On Tuesday, September 22, Congressmen Tom Reed (NY-23) and James “Jim” Langevin (RI-2), AFSA’s 2007 Advocate of the Year, introduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (H.R. 3591). Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Thomas Carper (DE) introduced identical legislation, S. 2068, in the Senate on the same day.
As introduced, the bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include automated fire sprinkler system retrofits as section 179 property and classify certain automated fire sprinkler system retrofits as 15-year property for purposes of depreciation. Currently, the depreciation schedule for a fire sprinkler retrofit is 39-years in a commercial building and 27 ½-years in a residential building.
This legislation is supported by the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and was drafted in response to Rhode Island’s Station Nightclub Fire that killed 100 people in 2003.
“The Station Nightclub Fire was one of the worst tragedies in Rhode Island history, and I will never stop fighting for precautions that have the potential to save lives and avert a disaster like the one we saw on that horrific night in West Warwick,” said Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) in a statement. “Fire sprinklers save lives, but cost considerations have prevented too many property owners from making this important investment. We need to make it easier and more cost-effective to install these life-saving systems.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2014, there were 1,298,000 fires reported in the United States, leading to 3,275 civilian fire deaths; 15,775 civilian injuries; and $11.6 billion in property damage. When you include the indirect cost of fire, such as lost economic activity, the cost is closer to $108 billion annually. Studies by NFPA have concluded that buildings outfitted with sprinklers reduce the death rate per fire by at least 57 percent and decrease the property damage by up to 68 percent.
H.R. 3591 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. S. 2068 was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Voice Your Support to Congress
As one of its top legislative priorities, AFSA urges all industry members to write their representative asking for their support of this legislation and thanking them if they have already pledged their support of the legislation. Find your Representative at house.gov/representatives/find/ or Senators at senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.