Thursday, March 04, 2010

“THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE”

HOME FIRE SPRINKLERS AND THE NEW CODE

IN THE 2009 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE, all new
one-and-two family dwellings must have a NFPA No. 13-R fire sprinkler
system installed effective January 1, 2011. January 2011? And why that
date? Why not when the code is adopted in 2009? Well, here are some of the
facts...
At the ICC Code Change Conference in 2008, the fire service packed the hearings with voting members. They did a better job at it than the home builders had in previous years. The home builders hope to mount a state-by-state campaign to defeat the January 2011 sprinkler requirement.

Smoke detectors: - - 30% don’t work due to lack of maintenance and life cycle. Fire deaths: 25% in homes that have smoke detectors.

Residential fire sprinklers operate within the first moments of a fire. Not only does this save lives, but also reduces property damage. Without fire sprinklers, you have fireman with 250 gal./min. hoses flooding your house and all your personal belongings. Which method would you prefer?

The residential sprinkler code does not require sprinklers in attic or small closets. The are no fire department connections or standpipes required. The system does not have to connected to a central alarm service (Although I would highly recommend that the fire sprinklers and smoke detectors be connected to an off-site alarm service. Quick response = less fire and water damage).

In rural areas, water volume and pressure can be a problem. Plumbing tests have shown that if you have enough water pressure to flush the toilet, then you have probably enough to operate a few sprinkler heads. (All the heads don’t discharge all at once!)

The costs will be between $1.75 to $3.00 sq. ft. during construction. In some states local plumbers are allowed to install. The sprinkler industry is really fighting that concept.

With fire sprinklers, the release of greenhouse has (CO2) are reduced by 99% beacuse of smoke released from an actual fire.

The amount of water usage is reduced by 50%.

The amount of fire damage to the room is less than 3%, compared to 100% loss in an
unprotected room.

In time these systems will become as common place in new construction as smoke detectors and GFI protection.

With local governments cutting fire department budgets and giving some firefighters their “pink slips”, response times will be greater as will fire losses and lives lost. Built-in fire sprinklers for new homes will be a God Send in reducing those losses.