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Study Shows Home Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Lives and Property

Study Shows Home Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Lives and Property

(ARA) - After 15 years of requiring all new homes built in Scottsdale, Ariz. to have a residential fire sprinkler system, data collected by the local fire department indicates that 13 lives were saved and more than $20 million in property loss was prevented.

According to Jim Ford, fire marshal, Scottsdale Rural/Metro Fire Department, 41,408 homes, more than 50 percent of the homes in Scottsdale, are protected with fire sprinkler systems. During the last three years, the average fire loss in the homes with sprinklers was $2,166, compared to $45,019 in homes without sprinklers.

"Without a doubt, our data proves residential fire sprinklers save lives and property," Ford said.

While fire sprinklers have protected public buildings for more than 100 years, most deaths caused by fire occur in homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in homes. Yet, with more than 1.2 million homes built annually nationwide, less than 1 percent will have fire sprinkler systems installed.

"The problem is many people building homes are not aware that fire sprinklers are an option," said Gary Keith, chair of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). To increase awareness, the nonprofit group launched an advertising campaign on the cable network Home and Garden TV (HGTV).

Two 30-second ads feature home improvement expert Ron Hazelton in the kitchen of a new home with a fire sprinkler system. Hazelton informs viewers that fire sprinklers are the next generation in home fire safety because they control and usually extinguish the fire before the fire department arrives on the scene. One spot informs viewers that only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates.

"Our biggest challenge is dispelling the myths that the entire system activates," Keith said. "When you look at the Scottsdale data, 90 percent of the fires were contained with one sprinkler."

According to the HFSC, nationally on average, the cost to install a fire sprinkler system is between 1 and 1.5 percent of the total building cost. In Scottsdale, the cost is about half the national average. Ford said that because fire sprinklers are required in all new homes, there is more competition between installers, which drives the cost down.

"Slowly, more people are beginning to realize that sprinklers are an accessible, cost-effective option for their families," Keith said. "As more people become educated about sprinklers, we anticipate that they will eventually be a commonplace feature in most homes."

With Scottsdale's 15-year history, Ford said residential fire sprinklers are in fact becoming commonplace. "It seems like people either don't notice the sprinklers or notice when a home doesn't have them. Our community has plenty of children growing up in homes with fire sprinklers," Ford said.

With the majority of U.S. fire deaths occurring in homes, Keith said that widespread use of residential fire sprinklers is the key to making society safer from fire.

For more information about residential sprinklers, call HFSC toll-free (888) 635-7222 or visit the group's Web site at

Courtesy of ARA Content

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