Smoke detectors are a great idea and should be installed in every residence. Unfortunately, for certain high-risk groups, smoke detectors may not be effective in reducing the chances of being injured or killed in a fire.
The elderly, the very young, the mobility-impaired, and the intoxicated are all at higher risk of fire and burn injury than the general population. Those over age 65 have a fire-death rate over twice the national average. This increases to 3 times the national average at age 75 and 4 time s the average at age 85. For these populations, knowing that the house is on fire is not the same as being to escape from fire. For these situations, nothing works better than residential fire sprinklers
Automatic fire sprinklers have been installed in commercial structures for nearly 100 years. The success rate of sprinklers is remarkable; prior to the terrorist attacks in 2001, there had never been a multiple loss of life (> 3 people) fire in a fully sprinklered building.
In 1976, the US Fire Administration funded the development of fast-response residential sprinklers. These sprinklers have a diffuse pattern allowing installation of one head per room. A typical residential sprinkler head can cover up to 400 square feet of living space.
A number of communities now require installation of residential sprinklers in new construction. A typical residential sprinkler system adds $3000 to the cost of a new home. This is the same cost as wall-to -wall carpeting.
Many insurance companies offer reductions for properties with residential fire sprinklers. The Insurance Services Organization recommends a 15% premium reduction. State Farm and Allstate offer reductions of between 2% and 20% for the installation of residential sprinklers, deadbolts, smoke detectors and central monitoring systems.
A federal bill had been introduced by Rep Weldon (R-PA) to provide a tax benefit for the installation of fire sprinkler systems. Congressman Weldon is a former fire chief and a strong proponent of the fire services in the USA.
The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2005 HR 1824 amends the Internal Revenue Code to classify automatic fire sprinkler systems as a 5 year property for the purposes of depreciation. As of April, 2005 the bill has 53 cosponsors.
An identical bill was introduced in the US Senate by Sen. Santorum (R-PA) as S 512. As of April, 2005 there are 5 cosponsors
The bills can be downloaded here: HR 1131 2005.PDF
A list of co-sponsors can be downloaded here:
Rep Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH-11) has introduced HR 128, The College Fire Prevention Act. This act proposes funding of $100,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2009 to fund demonstration projects for the purpose of installing fire sprinkler systems or other fire suppression or prevention technologies in student housing and dormitories. As of April, 2005, there are 60 co-sponsors
copy of bill here:HR 128 .PDF
list of co-sponsors here:hr 128 cosponsors.PDF
The National Fire Sprinkler Association www.nfsa.org has several pages of downloadable information on their website including over 60 articles, case studies, technical data, sprinkler Contractor Safety bulletins and video clips.
The American Fire Sprinkler Association website (www.sprinklernet.org) is another good source of information
The National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org) publishes several standards on sprinkler installation in commercial and residential properties and has much information on sprinklers in general on the website
The US Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov) has a number of downloadable documents on the development, deployment and effectiveness of residential sprinkler technology on the website
US Fire Administration:
Home Fire Protection-Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems FA43 7 pp 1997 revision fa-043 home quick response sprinklers 1986.pdf
Residential Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Demonstration Project-
phase 1 multifamily structures FA 89 30 pp 1989fa-089 residential sprinkler retrofit ph1 mf structures 1989.pdf
phase 1multifamily case studies FA 90 90 pp 1989 fa-090 residential sprinkler retrofit phase 1 mf case studies 1989.pdf
phase 2 single family structures FFA 96 1990 34 ppfa-096 residential sprinklers demo project ph 2 single family structures.pdf
phase 2 case studies FA 97 1990 48 pp fa-097 residential sprinkler retrofitt phase 2 1990.pdf
Control strategies for minimizing impact on potable water supplies by installation of residential fire sprinklers 1997 100 pppotable water residential sprinklers.pdf
Fire Sprinklers for Manufactured Homes 1 pp 2000sprinklers-mh.pdf
Express Residential Sprinkler Design Guide FA155 1995, 74 ppfa-155 express fire sprinkler design.pdf
New Home Construction and Life safety Sprinklers FA 258 2003 6 ppfa-258.pdf
NIST Building and Fire Research Lab: residential fire sprinklers firesprinklers nist download.PDF
Montgomery County, MD: sprinkler legislation montgomery co sprinkler law.PDF
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