New study shows ease of integrating home fire sprinklers with local water supply systems
Home fire sprinklers can be integrated with local water supply systems with ease, according to a new study.
The study - Integration of Residential Sprinklers with Water Supply Systems (PDF, 842 KB) - was released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Conducted by Newport Partners of Maryland, it looked at detailed information for 20 US communities with a residential sprinkler ordinance and concluded that water supply integration requirements have been put into place, and there are no examples of insurmountable problems or issues. Neither design problems nor significant added costs were found in the communities surveyed.
"This is another critical piece of substantiation against the myths that abound about home fire sprinklers," said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. "It is simply not true that sprinklers cannot be integrated with public water supply or significantly adds to cost. What is true is that home fire sprinklers save lives and should be required in new construction of one- and two-family homes."
All model safety codes now include such a provision. According to NFPA, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.
Key findings from the report
While sprinklers are still a fairly recent development in all of these communities (average ordinance age is about 3 years), water supply integration requirements have been put into place, and there are no examples of insurmountable problems or issues. Neither design problems nor significant added costs were found in the communities surveyed. Findings included:
Overall, water suppliers, building departments and fire service have developed practical approaches to accommodate both home fire sprinklers and the local water supply.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 U.S. communities with a residential sprinkler ordinance to better understand how sprinklers are integrated with the local water supply systems, including any added costs related to meters or tap fees. Participants included local water providers, building departments and fire service staff. The interview questions were based on a literature review of fire sprinkler/water supply integration issues, and were conducted by phone after first screening a community to make sure it had an ordinance covering all new single-family construction that had been in effect subsequent to 1999. This research was conducted in Spring/Summer 2009.
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