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Fire Safety Risk

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 Fire Safety Risk

If you are planning a home remodeling or renovation project, consider installing a residential fire sprinkler system.  There is no better time to do that, if you’ll be tearing the place up anyway.

Several reasons to consider the fire sprinkler system in your home:

1. The protection of life and property / greatly reduced fire safety risk.  (see statistics below).

2. Higher resale value

3. A reduction on your fire insurance premiums

Only 20 percent of reported fires occurred in one- and two-family homes, but these fires caused 70 percent (2,107) of all civilian fire deaths. Homes also account for the largest share of civilian fire injuries and related property damage.

Although smoke alarms can alert residents to a home fire, they cannot extinguish a fire.  Fire sprinkler systems can. To wit:

According to a National Institute of Standards and Technology study:

  • When fire sprinklers alone are installed, the chances of dying in a fire are reduced by 69 percent, when compared to a home without sprinklers.
  • When smoke alarms alone are installed, a reduction in the death rate of 63 percent can be expected, when compared to a home without smoke alarms.
  • When both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers are present, the risk of dying in a fire is reduced by 82 percent, when compared to a home without either.

If you want a fire sprinkler system in your home, you are likely to have to install it or contract it yourself, as the National Association of Home Builders has choked on new proposed Fire Safety Codes that would mandate sprinklers in homes.  Mandatory fire sprinklers could cost $7,000 to $15,000 per home and they feel  it’s difficult to justify in this market.  No doubt they are afraid it would cut into their own profits.  The cost of a fire system spread over the term of a 30 year mortgage is minimal.  And your homeowners insurance would be a lot cheaper.

Think of this: Are houses cheaper when a builder doesn’t provide a masonry chimney?  I don’t think so.  Meaning they don’t pass along the savings to the buyer.  The quality and substance of new homes has diminished over the years.  All the while the prices have increased at a rate outpacing inflation.

Almost three dozen states have rejected the idea of residential fire sprinklers and have enacted legislation or rules prohibiting mandatory installation.  (A classic example of the home builder’s lobbying dollar hard at work).  California and Maryland have adopted codes requiring installation of home sprinklers.  Apparently, the legislatures in those states are more highly evolved.

The International Code Council, an organization of building inspectors, fire officials and others who set building standards, recommended in 2009 that states and municipalities adopt codes requiring sprinkler systems in homes and townhouses less than three stories high. The regulations took effect Jan. 1, 2011.

Do you have any thoughts on this or experience with it? If so, why not share them by commenting below.  Sharing is caring.  We hope you do both.  Use the Facebook icon or another social media button at the top or bottom of the page.  We do appreciate it and, as always, thanks for stopping by.

Additional resources:

Debunking deadly myths: The truth about residential fire sprinklers

Home builders beating back fire sprinkler laws

lg share en Fire Safety Risk

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