Langevin, Reed Introduce Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act

Sep 23, 2015 Issues: Small Business

Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Tom Reed (R-NY) have introduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2015, which would create expedited tax incentives for property owners to install automatic fire sprinkler systems. Companion legislation was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE).

The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act would make changes to the current tax code, providing an incentive to business owners for building safety improvements by making them eligible for Section 179 expensing or decreasing the current depreciation schedule from 39 years to 15 years.

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 Langevin, who first introduced this legislation in 2003 with then-Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), and has continued to push for its adoption. “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.”

“This is a common sense proposal that will encourage apartment owners and small businesses to take preventative steps to help us avoid tragedy and ultimately keep our friends and families safer,” said Reed. “I care about lowering the barriers that would discourage the installation of the latest in fire safety technology and it’s only fair we make sure that the tax code isn’t an inhibitor to making these upgrades. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both the chambers, as we work together to get this bill into law.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 1,298,000 fires reported in the United States in 2014. Those fires resulted in 3,275 civilian deaths, 15,775 civilian injuries and $11.6 million in property damage. Studies by the NFPA, however, have found that automatic fire sprinkler systems reduce the death rate by at least 57 percent per fire and reduce the property damage rate by as much as 68 percent per fire.