Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act S. 2947 introduced by Senators Carper and Collins
On January 22, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) along with original co-sponsor, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 2947, the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which would reduce the tax depreciation time on fire sprinklers installed in non-residential property from 39 years to only five years. Senators Carper and Collins are both co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.
"By creating a financial incentive for private industry to install fire sprinklers, S. 2947 will ultimately save lives and prevent injuries," said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. "In addition to the safety benefits, it is important to keep in mind that passage of this legislation will also lead to lower fire department costs, increased loan activity, reduced insurance claims and premium costs, larger numbers of retrofitting and installation jobs, and the generation of payroll tax revenue."
The importance of automatic fire sprinkler systems was tragically demonstrated in February 2003 when 99 people were killed in a pyrotechnic fire at a nightclub in Rhode Island. Three days earlier, there was another pyrotechnic fire in a nightclub in Minnesota. That establishment had an automatic fire sprinkler system and the fire did not cause a single injury.
The benefits of fire sprinkler systems have long been known. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a public assembly, educational, institutional, or residential building with a complete and fully operational automatic fire sprinkler system. The effectiveness of sprinkler systems in extinguishing fires or extending the time available for firefighters to respond is indisputable. Unfortunately, due to the cost there has been little movement by property owners to install these systems.
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the House version of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (H.R. 1194) on February 25, 2009. The NVFC strongly supports the House and Senate versions of the bill. "I'd like to thank Senator Carper and Senator Collins for introducing the important piece of legislation," said Stittleburg. "I encourage all NVFC members to contact their Senators to ask them to co-sponsor S. 2947."
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