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SFPE Supports Federal Legislation

March 28, 2005

Each year in the United States more than 3,000 people die and 18,000 are injured from fire. To reduce the losses from fire, the US Congress introduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. By offering tax incentives, this bipartisan legislation is intended to promote the installation of fire sprinklers in existing buildings.

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) supports this act aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries from fire.

Passage of this act would provide a federal tax incentive by classifying the installation of automatic fire sprinklers in existing buildings as five-year property for purposes of tax depreciation. This would allow building owners to depreciate the cost of a sprinkler system over an accelerated schedule that would allow cost recovery in a much shorter time frame than offered by the current tax codes. In the current tax law, fire sprinklers are considered as 27.5 to 39 year property depending on the type of building.

“The installation of fire sprinklers in a building significantly improves the chances of survival in a fire. Unfortunately, because there is a cost to install these systems in existing buildings and retrofitting sprinklers in existing buildings is not normally required by local codes, building owners may be reluctant to retrofit their facility with fire sprinklers,” said SFPE Engineering Program Manager Chris Jelenewicz. “The incentives that are provided in the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act will help motivate building owners to install fire sprinklers in existing buildings.”

This legislation is assigned to the House of Representatives (H.R. 1131) and was cosponsored by Congressman Curt Weldon (PA) and Congressman Jim Langevin (RI). The Senate version of this bill (S. 512) was cosponsored by Senators Rick Santorum (PA) and John D. Rockefeller, IV (WV).

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