The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently took comments on their proposed new edition of Standards on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities. Unfortunately, this latest version does not require smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in newly built livestock facilities. Within the first half of 2014, at least 450,000 animals died from fires that could have been prevented with smoke control and sprinkler systems. The agribusiness industries lobbied NFPA to not require such systems, claiming that they would cost too much. Given what is at stake, AWI does not find this argument compelling, and wrote NFPA to emphasize the importance of these safety measures in large farming facilities.
AWI explained that smoke detectors and sprinklers would reduce the risk of death and injury to animals, civilians, and firefighters. Farm facilities often house highly flammable and combustible materials such as fertilizer, hay, and pesticides. In recent years, millions of animals have died excruciating deaths in barn fires, and civilians and firefighters have been injured or killed, as well. The new edition of the standards is set to come out in 2016, and AWI will continue to monitor its progress and push for stronger safety requirements to protect farm animals and people.