Sheridan, Wyoming, City Council recently approved a second reading of a building code update that doesn't include the model building requirement to fire sprinkler new homes. Fire service members there seem to understand a fire sprinkler's life-saving ability but are undecided on the requirement's economical ramifications in their town.
“Sprinklers have been shown to be very effective,” Sheridan County Fire Warden Chris Thomas told The Sheridan Press. “It really gets down to a risk management cost-versus-benefits scenario and that’s never an easy decision."
Adding that there are a lot of "unknowns" on fire sprinkler requirements, Sheridan Fire-Rescue Chief told the publication that he couldn't take a side on this issue. He did say that while commercial sprinklers are prevalent, residential fire sprinklers are a "fairly new thing" that needs more research.
Through its research, NFPA and others have underscored positive outcomes in towns deciding to embrace fire sprinkler requirements. Some of the findings highlighted on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site include:
- an analysis proving the enactment of sprinkler ordinances did not cause any detrimental effects on housing supply and costs. The data reviewed indicates that sprinkler system requirements were a minor influence on regional housing costs compared to fees and other rules, population and job growth, and land availability
- in these municipalities, the cost to install sprinklers in new homes where public water was not provided was as little as $1.23 per square foot, with costs in one development where public water was provided being $1.10 or less per square foot
- this town has been able to inexpensively sprinkler its new homes, while making a dent in its home fire problem
A sprinkler requirement in Sheridan might be reconsidered during third and final reading on the new building code, reports The Sheridan Press.