Tennessee builder needs a fact check on home fire sprinklers

Blog Post created by lorrainecarli Employee on Nov 16, 2011


Home fire sprinkler advocates are used to those against them twisting and turning facts to make the argument that sprinklers should not be required in new homes. They say they cost too much, they don't. A report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation found that the average cost of home fire sprinklers in a  communities with a requirement was $1.61 per sprinklered square foot. They say that sprinklers will stunt  home building. They don't. A comparison of housing starts in comparable communities saw no difference in the number of homes being built in communities that require sprinklers and communities that do not. They say they cause water damage. They do, but far less than the water damage caused by a fire hose!

So it was not surprise when Keith Grant of Keith and David Grant Homes touted as one of his priorities as the new president of the Tennessee Homebuilders Association to prevent fire sprinklers from being required. But what was surprising was his quote in the Memphis Daily News that said, "What’s been found across the country is the fire sprinklers don’t save lives..." He is wrong.

One of the most important arguments for fire sprinklers is simple -- sprinklers save lives. Here are some key facts and research reports that emphatically make that point.Additional information can be found through the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.

Bucks County PA -- There were 90 fire deaths in unsprinklered one- and two-family homes in Bucks County from1988-2010 (88%of all County fire deaths during that time frame), with no fire deaths occurring in sprinklered homes. Five fire incidents in sprinklered homes have been documented as saving at least five lives.

Prince Georges County MD -- From1992-2007, there were 101 fire deaths and 328 civilian injuries in single-family or townhouse fires that were not protected with fire sprinkler systems. No fire deaths occurred in sprinklered structure fires during the period studied, and there were six civilian injuries.

Scottsdale AZ --In the 15 years of the mandate, there were 598 home fires. Of the 598 home fires, 49 were in single-family homes with fire sprinkler systems. There were no deaths in sprinklered homes;13 people died in homes without sprinklers. The lives of 13 people who would have likely died without sprinklers, were saved.

Lorraine Carli