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Somerset, MD -- Maryland has had a fire sprinkler law since January 2015, but Somerset was exempt - until now.
Starting June 30, new one and two family homes will need to be built with fire sprinklers. A June 16 hearing was held to hear comments on the proposed amendment that would change the county's code. No home buyers appeared or spoke at the hearing.
Somerset had been exempt from following Maryland's fire sprinkler laws because of a 2012 code update, but their exemption is over now. "We can't be exempt" anymore, said Gary Pusey, head of the county's Planning Department. "Up until now, Somerset County has exempted the fire sprinkler requirement from the code. But state law adopted in 2012 no longer allows this exemption."
While some home buyers find this a nuisance, fire sprinkler law is put in place to protect them. Most fires start in the home, and properly working fire sprinklers keep fires in check 96% of the time. The fact is, residents in fire sprinkler protected homes are safer. Somerset County is seeing an influx in building permits attempting to finish before the sprinkler law goes into effect, but is this really the smart choice?