The following commentary was written by Paul Eichler, chair of the Delaware Fire Sprinkler Coalition. His words have been picked up or quoted by a handful of media outlets:
Delaware has suffered another fire fatality, over one million dollars of fire damage/property loss and an undeterminable amount of air and water pollution in just the last few weeks of 2017. Fourteen families were displaced from their apartments just before Christmas due to fire. Three houses completely lost in Slaughter Beach due to fire. A two year old was killed in Lincoln and seven family members injured due to the same fire.
If lives and property are to be saved, and air and water pollution significantly reduced, then Delawareans must step up and insist that local legislators stop deleting the residential sprinkler requirements out of their adopted building codes. The inclusion of sprinklers in the residential building code has existed [in all U.S. model building codes since 2009]. Yet, municipalities throughout Delaware continue to delete the sprinkler portion of the model code. While not all of the recent fires were in residential settings, having working smoke alarms and sprinklers available still would have reduced some of the injuries, property loss, and pollution.
Due to welcoming Delaware tax laws, Delaware is becoming increasingly popular for 55+ neighborhoods. This is the same population that becomes more susceptible to fire injury and death as they grow older in their homes. These homes should be protected with residential fire sprinklers. Even when they are requested, builders stonewall the request with outlandish price quotes. The correct information is easily available through the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office website.
Finally, with the revisions in the U.S. Tax Code and the corporate rates being significantly reduced, it would be nice to see the developers and builders pass some of these savings on to their customers and actively offer and build their houses with residential fire sprinklers.
Here's to a fire-safe 2018.
Learn more about the Delaware Fire Sprinkler Coalition by visiting its website.