New homes aren't new forever: Examining the myth that today's homes are safer than ever

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Mar 3, 2016


A few recent home fires in the news got my attention. The most recent occurred on January 31 in Novi, Michigan, that killed five people ranging in age from 16 to 23. My research indicates the home was built between 1995 and 1999. On December 17, 2015, a fire killed a father and son in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, in a home built in 1998. Three days earlier, a woman perished in a home fire in Logan-Rogersville, Missouri, in a home built in 1994. (These are just the headlines I've noticed.) In all incidents, fire departments responded within minutes of being dispatched.

We often hear from homebuilders, Realtors, politicians, and others that fire sprinklers should not be required in new homes since new homes are safer than old homes. They claim that fire deaths and injuries most often occur in older homes. They imply that simply living in a new home reduces your chances of being killed or injured in a home fire over living in an old home. If this is true, my first question is as follows: When does a new home become an old home?

For more on this post written by Fire Chief Rick Ennis, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.