Press Release: Heightened level of home fire safety warranted

Press Release: Heightened level of home fire safety warranted

For Immediate ReleaseSprinklerCoalitionLogo

Heightened Level of Home Fire Safety Warranted

The tragedy of the loss of life due to fire is an unspeakable loss at any time of the year. During the week of Christmas, December 20 – 27, South Carolina had an extremely horrendous number of tragic and unnecessary loss of lives in residential home fires. Eleven persons have lost their lives in residential occupancies that did not have the highest level of protection available for prevention and life safety given current model code standards. Nine of these deaths occurred in one day. Five of the lives lost were under the age of 18. This heart-breaking loss of life makes the week of Christmas 2014 the deadliest week for fire fatalities in South Carolina in the past eight years. Whether in mobile homes, multi-family dwellings, or single-family dwellings, occupants deserve the highest standard of protection that can be provided.

This level of safety is only accomplished by an unwritten partnership between the occupants, owners, builders, and the local fire service provider. This partnership ensures: 1) the occupant employs best and safe practices in operating supplemental heating devices and ensures proper maintenance and operation of smoke detection devices, 2) that owners ensure that where appropriate, detection and alarm devices are installed and maintained, 3) that buildings are built to the most modern minimal code, and 4) that local fire departments strive to educate citizens of the dangers of fire.

In existing homes, it is even more important that these components be present, since age and condition play heavily into the life safety of a home. In new construction, adherence to minimal codes is a must if we are to prevent this type of tragedy from striking our state.

In South Carolina, one component that is omitted from this minimal code is the installation of a home fire sprinkler suppression system. Had the occupancies involved in these tragedies of the past week been equipped with fire suppression system, the loss of life could have likely been prevented.

Prices in South Carolina for these systems to be installed in new construction start at around $1.00 per square foot. During the construction of a typical South Carolina ranch style home, a system can be installed that could have prevented these tragedies for less than $2,000.

Research by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) confirms that homes with fire sprinklers can significantly reduce home fire deaths by 80 percent and direct property damage by 70 percent. The device’s life-saving capability is the reason why U.S. Model building codes require fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family dwellings. “Smoke detectors let you know there is a problem.  Fire sprinklers deal with the problem, buying you precious time to get out. Smoke detectors, alone, are not enough.  Fire sprinklers save lives” says Jonathan Jones, Chair of the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition and owner of a home protected by fire sprinklers.

The technology exists to install these systems in mobile homes, apartment buildings and single-family dwellings. As an occupant, demand that fire suppression sprinkler systems be installed in your living spaces or exercise your right to choose a home that has fire sprinklers. As an owner, research the application of these systems in to your properties to prevent the horrible loss. As a builder, research and become open and educated to the installation of the system and ensure the customer is offered the cost effective option. As a fire department, educate the public as to the operation and costs of these life saving systems.

-End-

Contact:   Jonathan Jones

(803) 435-4075

[email protected]

http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/state-coalitions/south-carolina.aspx

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