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February 13, 2023


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Fire detection

Ramtech praises San Francisco Fire Code update requiring fire alarms for wood-frame buildings in construction

A new San Francisco Fire Code update, which requires the use of an approved temporary wireless fire detection and notification system during the construction of wood-frame buildings, has been hailed as a ‘pioneering moment in US construction history’ by fire safety experts from Ramtech and distribution partner, Space Age Electronics.

The new Fire Code – also documented in the San Francisco Building Department Information Sheet FS-04 – has made significant changes from its 2019 version.

Ramtech-SpaceAge-SanFranFireCode-23Among the changes is a safety requirement for temporary fire alarms during construction of wood-frame buildings. Now, wood-frame buildings “shall be provided with an approved temporary wireless detection and notification system”.

The code, which went into force 1 January 2023, now forms part of the planning process and is a condition that must be met in order to obtain a new building permit.

Another change is that sprinklers are now required for existing high-rise buildings above 120 feet (10+ storeys), or for any between 75-120 feet that do not already contain two rated interior stairwells and a fire alarm system with smoke detection in specific areas, such as doors at stairwells.

“A pioneering moment for US construction”

Wireless emergency and evacuation system solutions provider, Ramtech, and North American distribution partner, Space Age Electronics, have praised the San Francisco Fire Department following its decision.

Now, thanks to the use of 24/7 detection and notification system technology, both businesses predict that more lives will be saved and millions of dollars in damage caused by fire will be reduced.

Joseph Cervantes, Western Region Business Development Manager at Space Age Electronics, said: “This truly is a pioneering moment for US construction and for San Francisco, which will revolutionise the fire safety of this city. For too long, construction sites in the area have been left vulnerable and it has taken a number of years and hard lessons learned to reach this point, including historical and recent devastating fires in Berkeley, California and others in the United States.

“In a city as densely populated as San Francisco, the damage potential from a fire is catastrophic if it is left to spread, so any measures that can be taken to improve response times is important. I am therefore very proud that a temporary wireless fire detection and notification system during the construction of wood-frame building is now a code requirement. I hope in future this will be adopted all over the US and extended to all types of buildings, not just wood-frame, as no construction site is immune to the impact of fire and its harmful consequences.”

James Pecz, Global Marketing and Business Development Manager at Ramtech, said: “This is important news for San Francisco, and we will be working closely with Space Age Electronics to support construction site managers in complying with the new rules set by the San Francisco Fire Department. We understand that lots of construction sites across the US use foot patrols and air horns to detect and raise the alarm, but these methods aren’t foolproof and can cost lives and thousands of dollars in damage, due to the simple fact a person cannot be everywhere at once.

In the US, every state sets out its own regulations and every municipality has its own fire safety code, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) central to fire safety education and NFPA 241 (Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations) providing the specific guidance relevant to construction projects.


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