A well-researched article appearing in the Cass County Democrat Missourian discusses why not embracing requirements for home fire sprinklers is playing with fire.
The story proceeds a residential fire in Missouri that displaced nearly 30 residents and sheds light on a law there prohibiting municipalities from requiring fire sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. Missouri lawmaker Rick Brattin supports the law, telling the publication "if people want [to install sprinklers] in their home, there's absolutely nothing that prohibits them from doing so. I'm more for ensuring that people have choices."
Fire safety experts interviewed for this story disagree with this line of thinking. "[Legislators] should not be dictating the level of protection a community wants and is willing to pay for," Jim Ford, fire marshal for the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, told the publication. His city has witnessed extensive benefits since passing a fire sprinkler ordinance 30 years ago. "What states have done is taken away the decision-making authority for people who will pay the bill and are closest to the problem."
Since home fire sprinklers are a requirement in every U.S. model building code, there shouldn't even be an argument against the installation of this technology, says Shane Ray, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association. "(Residents) don't get an option on smoke alarms; they don't get to select the size of the electrical service; they don't get to pick which glass is tempered or not," he told the publication. "Most citizens aren't informed enough to realize the need for some requirements ... that is why we have codes and standards to protect the citizen ... from substandard housing."
Read the full article, and watch this video featuring Jim Ford on the effects of Scottsdale's 30-year fire sprinkler ordinance: