Online Program

A firefighter in every home: Enacting and implementing mandatory residential sprinkler policies

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jessica Young, PhD Candidate, MS, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Keshia Pollack, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background/Purpose: Residential fires are a major cause of injury, accounting for 2,520 civilian deaths and 13,910 injuries in 2011. Residential sprinklers are an effective countermeasure for preventing home fire-related injuries and deaths. As of January 2013, more than 300 localities and two states required residential sprinklers in all new single-family homes.

Methods: In order to understand how residential sprinkler policies are being enacted and implemented, we conducted a multiple case study of sprinkler policies in the two states with statewide sprinkler mandates for new single family homes and in two purposefully selected localities with similar mandates. Data included in-depth semi-structured interview transcripts, documents, and the policies. Within and across case analyses are being conducted to identify common themes that will explain the enactment and implementation of the selected policies.

Results/Outcomes: Preliminary findings based on twelve interviews, documents, and policies reveal variation in the policy content across cases. Fire service champions were the main advocates in all cases and they faced opponents who voiced similar criticisms, although the level of opposition varied across cases. With regard to implementation, we noted great variation in the subsequent regulations; legislative challenges; and the number of homes affected by the policy.

Conclusions: Residential sprinkler systems are a promising strategy for reducing injuries and deaths caused by home fires. Understanding how existing policies that mandate residential sprinklers were enacted and are being implemented offers important insights into how such policies can be maximized to improve the public's health.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the state of residential sprinkler policies in the United States. Identify barriers and facilitators to enacting and implementing residential sprinkler policies. Discuss strategies for assuring the implementation of residential sprinkler policies.

Keyword(s): Injury Prevention, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for the research project being presented. I conducted and analyzed the work and wrote the initial draft of the abstract and two page summary. I have been engaged in public health injury prevention research for twenty years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.