SAVING LIVES, BUDGETS AND WATER
AS MAYORS AND CITY OFFICIALS realize signi?cant savings in lives, budget dollars and water conservation through the use of ?re sprinkler systems , the trend to mandate their expanded use is growing. To date, more than 400 jurisdictions in the United States currently require ?re sprinklers in single family homes; and this number is rising. Fire sprinklers make it possible to immediately halt raging ?re events, save lives, diminish destruction, reduce demands on responders, and conserve water by extinguishing ?ames at onset. Te ripple e?ect of extrapolated bene?ts includes less property damage, fewer events of homelessness from total losses, overall enhanced safety and security of constituents, higher home values and greater community appeal.
Fire is the largest single cause of property loss in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ?re damage caused $7.4 billion in residential property loss in the U.S. in 2007. In 2010, this cost was reduced to $6.9 billion, partially attributable to broader availability of ?r e sprinkler systems. More than half of the residential ?res took place in one- or two-family dwellings. Having a ?re sprinkler system installed in homes like these is like having a ?re?ghter on site and on duty 24 hours a day. Home ?re sprinkler systems are commanding attention and being installed in thousands of neighborhoods throughout the country now because national residential model building codes require them in new construction, communities are passing ordinances insisting on them, developers are taking advantage of trade up incentives given for them, and homeowners are realizing the unparalleled life-safety bene?ts.
Examples of typical trade ups that are being observed for sprinklered developments and sub-divisions include streets with width reductions, allowances for additional units and increased hydrant spacing. When these trade ups are bundled together, they o?er considerable savings for builders. And in forward-thinking communities, there is a groundswell of support for the life-saving bene?ts of residential sprinklers.
SPRINKLERS REDUCE COSTS DURING FIRES
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) states that a home ?re can reach deadly proportions in three minutes or less. O?en, by the time ?re trucks arrive, structures are engulfed, people are injured, surroundings are endangered and damage is excessive. Fire sprinklers signi?cantly reduce losses and water usage in a ?re. In a recent study, ?res in homes with sprinklers averaged a total loss of $14,000 versus an average loss of $179,896 in homes without ?re sprinklers. Te homes with ?re sprinklers used an average of 340 gallons of water per ?re, while the homes without ?re sprinklers used an average of 5,974 gallons of water per ?re (COMMUNITIES with HOME FIRE SPRINKLERS: Te Experience in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, November 2011). Fire sprinkler protection enables residents to gain precious opportunities to escape, while increasing the probability that ?ames may be snu?ed out before emergency crews are at the scene.
Plastic pipe systems are installed as multipurpose, combined ?re sprinkler and plumbing, or stand-alone systems and provide low cost installation in new construction or as retro?t systems in existing structures. Member companies of Te Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) make products that meet strict industry regulations for ?re protection systems. Cross-linked polyethylene ( PEX ) and CPVC provide proven performance in ?re sprinkler systems, and are tested and listed to meet the requirements of national standards that govern the design and installation of ?re sprinkler systems including: NFPA 13D, UL 1821, NSF 14 and 61, and the IRC P2904 requirement. These products are easily installed by licensed plumbing contractors and ?re professionals allowing for low cost installation ranging from 1 – 1.5% of construction costs.