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  • Sprinklers at home

    I just read LHS's response in a different topic and he stated he had sprinklers in his house. I will also have sprinklers in my home. After the remodel is done, I will have full sprinkler protection for my family.

    What irritates me and initiated this post is the lack of support for sprinklers from the fire service, the insurance industry and the building industry.

    I had to put my foot down with our contractor to insist upon installing sprinklers. Why? He should be pushing the product, if only to add to the cost of the job, thus more profit.

    I will only get a 10% reduction in my insurance rates. Why? I should get 90%, fire will not destroy my house as long as the system is operational.

    I am one of the first persons in my town to install sprinklers. Why? The FD should be lobbying for and pushing the idea of sprinklers for all new construction and any significant remodels. They don't.

    What do you think? Are we hurting ourselves by not fighting for sprinkler legislation? Are we setting bad examples by not installing sprinklers in our own homes or our fire stations?

    Sprinklers save lives, smoke detectors save lives. There has never been a multiple fatality in a building with a working sprinkler system. Sprinklers and detectors work better than fire suppression and ventilation, and every building should have them.

    [This message has been edited by benson911 (edited 01-19-2001).]

  • #2
    You are right, sprinkler systems are the way to go when building a new house, we put them in when we built our house, 10 years ago. Everyone looked at my dad funny when he told someone, but not only does it give you peace of mind, it really should include an insurance break. I can't say what our's is, if we even have one. I think sprinklers in the home is the way of the future, that is if you want a house that is gonna really be protected from fire.

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff
    Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley
    Steve Kelly Jr.


    • #3
      As with any new idea there is always a slow appraoch by all groups concerned. I would like to see a change in building regulations that would require all new houses have them fitted. In the UK this is being done with smoke detection that is wired into the power supply and has a battery back up. It took time but we are there now. Next step is the sprinklers that could save the life of the occupier, his property but mainly the lives of the firefighters responding to the incident. We will have to wait and see.

      Kindest regards & keep safe,

      Sprinkle (UK)


      • #4
        I don't think that sprinkers in a house is a good idea. I think that it is overkill. Build your house with solid materials, make sure you have working smoke detecors and a few fire extinguishers.

        The reason I think insurance companies frown upon it even though sprinklers may contain a fire or even extinguish it, but now they have the cost of water damage to deal with. I think that is why the insurance companies aren't in favor of it because of the potential water damage costs out weighing the necessity for a system.

        Glen Bordas

        FF McDonald - I have revised my post to better get my point across. Sorry about the confusion earlier. What I originally typed was expressed differently from what I was thinking.

        [This message has been edited by GBordas (edited 01-17-2001).]


        • #5
          I personally feel that residential sprinklers are a good idea, and that they should be used throughout the structure....

          That having been said, I will answer some of the questions that have been posed:

          Why would the construction industry frown upon sprinkler? -- there only concern is building the building, and if the building burns down - well then, they get to build another building. And that means more money in their pocket. As to adding to the cost and putting money in their pocket -- that won't happen unless they are the contractor that puts in the sprinkler system.... Some states require a NICET certification, and not many general contractors will have one. So the work will have to be done by a company that installs sprinklers.

          I can only venture a guess as to why you didn't get a larger break on your premium, maybe they figure that if the sprinklers ever operate they will incur water damage? Who knows....

          I think that we need to fight for sprinkler legislation, and see that they [sprinklers] are included in all new construction; and remodels that involve greater than 30% of a structure.

          GBORDAS -- "You can protect your house in many ways other than installing a sprinkler system. Use fire resistive materials in construction. Now a days just about all materials have some degree of resistance to fire. Keep a couple of extinguishers in you house."
          When was the last time you saw a home being built? All the homes that I have seen lately are being constructed with laminated wood beams, particle board sheathing, and even particle board roof decking. What happens to all that glue in a fire: its flammable, and the wood delaminates during the fire. What ever happened to plywood? At least it had a little strength...

          I'll give you gypsum board -- it is inherently fire resistive... but what we need to talk about are the contents of the structure... polyurethane foam, mattresses, plastics, household chemicals, lacquered wood, etc... These items are not only NON-RESISTIVE -- but when they burn, produce toxic smoke.

          If you have sprinklers, they can contain or extinguish a fire before it can reach these materials.

          "Another reason is that most private houses don't have enough water pressure off the main to sustain a sprinkler system. And what if the sprinkler system fails?"

          How large a system are you thinking of? If you have a room and contents fire, and a 'single' sprinkler head activate - you are looking at what - 30 gpm - depending upon the size of orifice on the particular sprinkler....

          And if the sprinkler system fails? It shouldn't - it is subject to the same inspection/maintenance criteria that any sprinkler system installed anywhere - in any type occupancy. Depending upon its characteristics- whether a wet system or a dry system.

          It also has to meet the water supply requirements laid out in the building code - and while building codes may vary -- they usually reference NFPA 13R.


          "In Omnia Paratus"

          -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

          [This message has been edited by FF McDonald (edited 01-18-2001).]


          • #6
            If I was building a new home, I would have sprinklers put in. I think that the majority of the opposition to sprinklers has to do with the way that fires are portrayed on TV and in the movies.

            For example, the film Frequency with Dennis Quaid. He plays a FDNY jake in the film. There is a scene where he sets off a a heat detector and BAM! Every sprinkler head in the building goes off.

            Lethal Weapon 4 had the sprinkler heads activating when Mel Gibson's character activated the pull station. People see this, beleive it's real and there is the resistance.

            We have to educate the public to the merits of home fire sprinklers.

            And on the eighth day...God created Firefighters!
            Captain Gonzo


            • #7
              GBordas - I think your position is echoed by many and one of the primary reasons the fire service does not support residential fire sprinklers.

              But, the facts prove the opposite. Using the NFPA's data:

              1. 80% of fire deaths occur in residences. Thus, the need for quick acting sprinklers to knock the fire down or slow its growth, allowing a family the time to escape. Fire resistive construction will not do this.

              2. 80% of these deaths were in homes without smoke alarms. Therefore, 20% of the deaths had smoke detectors and potentially could have been avoided by also having sprinklers. Close to 100% could have been saved had they had both of these protections.

              Also see the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition web page... http://www.lukensburdick.com/HFSC/index.html

              It explains away the myths of excessive water damage and costs. Make sure you go to the second page and click on the comparison of a house fire with sprinklers and one without. It may open your eyes.


              • #8

                ###I don't think that sprinkers in a house is a good idea.###

                GBordas, Yep I remember your name. You are the same one who thinks Protective Hoods are a bad idea.

                ### I think that it is overkill.###

                So you are saying your life is not worth it.

                Oh! thats right, fire doesn't hurt you, I forgot.



                • #9
                  First things first, Gbordas- "I don't think that sprinklers in a house is a good idea." I do not know what fire service you are working for but, in my fire service we are here to save life and property. I have worked for a sprinkler company and I know that most residential sprinklers are lower flow than what you will see in a commercial occupancy. So, property damage will exist but the residents will be alive. The hell with the house if they save lives that is enough for me to go out and say get them in your homes. They will save your life. I have to say you need to think about what you are saying. Gbordas- "I think that it is overkill. Build your house with solid materials, make sure you have working smoke detectors and a few fire extinguishers." Ok, I live in an 18 Story Type 1 non-sprinklered High-rise. Do you honestly think that a fire extinguisher and a couple smoke detectors are going to do the job of saving lives? Residential sprinkler don’t just fall under the split-level rancher, cape cod, etc. style homes it is for everybody. We need to educate the community. I remember when I was working for the sprinkler company and replacing the recalled omega sprinkler head. Residents would ask questions just as Captain Gonzo stated, "If one goes off do they all go off?” I never felt so important in my life educating these people about how important sprinklers are in their life. I will climb down off my soapbox now but understand that I am a firm believer in residential sprinklers. I think everyone else in this business should hopefully be one the same page. I do respect all opinions but I don’t have to like them. If anyone should find something in my post that is false or misleading please bring it to my attention so I can be corrected.

                  The statements in this post are not those of the Montgomery County Division Of Fire and Rescue Services but are those of Skidzz.



                  Member IAFF Local 1664
                  [email protected]


                  • #10
                    I will add my two cent's worth. Residential sprinklers do make sense, especially in rural areas. We cover over 230 square miles from 2 staffed stations with 7 firefighters( if everyone shows for work). It may take us 15 to 20 or more minutes from the time of the call to get to the fire. Solid materials won't help. A year or so back we had 3 members of the same family die in a trailer fire. Sprinklers might have put the fire out in time. They lived some distance from the station and the trailer was fully involved upon our department's arrival. Sprinklers may or may not have helped.
                    Any one who can send me any info. on residential sprinklers I would appreciate it. Model ordinances would be helpful along with verifiable statistics.

                    [This message has been edited by fjg449 (edited 01-20-2001).]


                    • #11
                      I Think that if it gives you piece of mind to have sprinklers in your house than fine have them in your house. If you don't want them in your house don't have them. I see where this is going any way, another law by the Government that says you have to have them. Leave it up to the citizens to decide if they want one or not.


                      • #12
                        In the town I live in, EVERY BUILDING must be sprinklered, whether it is a 1 floor residential or an 800,000 square foot warehouse. This law went into affect only within the past 15 years (at most) or so that residential had to be sprinklered. There are alot of older buildings in town that I wish were sprinklered, I'd feel much safer.


                        • #13
                          GBORDAS>>The reason I think insurance companies frown upon it even though sprinklers may contain a fire or even extinguish it, but now they have the cost of water damage to deal with. I think that is why the insurance companies aren't in favor of it because of the potential water damage costs out weighing the necessity for a system.<<

                          If you think a sprinkler system generates water damage, what do think an 1 3/4 or 2 1/2 inch hose does???


                          • #14
                            Had I built my house originally, I would have installed sprinklers, but I don't think I really want to gut the place to add them. Although I am drawing up plans for gutting my kitchen so maybe it's a place to start with them.

                            Anyway, I think I have to agree with Capt. Gonzo on this one. Image plays a large part in our lives. Watch any movie or TV show and when one sprinkler head goes, they all go. If people could only learn that this is a "Hollywood Portrayal" and not reality and that in reality, the only heads that will activate are the ones where there is enough heat below them to make them open up. People simply think that you will get your whole house flooded because you had a small fire in your laundry room.

                            Oh and on the Fire Resistive materials thing, I don't see it happening or helping. Homes today are built as fast as possible with the cheapest materials possible. Also, if you were to see this Fire Resistive trend in the construction industry, that is only the structure. What about the furniture, the appliances, the carpet and decorations? They're still going to burn and produce fatal toxins until extinquished - a task that can be handled by, in some cases, a single sprinkler head.

                            With all the laminates, manufactured woods, trusses, etc in todays 'disposable construction' I just think it would be nice to have something wrestling down the fire while we were still in route. It may just save our lives by knocking out a fire before a truss could fail or a composite I-beam gives way, and if it does then I am 110% in favor!


                            • #15
                              Why not get a little water on the fire before we get there? It could not only save a resident's life, it may slow the fire enough to save our own...


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