New Yorkers are used to seeing fire suppression systems—sprinklers—throughout the commercial buildings we work and shop in. But we don’t often consider a sprinkler system for our homes. All State Sprinkler Corp. knows that more and more new-home builders on Long Island are planning homes with residential sprinkler systems installed as part of the construction process. Residential sprinkler systems save lives in the event of a house fire.
Nationwide, more than 4,000 people die in fires each year and 8-out-of-10 fire deaths occur in the home. They usually happen at night when you and your family are asleep. Fires are also fast; they can go from a tiny flame to total destruction in as little as three minutes. A residential fire sprinkler system can suppress and often extinguish a fire before the fire department arrives, giving your family time to escape.
Home fire sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene. Fire sprinklers save lives, reduce property loss and can even help cut homeowner insurance premiums. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition(HFSC) cites statistics that show installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 82 percent (as compared to having neither). In a residential sprinkler system, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. Ninety percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.
• Home fire sprinklers use only a fraction of the water used by fire department hoses.
• Home fire sprinkler systems are at least as reliable as home plumbing systems.
• Modern residential sprinklers are inconspicuous and can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has partnered with FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, on an unprecedented research project to identify, analyze and evaluate the environmental impact caused by home fires—a topic of increasing international importance.
FM Global conducted full-scale fire tests in 2009 to compare the environmental impact of sprinkler and non-sprinkler home fires. The tests showed that in the event of a home fire:
• Greenhouse gas emissions were cut by 97.8%
• Water usage was reduced between 50% and 91%
• Fewer persistent pollutants, such as heavy metals, were found in sprinkler wastewater versus fire hose water
• The high pH level and pollutant load of non-sprinkler wastewater are an environmental concern
Built for the Future
Including a residential fire sprinkler system in your new home on Long Island is a great idea that can save your family members’ lives. When sprinklers are installed during construction the national average cost is only $1.35 per fire sprinkler square foot. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is helping build support for residential fire sprinklers among builders through our BUILT FOR LIFE® materials. The BUILT FOR LIFE materials educates builders about fire sprinklers and teams them with fire service experts. You can watch the BUILT FOR LIFE videothat details the entire building with sprinklers process. The BUILT FOR LIFE education kit includes brochures, a CD and DVD with everything you and your builder need to know about building with sprinklers. Best of all, you can order it for free. The BUILT FOR LIFE brochure can be downloaded so you can read it immediately.