Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Massachusetts Adopts new Fire Code on January 1, 2015

Effective January 1, 2015 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will have a new fire code. Massachusetts is adopting the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA-1 as its new statewide standards. Currently 20 other states have adopted NFPA-1.

Auburn Fire Rescue Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr. says this change has been in the works for several years and local fire inspectors assigned to the Bureau of Community Risk Reduction, Fire Prevention Division have been preparing for the changeover. Chief Coleman says that Auburn's two fire inspectors assigned to the division have taken credentialing classes over the past year including the two day training program for familiarization of the new code. Both inspectors are also nationally certified.

Chief Coleman says that the adoption of the new code will bring much needed consistency to Massachusetts. Although there are some Massachusetts amendments to the code, it brings the state in line with many others across the country with standard fire protection measures. A major noticeable change to the code is that it shifts certain responsibilities to agencies that are more appropriate and better suited to handle certain compliance issues. One example is that the Department of Environmental Protection will have a larger role in the oversight and enforcement of underground storage tanks that would be found at a gas station.

Chief Coleman says the new code will take some time to get used to but ultimately will be a good thing for the state and the municipalities. "It will help take many of the grey areas out of the code that used to be specific to Massachusetts. It always made it difficult when you had architects and builders who were from out of state and may not have been completely familiar with Mass code. This will certainly help with standardization".