Grassroots Movement Building and Preemption in the Campaign for Residential Fire Sprinklers

Firemen line up as part of RWJF Flood Relief - RWJF Flood Relief.

Public health has been strengthened through the success of the grassroots residential sprinkler movement.

The Issue:
A grassroots movement aimed at promoting local ordinances mandating sprinklers in all new residential construction has been successful, but met resistance through the homebuilding industry seeking state preemption of local authority.

Key Findings

  • Laws eliminating or limiting local authority over residential fire sprinklers were adopted in 13 states between 2009 and 2011.

This study shows that preemption can negatively impact public health and safety, and that grassroots movements can positively impact public health and safety.

About the Study:
Using the case study method, the researchers conducted interviews with 10 key informants between December 2010 and March 2011 and examined documents, websites, and a stakeholder meeting.