Submitted by Don Doman
Headlines of high-rise apartments burning from suspected terrorist or just ordinary circumstances can make it seem like the whole world is on fire. The news is scary: fire killed at least 80 people in the Grenfell Tower fire in London. In Honolulu a fire on the 26th floor of the 36 floor Marco Polo Apartments resulted in three deaths. But not everything is always as it seems. The London fire burned and killed people because the government chose not use the siding suggested by the contractors, but a much cheaper and less safe alternative. The Honolulu apartment building was constructed in 1971. In 1974 the city began requiring sprinkler systems in high-rises. So, the world is changing and it’s trying to improve our lives with safety.
Fire sprinklers are the best deterrent for deaths in most buildings. Sprinklers are not instantaneous. They react to temperatures. When the danger level is reached, they begin their work. In operation they reduce the heat, the flames and the smoke. Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers help reduce property loss and save lives. Some people believe they should be mandatory is homes as well as commercial establishments and high-rise buildings.
According to an American Housing Survey, “4.6% of occupied homes (including multi-unit) had sprinklers in 2009, up from 3.9% in 2007, and 18.5% of occupied home built in the previous four years had sprinklers.” – Source: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers.
Picture a nice romantic candle-lit evening with a special home cooked meal followed up with stained napkins and table cloths in the washer and dryer. That scenario could spell disaster. according to National Fire Protection Association it’s almost a winning hand of death and destruction. It contains all the elements of the most common causes of house fires: Electrical Fires, Cooking Fires, Dryers (heating elements and lint), and Candles. If we threw in smoking cigars or cigarettes, we’d a have a full house. A home sprinkler system would help save lives for that romantic setting.
Home sprinkler systems increase the costs of new homes, which are already high. Many people can’t afford the price. The best alternative to home sprinkler systems is home fire and smoke alarms. Many of the existing home alarms use battery power and owners forget or don’t bother to replace the batteries, so it is better to have a wired system.
Six Facts about Home Sprinkler Systems:
1. 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home.
2. Home fire sprinklers may control or extinguish a fire before fire departments can arrive.
3. Sprinklers closest to the fire activate.
4. 84% of home fires where sprinklers operate, only one sprinkler operates.
5. The risk of dying is cut one-third where smoke alarms are present, while automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying approximately 80%.
6. Home sprinklers, can reduce the average property loss per fire by about 70% (compared to house fires without sprinklers.)
7. The average cost of installing home fire sprinklers is $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.
– American Housing Survey
To protect your business or home, you can install your own battery operated alarms, but there are professional firms in the Puget Sound area that install, inspect, service, and monitor alarms to protect your valuables and family. If you have a fire, you may need as much protection and help as you can get. Local fire departments do their job, but they need to be notified of fires first. Wired systems assure the quickest response. In a world on fire, your family’s safety is the main concern.