"I think (FARS) is just amazing, and it's amazing to me that we haven't had that system in place before. This allows firefighters to get the (air) they need to survive and help other people to survive."

Ginny Welsch, City Council Member, Nashville, TN

The Firefighter Air Coalition advocates for codes requiring proven technologies that improve air management in the fire service and help reduce cancer risk. We support the efforts of code compliance professionals in their code review, adoption, and implementation process.

A priority is the adoption of codes requiring Firefighter Air Replenishment Systems (FARS). This air standpipe significantly reduces the fire smoke exposure risk and should be required in all new construction where the delivery of replacement air bottles presents significant logistical and staffing challenges, such as high- and mid-rise buildings, big-box structures, and underground construction.

Three U.S. codes and standards cover FARS:

Once a jurisdiction has chosen a model code, local code officials will be tasked with modifying the language in the code to meet the specific needs of the adopting jurisdiction.

Modify the model code to meet the specific needs of your jurisdiction.

The code language will need to specify the height and size of new construction projects that will trigger the FARS code. Most jurisdictions require FARS in buildings of 75 feet or more above grade for a mid- or high-rise building, and 250,000 square feet or more for a horizontal structure.

The code language must also specify locations within the structure for certain system components. You can work with a FAC advocate to understand the specifics of FARS and what may work best in your jurisdiction.  

It is wise to determine whether other cities in your state have already adopted FARS.  Use the Code Tracker to search by state.

Code Implementation

After code adoption is complete, the process of code implementation begins. That involves putting the code through the plan review and commissioning process and providing SOPs for annual inspections and re-certification over the life of the system.

Create a Plan Review Process

A plan review process should be created by a professional engineer licensed in your state and submitted to the reviewing authority for approval, along with a process for field testing and commissioning.

Ensure the System Function as Planned

Annual inspections, plan review, and commissioning are a continuing operating process for certification and re-certification over the life of the system, and should be made a part of your department's SOPs.

Click on the following to see an example of a regional code: North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)