Last month, Illinois' Downers Grove Village Council voted on a proposal to require fire sprinklers in its new homes. Though many of the nearly 40 single-family-home fires in the village over the past five years resulted in more than $100,000 worth of damage, the council, citing some popular sprinkler myths, sided against the proposal, according to a recent news story.
Despite one of the council's commissioners, Marge Earl, losing her childhood home to fire, she did not seem to support the ordinance, telling MySurbanLife.com that "sprinklers would have not prevented the fire because it originated inside the home's walls." While fire sprinklers can't prevent fire from starting, the technology is stellar at extinguishing it or keeping it under control until the fire department arrives.
Earl also mentioned that fire sprinklers would be a "financial burden" on families, another popular statement made by sprinkler opponents that NFPA has addressed via extensive research. Another commissioner wanted homeowners, not his council, to make the call on sprinkler installations in their home. Since fire sprinklers have been a requirement in all U.S. model building codes since 2009, fire safety advocates argue that those who have developed each edition of these codes have deemed fire sprinklers a crucial, life-saving aspect of today's home environment. Homeowners, for instance, don't get a say in other mandatory construction features meant to protect them. Why, they argue, should home fire sprinklers be any different?
According to the story, officials were also concerned with "inspection and maintenance costs." If installing home fire sprinklers in accordance to NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinklers in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, any basic inspection or maintenance can be performed by a homeowner at no cost. (Check out these simple steps from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.)