Home sprinkler systems reduce deaths, property loss due to fire

COVINGTON -- Although smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are what we hear the most about when fire protection is discussed, residential sprinklers are the most effective preventer of fire-relateddeath and property damage, according to the Newton County Fire Service.

"Newton County Fire is a strong supporter of residential sprinklers. It is a proven fact that home sprinklers save lives and property in our community, but also the safety and lives of firefighters," said NCFS Fire Safety Educator Lt. Cydnie Taylor-Ridling.

She said statistically fires in the home pose one of the biggest threats to people in the community. More than 350,000 home fires occur each year in the U.S. and more than 2,500 people a year die in home fires.

Home sprinkler systems would drastically cut those statistics.

According to Taylor-Ridling, if you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present. Sprinklers also protect against significant property loss by reducing the average loss about 71 percent per fire.

"There are regretfully no Georgia codes that enforce residential sprinklers," Taylor-Ridling said, but pointed out that model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes.

The systems work by responding quickly to reduce the heat, flames and smoke from a fire, giving families valuable time to get to safety. In most cases, about 85 percent of the time, only one sprinkler goes into operation. Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to go off when it senses a significant heat change. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.

For more information on home sprinkler systems, go to www.firesprinklerinitiative.org.