Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash
This week is the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative's (FSI) Home Fire Sprinkler Week. So it's a good time to highlight the requirements in NFPA 101 pertaining to the protection of one- and two-family dwellings, and the importance of these requirements.
According to data published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, fires in one- and two-family homes account for nearly half of all report fires in the United States. Between the years 2012 and 2016, more than 2,000 people were killed annually in fires in one- or two-family homes, accounting for nearly 80 percent of fire deaths in the United States during this time period.
Chapter 24 of NFPA 101 provides requirements for the design and protection of one- and two-family dwelling. Specifically, I will be focusing on fire sprinklers and smoke detection.
The Code requires all new one- and two-family homes to be sprinklered with an NFPA 13, NFPA 13D, or NFPA 13R system. According to FSI, fires are contained within the room of origin in 97 percent of fires in homes with sprinklers, and having a sprinkler system in a home reduces the risk of death by about 80 percent, compared to homes without fire sprinkler systems. The city of Scottsdale, Arizona adopted an ordinance requiring all new homes to be provided with sprinklers in 1986. During the first fifteen years that the ordinance was adopted there was not a single fatality in a sprinklered home.
In a January 2019 report published by the Foundation, it was found that in more than half of fatal home fires smoke alarms were either not present or failed to operate, and the presence of working smoke alarms in a home reduces the likelihood of death in a home fire by nearly 50 percent. Therefore, the presence of working smoke alarms in homes is an important factor to reducing home fire deaths.
NFPA 101 requires all new and existing homes to be provided with smoke alarms or smoke detection. Although the use of a fire alarm system with smoke detection is permitted, most home are provided with either single-station or multiple-station smoke alarms. All new homes are required to be provided with interconnected multiple-station smoke alarms, which will sound throughout the entire home upon activation of a single smoke alarm. The use of existing battery-operated single station smoke alarms is only permitted in existing homes. The Code requires the installation of both single-station and multiple-station smoke alarms to comply with NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
The use of synthetic materials in home construction and home furnishing, in combination with construction trends, including larger areas and open floor plans, have resulted in significantly reduced safe egress time from homes. Working smoke detection and fire sprinklers have been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of death in fires in homes.
To learn more about the Home Fire Sprinkler Week, including access to public videos, data sheets, and infographics, visit the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.
Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to www.nfpa.org/101 and click on “FREE ACCESS.”