A newspaper editor is backing requirements for home fire sprinklers after seeing fire's devastation firsthand.
Invited to a recent home fire demonstration by her local fire service, Lori Copler with the McLeod County Chronicle watched as the unsprinklered structure was "virtually destroyed" within six minutes, she noted in a recent editorial. In the sprinklered room, the fire was contained to a small section of the mattress.
"People, particularly in this area, have a strong aversion to government mandates," Copler stated in her recent editorial. "And with good reason — many times they ended up costing us more than the benefits they provide.
"But sometimes, we don’t mind so much when the government steps into our lives, especially if it involves protecting our lives and those of our loved ones."
Following a lawsuit by Minnesota homebuilders, a requirement to sprinkler new Minnesota homes of a certain size was overturned last year. But these requirements, notes Copler, have life-saving abilities. She points to a recent home fire in Minnesota involving a man confined to a wheelchair. Fire sprinklers extinguished the fire before the fire department arrived.
While arguing that sprinkler installation might not be cost-effective (NFPA research underscores sprinkler affordability in new homes), Copler also notes safety should trump affordability concerns.
"We would like legislators to consider residential sprinkling requirements for new homes," she states. "We also want everyone to be safe. In the long run, that’s what really matters."
Make your own compelling case for sprinklers by using the information in this eye-catching infographic produced by NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative.