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Santa Maria considers new fire code changes

Developers in Santa Maria may soon be required to install fire sprinklers in their new buildings.

“It’s mainly a tool to enforce building construction requirements,” says Darrell Delgado, the Interim Fire Marshall for the Santa Maria Fire Department.

The Santa Maria City Council will introduce a new fire code ordinance that would make it even stronger than what the state will require.

“The current adoption of the California code requires these same occupancies to have fire sprinklers if they are 12,500 square feet or larger, our proposed change reduces that to 5,000 square feet,” says Delgado.

The ultimate goal is to make buildings safer, “but new ones will have fire sprinklers if they meet the size any building that can hold 50 people at 5,000 square feet,” he says.

He says if the ordinance is passed older buildings will not be affected.

“Depending on the age of the building they may have not have sprinklers so each new building has to pass a plan review and existing buildings are grandfathered in,” he says.

Delgado says making the fire code stronger is good for everyone.

“Its been established that sprinklers and detectors prevent loss of life in any fire incident with those two items it’s rare to have a serious injury or death,” he says.

The City Council will have it’s first reading tonight, followed by a second reading and a review.

If passed the changes could go into affect by late January or early February.

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