The site of a home fire that killed a six-year-old resident of Plainfield, Connecticut, in 2016 (Photo: Hartford Courant)
An article recently appearing in the Kansas City Star underscores the deadly effects of prohibiting the installation of fire sprinklers in new homes. The article points to two home fires in Connecticut and New York leading to two child deaths. Had these homes followed U.S. model building code requirements, the outcomes may have been different, since the homes would have been required to include fire sprinklers.
Instead, Connecticut decision makers have prohibited the state and local towns from adopting fire sprinkler requirements. Similarly, New York, minus a few exceptions, bars local towns from making fire sprinklers mandatory in new homes. (Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website for a roundup of states prohibiting sprinkler requirements.) Last year, a six-year-old girl died from fire in a Connecticut home built months before her death. In 2015, another child, Nora Lamirande, died in one of New York's new homes.
"If we are going to impact the number of fire deaths in this country, we have to get sprinklers built into these homes," Jeff Hudson, one of NFPA's regional sprinkler specialists, told the paper.
While typically supporting homeowners' decisions to sprinkler their homes, local homebuilding associations stop short in praising fire sprinkler requirements, citing affordability and fire safeguards already in place. (NFPA has developed counterpoints to their arguments.)
"Almost all fire deaths at home are preventable through the use of sprinklers and smoke alarms," Jeff Shapiro, executive director of the International Residential Code Fire Sprinkler Coalition, told the Kansas City Star. "Those who make the decision not to install that equipment in their home are indirectly responsible for any issues that occur in the future of that home."
Read the full article for additional insights on the dangers of prohibiting fire sprinkler requirements.