Gov. Christie's red-tape review panel had the good sense not to halt implementation of a rule requiring new homes to have fire-sprinkler systems in New Jersey.
The lifesaving regulation was one of dozens temporarily stayed during a 90-day review conducted by a panel chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. The panel recently gave the go-ahead for implementing the requirement for sprinklers in newly constructed one- and two-family dwellings, effective in January 2012.
With lightweight construction materials in today's new homes, fire-safety experts warn that smoke detectors may not provide enough warning when these fast-burning structures go up in flames. Sprinkler systems can provide residents with a better chance of getting out of a fire alive, in addition to minimizing damage - which can cut insurance costs.
Homebuilders in Pennsylvania are citing cost concerns in fighting a similar requirement that is scheduled to take effect a year before New Jersey's rule.
If the cost-conscious Christie administration can agree that fire-safety concerns are paramount, that should reassure Pennsylvania officials that it's the smart thing for them to move ahead with their fire-sprinkler program.