San Francisco fire code change marks a pivotal moment in US construction history
A San Francisco Fire Code update, which requires the use of an approved temporary wireless fire detection and notification system during the construction of wood-frame buildings, has been hailed as a ‘pioneering moment in US construction history’ by leading fire safety experts.
Wireless emergency and evacuation system solutions provider, Ramtech, and North American distribution partner, Space Age Electronics, have praised the San Francisco Fire Department following its decision to include the revision in the new 2023 San Francisco Fire Code. The change is also documented in the San Francisco Building Department Information Sheet FS-04.
Now, thanks to the use of 24/7 detection and notification system technology, both businesses predict that more lives will be saved and millions of dollars in damage caused by fire will be reduced.
Joseph Cervantes, western region business development manager at Space Age Electronics, said: “This truly is a pioneering moment for US construction and for San Francisco, which will revolutionise the fire safety of this city. For too long, construction sites in the area have been left vulnerable and it has taken a number of years and hard lessons learned to reach this point, including historical and recent devastating fires in Berkeley, California and others in the United States.
“In a city as densely populated as San Francisco, the damage potential from a fire is catastrophic if it is left to spread, so any measures that can be taken to improve response times is important. I am therefore very proud that a temporary wireless fire detection and notification system during the construction of wood-frame building is now a code requirement. I hope in future this will be adopted all over the US and extended to all types of buildings, not just wood-frame, as no construction site is immune to the impact of fire and its harmful consequences.”
Developers and site contractors in San Francisco must now be aware of the new requirement to have an approved temporary wireless fire and detection notification system. The code, which went into force January 1, 2023, now forms part of the planning process and is a condition that must be met in order to obtain a new building permit.
James Pecz, global marketing and business development manager at Ramtech, said: “This is important news for San Francisco, and we will be working closely with Space Age Electronics to support construction site managers in complying with the new rules set by the San Francisco Fire Department. We understand that lots of construction sites across the US use foot patrols and air horns to detect and raise the alarm, but these methods aren’t foolproof and can cost lives and thousands of dollars in damage, due to the simple fact a person cannot be everywhere at once.
“By taking a stand and enforcing the use of innovative wireless systems such as our WES system, protection is constant meaning that no matter the time or place the fire can be detected and communicated to personnel. With an unlimited number of units able to be used per site, more units can be added as the build progresses and in any location, due to the three-year lifespan battery design not requiring a hardwired power source. We’re proud that our WES system is a San Francisco Fire Department approved option that will help contractors raise fire safety construction standards moving forwards.”
Ramtech and Space Age Electronics will be attending the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas 19-23 June, raising awareness of the benefits that wireless detection and notification systems can offer.
In the US, every state sets out its own regulations and every municipality has its own fire safety code, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) central to fire safety education and NFPA 241 (Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations) providing the specific guidance relevant to construction projects. For more information, visit: NFPA www.nfpa.org