The outcome to a recent fire would have been vastly different had the residence been devoid of sprinklers, says Fire Chief Bill Higgs with the Sechelt Fire Department in British Columbia. His deduces that his department and three others would have responded to the blaze, with suppression efforts probably taking up half the day. Then there's the painstaking fire investigation, demolition, and rebuilding that might last months, maybe more. More traumatizing would have been any deaths or injuries at the scene.
Here's what actually occurred: sprinklers immediately activated following a grease fire in the kitchen. Upon the Sechelt Fire Department's arrival, the fire was completely extinguished. Only one sprinkler head had activated.
There were no civilian or firefighter injuries. Only one tenant was replaced, while the others safely returned to their homes. The total loss to the $3 million structure was $5,000.
"This fire had the potential for catastrophic life and property losses," says Higgs. "We have witnessed the cost-saving benefits of automatic fire sprinklers in our town of just 12,000 people. We encourage others to learn from our experiences and to support our efforts in the promotion and continued use of residential fire sprinkler systems."
Looking to advocate for sprinklers in a similar fashion as the good folks at Sechelt? Utilize NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative materials.