The following letter appeared on GoErie.com on December 22. The author, Thomas Cullen of the Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania, wrote in response to an earlier letter entitled: "Mandated sprinklers not worth the cost"
"The fact is that mandated sprinklers save lives and property. In 2008, there were 403,000 residential fires, killing 2,780 civilians, as well as a number of firefighters. These fires also resulted in 13,560 injuries and caused $8.5 billion in damages. The top two causes were: cooking, 26 percent; and, heating, 11 percent. Smoking caused only 2 percent of the fires, and cigarettes were not the leading cause of deaths.
It's true that most people die from smoke inhalation, not from burns. But the fact is that smoke detectors and sprinklers save lives. In the residential fires noted above, 38 percent of the homes had operating smoke detectors. Fire deaths were reduced by 63 percent in homes with smoke detectors compared to homes without a smoke detector. Fire deaths were reduced by 69 percent in homes with sprinklers. If a home has both smoke detectors and sprinklers, the fire deaths were reduced by 82 percent."