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On March 9, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) filed the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, and Rep. Tom Reed (R- New York) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Rhode Island) introduced the companion house legislation to encourage building owners to invest in life-saving fire safety upgrades.
The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (FSIA) strengthens tax incentives for building owners to retrofit their properties with fire sprinkler systems.
Currently, commercial building owners must depreciate fire sprinkler retrofits over a period of 39 years and residential building owners over 27 years. The FSIA reclassifies fire sprinkler retrofits in high rise properties as 15 years, allowing businesses to receive tax benefits more quickly.
The original legislation was introduced in 2004 following the tragic nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I. that claimed 100 lives. Since then, the legislation has been reintroduced in subsequent Congresses with various changes made to address concerns raised by members of Congress regarding cost estimates. The current legislation has addressed those concerns.
"We applaud Sens. Collins and Carper along with Reps. Langevin and Reed for their perseverance – life safety for citizens and firefighters is worth it," explains Chief Shane Ray, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. "This legislation will help fire chiefs, as well as state and local government officials make improvements in fire protection with a public private partnership that will save lives. NFSA has been involved in this every step of the way and Jim Dalton has been our liaison for this proactive legislation."