Safety officials stress importance of home fire sprinklers during Home Fire Sprinkler Week

DELAWARE – Home Fire Sprinkler Week is upon us. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) says 14 lives have been lost to fires in Delaware this year.

HFSC Chair Paul Eichler says those deaths could have been prevented had they had sprinkler systems in their homes. “That you protect your property, and suffer from less fire damage, is a secondary concern to the aspect of giving people the opportunity to get out of a dwelling when there is a fire, not be subject to the heat, the flames, and the poisonous gasses of the smoke,” he said.

Eichler says the problem is that some municipalities waive home fire sprinkler requirements for new construction. “Municipalities were not sure what kind of impact that inclusion would have, with regards to construction practices, water supply demands, and other factors, as well as resistance from the builder community, to an extent,” he said.

Eichler says he’s hoping to see that change. Not only would increased installation of fire sprinklers save victims from significant property damage; it could also save their lives, according to Eichler.

“The average residential fire loss is over $24,000,” he said. “So, when you’re talking about the comparison of being concerned about the additional cost on a house of $2 to $3 per square foot versus your insurance claim, the amount of time that you will be displaced from your residence, and the necessity to replace those items that were functional or valuable to you; the cost argument just doesn’t add up.”

However, Eichler says more local municipalities are starting to enforce the sprinkler requirement. He says Dover and Milford are considering the issue, as well as Sussex County. “Be it at a county level or a town, city, or municipal level, we should just flat out get past this deletion from the adopted building code, and make it stay in,” said Eichler.

Categories: Delaware, Local News