A new Indiana law that goes into effect July 1 will have home builders report the use of certain materials to fire departments. It’s meant to help save firefighters’ lives.
Home builders would have to report the use of engineered wood. Which is lightweight and cheap. It also burns faster.
That information would be reported on the building permit for new construction, then passed on the dispatch center. So when a fire is called in, a note in the system will alert the dispatcher to the materials used. Then firefighters will know which part of a building is likely to burn and fail more quickly.
Bob Penrose with the Home Builders Association of the St. Joseph Valley says the reporting shouldn’t be difficult for builders.
“Once the builders get the new instruction on how to report these materials it’ll start to become part of their new routine,” Penrose says.
Clay County Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone says the reporting will be a good thing for firefighters, but it only applies to new construction. And that will limit its impact. Engineered wood has been used in construction for at least 30 years.
Another provision in the law bars local governments from creating ordinances to require fire sprinklers in buildings other than those already required by state fire code. Cherrone says that measure is not good for municipalities wishing to make fire sprinklers more widespread.