Home fire sprinklers were the hot topic during a recent radio show that interviewed NFPA staff on the impact and cost-effectiveness of these devices.
Frost was as curious about the issue of installation cost as were the callers flooding the station's phone lines during the broadcast. "There's a lot of myths circulating about sprinklers, and cost is one of them," says NFPA's Meredith Hawes. "We spend more money sprinklering our lawns than sprinklering our homes."
On the line assisting Hawes was Tim Travers, NFPA 39's regional sprinkler specialist, who underscored key data from the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment report. For those callers who had a hard time believing the report's finding that the average cost per sprinklered square foot nationally is $1.35 or that sprinklers can be cost-effective, Travers highlighted a couple case studies. A developer in South Carolina, for instance, recently sprinklered all homes in a community for less than the national average.
Another caller had misconceptions about sprinkler testing and maintenance. "[For sprinklers in accordance with
NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes,] there's virtually no maintenance, no annual inspecting or testing needed. The requirements of a homeowner is to make sure a valve is open...that no sprinkler head is painted over. There is no requirement for annual testing.
Listen to the entire interview, and please do your part to educate your locals on home fire sprinklers by utilizing
free resources from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.