Becki White with the Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Fire Department, provided some pointed comments to homeowners and potential homebuyers in a recent op-ed for Fire Engineering. Her thought-provoking argument ties home fire sprinklers to carbuyer's options--leather interior, heated seats, and others--and the safety features not up for discussion.
"There are many features we expect to be included, like seat belts, air bags, crumple zones," stated White. "They aren't priced out as amenities. If the salesperson asked you to choose between air bags and heated, leather seats, you'd be outraged as a consumer. How dare he?"
That same outrage, added White, should occur when looking at a spec sheet for a new home. "Granite countertops, larger "soaker" bathtubs, and fire sprinkler systems might be on the list. Wait--a safety feature is listed as an extra expense? The information is delivered in a way that makes it necessary for homebuilders to make a financial decision between installing granite countertops or including a sprinkler system."
White doesn't blame would-be and existing homeowners for this reality. She's aware that most of them aren't told that newer homes include designs and construction materials that can intensify fire spread. Nor might they be aware of the myths that seem to occumpany the issue of home fire sprinkler installation.
Read White's piece and let us know what you think of her stance.