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The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of theUnited Statesand Canada (UA) is urging Congress to take action on the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which would enhance fire safety by amending the tax code.

Under present law, a fire sprinkler retrofit in a commercial building is depreciated over 39 years and residential building over 27-and-a-half years.  This onerous schedule has proven to have exacerbated the problem of fire safety as properties delay upgrading existing systems.  There were 3,320 civilian fire deaths in theUnited Statesin 2008, $15.5 billion in direct property damage and another $97.5 billion in indirect costs.

As a spokesperson for the union noted, “The frequency of fires inAmericado not result from a lack of knowledge of the causes, means of prevention or methods of suppression.  We have a fire ‘problem’ because our nation has failed to adequately apply and fund known loss reduction strategies…

“By passing a tax incentive, Congress can have a critical role in making the places that our citizens live, work and play dramatically safer.”