Coalition efforts continue to push back against sprinkler mandate

July 11, 2024

At the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Technical Meeting last month, NFPA adopted a revised standard for animal operations (NFPA 150) that would require the installation of sprinkler systems in animal houses of specific sizes. In March 2024, UEP, National Pork Producers Council, US Poultry & Egg Association, the American Horse Council and insurance professionals engaged in the NFPA Standard Development process to speak to the harm such a requirement would cause the livestock industry. Each agricultural organization filed Notices of Intent to Make a Motion (NITNAMs) with NFPA individually. In the NITNAMs, the agricultural organizations requested the following proposed standard be deleted in full:

  • 3.5.1 Automatic Fire Sprinklers.
  • Class A Facilities meeting or exceeding the US Environmental Protection Agency animal size threshold of a Medium Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation shall be provided with automatic fire sprinklers in accordance with Section 9.2 unless otherwise permitted by
  • Where approved by the AHJ, sprinkler protection required by shall not be required where equivalent alternative active or passive protection, or a combination thereof, is provided.

In early May 2024, NFPA announced it was accepting the individual NITNAMs filed by agricultural organizations and combining them all into a single motion. At the NFPA Technical Meeting, organizations were joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation and fire prevention and technology experts, who debated in person to remove the proposed standard. The overall agricultural coalition was cut off early in their debate, thus depriving the organizations of the due process and fairness promised in the NFPA standards development process, and the vote ultimately sided with animal welfare activists and not the agricultural coalition. NFPA voted to revise the standard as detailed above.

UEP, along with the coalition, is in the process of appealing the NFPA Technical Committee's decision and is faced with an Aug. 1, 2024 deadline for filing. The appeal will be heard in person before NFPA on Aug. 27-29, 2024. It is also important to note that the revised standard, as it exists today, allows for the use of equivalent alternative technology, which will continue to provide egg producers with the flexibility to use systems other than sprinklers. In addition, local standards can and do vary across the country even if this NFPA standard remains in place. For any questions regarding this issue, please contact Lauren Lurkins.