The 2024 Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 8, 2024, and will run for a short 60 days. The Washington State Association of Fire Marshals Legislative Committee has established draft priorities for the 2024 session. We are requesting feedback from the membership through December 1, 2023. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with comments or suggestions.
A meeting of the Fire Service Delivery Workgroup is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Lacey Fire District’s Training and Education Center in Lacey, Washington. WSAFM is not a member of the Workgroup, but is requested to provide testimony as a stakeholder. We are looking for comments and suggestions to be included in our testimony to the Workgroup. Members interested in providing testimony information are requested to contact Dave Kokot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fire Service Delivery Workgroup was established by the 2023 Operating Budget. The workgroup’s purpose is to evaluate the existing funding and service delivery models of fire service functions (currently provided by the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office) including, but not limited to:
a) Fire service training and certifications;
c) Risk mobilization;
d) Fire prevention;
e) Inspections and plan review;
f) Data collection;
g) Building codes and fire sprinkler and monitoring systems; and
h) Fireworks and fire safe cigarettes.
They are seeking statewide stakeholder input. To that end, we will be providing the following:
The Fire Service Delivery Workgroup must report its findings and recommendations for the future delivery of these functions to the Legislature and the Governor by December 1, 2023.
The State Building Code Council of Washington State (SBCC) has extended a previously approved emergency rule to allow fire code officials to utilize the 2023 edition of NFPA 855 for the Installation of Energy Storage Systems. This emergency rule had support from regulatory agencies and industry when it was first introduced in November of 2022 to the SBCC. The existing emergency rule expired in May of 2023 and with the delay of the implementation of the 2021 Washington State Codes it was necessary to create an extension.
An amended Chapter 12 of the 2021 International Fire Code (IFC) was also approved by the SBCC for Off-Cycle Rule making. This chapter is particularly relevant for the installation and maintenance of batteries and energy storage systems (ESS). The proposed changes bring forward the latest code language from the 2024 IFC into the Washington State 2021 Fire Code.
The 2021 WA State Fire Code also has two new sections addressing Lithium-ion batteries and powered mobility devices such as electric scooters and bikes. Section 322 Lithium-Ion and Lithium Metal Batteries and section 323 Powered Micromobility Devices and Powered Industrial Trucks were developed to help address the hazards associated with the use of lithium-ion batteries. The new code language is from the 2024 IFC (International Fire Code) and was brought forward early in Washington State to assist in regulating this industry. The first printing of the State’s insert pages are a good source for Chapter 3 modifications. The 2021 Washington Fire Code with these amendments is expected to take effect no earlier than October 29, 2023.
The State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted on May 24, 2023, to delay the effective date of the 2021 codes until October 29, 2023 (120 days). The SBCC also created to Technical Advisory Groups to consider stakeholder proposals on sections of the commercial and energy codes. Possible modifications are being considered as a result of legal uncertainty stemming from the decision in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley.
The first printing of insert pages showing WA amendments to the 2021 IFC is available here: www.sbcc.wa.gov/state-codes-regulations-guidelines/state-building-code/fire-code-amendments.
The SBCC recently passed an emergency amendment to the 2018 Fire Code to bring forward additional provisions available in the 2021 code related to requirements for battery energy storage systems. This amendment provides local AHJs additional safety provisions at time of permitting and installation -- provisions that are included in the 2021 codes but not available under the 2018 code.
These changes (shown in underline below) will take effect following the publication by the State’s Code Reviser’s office (early February):
1201.1 Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the installation, operation and maintenance of energy systems used for generating or storing energy. It shall not apply to equipment associated with the generation, control, transformation, transmission, or distribution of energy installations that is under the exclusive control of an electric utility or lawfully designated agency. Energy storage systems regulated by Section 1206 shall comply with this chapter as appropriate and NFPA 855.
Chapter 80 REFERENCED STANDARDS
NFPA 855-23 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems
On Friday 11/18/2022, the SBCC passed the first Washington WUI Code! The new WUI Code will go into effect along with the other State codes on July 1, 2023 [now delayed to 10/29/2023 along with the suite of constrution codes including the fire code]. The code is based on the International WUI Code and is amended by the State to require all jurisdictions to implement all of the requirements of RCW 19.27.560 within the framework of the model code published by ICC.
As adopted by the state, the minimum requirements are those found in RCW 19.27.560 and findings of fact are per the DNR wildland interface map. Additional amendments allow local jurisdictions to refine findings of fact in addition to the DNR map. Furthermore, other ignition resistant construction classifications may be proposed by applicants based on an assessment of risk presented by applicants and reviewed by local jurisdictions. The code amendments approved by the SBCC were largely developed by the WASFM / WABO working group. This is a good example of the fire marshals and building officials collaborating to move an important new code forward in Washington State. For more information about the amendments and steps to take to implement the new code please see: Washington State Association of Fire Marshals - State Codes (wsafm.com)
Thank you to Traci Harvey (Spokane Valley), Dave Kokot (Spokane), Mark Jung (Kirkland), and many others who contributed to this important fire prevention work in Washington.
Throughout the summer there have been proposals submitted to the State Building Code Council asking to defer the effective date of the 2021 Building Codes including the Fire Code in Washington State. Most recently on 10/21/2022 the SBCC considered two proposals that would have moved the effective date to November 2023 or December 2023. However, those proposals were not approved. The effective date for the 2021 Building Codes including the Fire Code remains 7/1/2023.
The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office is inviting WSAFM members to provide comment on proposed amendments to WSR 22-19-071 (CR-102) on fire protection sprinkler system contractors and fitting.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Please send your comments to email@example.com by October 21, 2022.
PUBLIC HEARING: October 25, 2022 at 9:30am
Join Zoom Meeting (no physical location for this meeting):
Call-in 1-253-215-8782 Meeting ID: 936 8503 7858 Passcode: 552488
The Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau (WSRB) is sponsoring a registration for the 2022 Fire Prevention Institute to be held October 17th through October 21st. This does not include the costs for the room or transportation.
The intent of the sponsorship is to help with the costs for participation by an individual who is not able to participate due to financial limitations.
To submit for this registration, please provide a letter of interest with supportive reasoning for the need to participate in the FPI. Send the letter to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 16th. Submissions will be reviewed and the successful recipient will be notified by September 20th to allow sufficient time to obtain a room reservation.
If there are any questions, please contact Dave Kokot at email@example.com.
WSAFM greatly appreciates the generosity of WSRB with this sponsorship.
The State Building Code Council (SBCC) currently has a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) working on amendments to the WUI code for the 2021 code cycle. Among other things, the amendments offer more flexible framework based on site and construction specifics as an alternative to the straight requirements in RCW 19.27.560. WSAFM has been represented in this work.
What should I do to get ready to implement WUI?
WSAFM recommends that fire marshals and their staff become familiar the provisions in RCW 19.27.560 and the anticipated amendments to the WUI code being worked on by the SBCC.
Washington State Association of Fire Marshals
Address: 605 11th Ave SE, Suite 211, Olympia WA, 98501
(360) 352-0161 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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