid off as determined by local government will significantly reduce the economic concerns espoused by condominium associations. Engineered life safety options mean less cost as all condo units need not be retrofitted with sprinklers, only common areas and major methods of egress.
Both SB 908 and HB 723 provide a compliance date extension, as time will be needed for local government to ramp up the process.
Should the condominium properties in Florida upgrade their properties to meet wind-force and fire safety requirements, there is reason to believe that the insurance market may reconsider their denial of coverage which forces Citizen’s Insurance coverage. This bill could open the free market, resulting in reduced insurance costs and reduce taxes for every property owner who is taxed to underwrite Citizen’s Insurance.
"We applaud Florida's fire service leaders and the public officials who are supporting life safety issues that will save lives. To residents of these high-rise buildings, we hope they will realize the importance of fire sprinklers before a fire occurs. Let's support fire safety before a tragedy happens."
Fire deaths in the United States and around the world are unacceptable. Over 3,000 people die from fires each year in the U.S., and some experts predict that this number will begin to rise because of modern furnishings and materials inside our homes. While we have reduced fire deaths in commercial occupancies, the number of fires in structures continue to rise. These fires create significant risks to firefighters, which average over 100 deaths annually in the line of duty.
NFSA is proud to partner with its grassroots Chapter, the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association, on this outreach to help everyone understand the opportunity presented to Florida with this proactive legislation that does allow the condo associations and owners extra time to install the life-saving technology of fire sprinklers. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) is another key partner that we applaud for its involvement and efforts to ensure that firefighters are safe as they protect communities across Florida.
A press conference will be held Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:15 a.m. on the 4th floor Capitol Rotunda, Capitol side in Tallahassee. Senator Hooper and Representative Donalds will lead the event that shares more information about their respective Senate and House bills. (908/723)
About the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA):
NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world’s most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires. For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit www.nfsa.org for the latest material, statistics and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world