"I don't think anyone has ever asked me, 'Hey, I'd like to put a fire sprinkler system in my home," Illinois homebuilder Tim Koontz told an NBC affiliate during a recent news segment. "Our position has been that [sprinklers] should be customer choices."
However, homeowner Ken Sparrow considers this technology "a must" and not an option after hearing about the damage and loss from rural home fires in his area. Some education convinced him that this addition to his new home was worth it. "The people [in the photo] hanging on the wall are the reason we got this and decided to spend a little extra money to buy this system," he told NBC.
The Quincy Fire Department in Illinois hopes recent, educational efforts will have the same effect on others in the market for new homes. Via a live burn/fire sprinkler demonstration that garnered media coverage, the department is raising awareness of this technology and hopes these efforts eventually lead to the consideration of a town ordinance for sprinklering new homes. According to the news story, the Illinois state fire marshal pushed for a statewide, fire sprinkler requirement in 2013, but withdrew the proposal after fierce opposition. An alternative approach that seems to be working in Illinois is having local communities adopt their own ordinance. Close to 100 towns now have one on the books.
Correcting sprinkler myths perpetuated by the opposition is still ongoing in Illinois. Though homebuilder Koontz claims that "the [fire] department is probably a mile away [from one of my subdivisions], so the response time is going to be pretty good," today's home fires can become deadly in as little as three minutes.
[Through these live burn/sprinkler demonstrations,] I hope people...understand that fire burns very rapidly in your house," Quincy Deputy Chief Greg Dryer told NBC.
Utilize all of our free resources catered to homebuilders. Let them know that building without fire sprinklers is building substandard homes.