A small fire at the Smithsonian Castle building in Washington, D.C., made minimal headlines, mainly because its sprinklers quickly extinguished the flames. No deaths. No injuries. Minimal damage.
In a well-written commentary by writer Dave Statter, he promotes the protection at this building and the "care...to protect...priceless artifacts and many visitors from fire" and how this level of protection is constantly (and ridiculously) debated in the residential setting. What has riled Statter is recent news from Wisconsin that the state will no longer enforce a rule to fire sprinkler apartments that have three to 20 units. This announcement reverses a previous one made earlier this year by the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services, which stated the sprinklering of these residences would remain in effect. According to the Associated Press, the Wisconsin Builders Association opposed the sprinkler rule.
"It's the same old story in Wisconsin as it is in Virginia, where I live, and in much of the rest of the country," stated Statter. "The expertise of [the fire service does] not matter to the politicians. What matters are the builders.
"School-aged kids from all over the country come to Washington to visit the Smithsonian. They learn valuable lessons about our country. But the lesson today...is for the adults like [Wisconsin] Governor Walker...who help lead this great nation: sprinklers save both valuable property and the lives of the children from Wisconsin, Virginia, and the 48 other states who come to Washington to eagerly peer through the glass at the history on display along the National Mall. The builders won't ever teach you that lesson, but the fire chiefs always will."
Please teach this important lesson to the people and decision makers in your community. Take action by using NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative's resources.