The importance of public education

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Jun 26, 2009

We all woke up with some very good news this morning when we learned that New Jersey bill S2962, prohibiting the installation of fire sprinkler systems in one and two-family homes may be withdrawn by its sponsor.

This is a testament to the good work of the New Jersey coalition working to get ready for the upcoming code change and the quick response by the fire service. It undescores the importance of education.

The bill's statement follows:

"Requiring sprinklers to be included in a newly constructed home, or the installation of sprinklers in an existing home, would be expensive, potentially adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a home, which would be borne by the owner or purchaser of the residence. In addition, it is the understanding of the sponsor that requiring sprinklers in these homes would place an enormous burden on municipalities because of the standby water supplies required for a dedicated fire service water line."


If you have been on top of the home sprinkler issue I'm certain that you will be able to discern the underlying misinformation in the above statement as follows:

  1. Cost - The cost of home fire sprinkler systems is grossly inflated by the oposition.
  2. The installation of sprinklers in existing homes -The code excludes retrofitting.
  3. The burden of a dedicated water line - Home fire sprinkler systems do not place additional burden on communities' existing domestic water supply.

As my friend Ozzie Mirkhah said; "This also shows that we must be more proactive in educating or elected officials now..." He posits this is better than taking corrective measures afterwards. I agree that we must pay more attention and focus our energy on educating legislative officials, and that these efforts must begin now.

This "time before the storm" is when the fire service needs to prepare itself. Educating policy makers, legislators, and the public must become the priority. This will ensure that everyone is informed on the facts behorehand. Reacting to it later means racing against the clock. It also means that some legislation may "fly under the radar." Overturning legislation may be nearly impossible.

Take advantage of the great public education pieces that you can obtain by visiting the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Also visit this site often, as we continue to update information.



Maria Figueroa