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« Home fire sprinklers requirements in California yield no negative impact on construction | Main | Amy Acton on burn survivors: From tragedy to advocacy »

05/01/2013

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Thank You!
The Sullivan tragedy, however shocking, has had many other names in the past year. Yet statewide and locally, those folks also have not created an urgency to change among people that knew them.
Tragedy is something experienced only by the living members associated with the person. We protect our homes with fire sprinklers and bend under the pressure against saying "no" when our children want to sleep over somewhere less safe. Sometimes, our children sleep over somewhere that smoke alarms aren't present, or if they are, they don't work. There is little difference from that and the eight smoke alarms installed in the home. They didn't save a thing.The fire department left a pile of demolished home that had to be removed to return to an empty lot to maintain an aesthetic neighborhood. Smoke alarms don't save lives. Smoke alarms sound a warning to take action in the form of an escape plan-something 87% of the students in Redford Union Elementary schools reported failure of doing when surveyed. That said, residential fire sprinklers have, and will continue, to save lives of people with smoke alarms and no plans or practice because it gives them time to figure out what they were supposed to figure out and practice before the fire occurred. Most often, the Sullivans wouldnt even have had to relocate while repairs occurred. I think the code requirement for smoke alarms in every room, that was once a smoke alarm on every level provides a false sense of safety, because in this story's end, even a smoke alarm in every room did not allow a police officer's family enough time to escape safely to tell their story of horror. I regret the Sullivan's choice, as much as the son will live knowing there was something that would have changed the outcome. Perhaps an attendee said it best when asked if he knew about fire sprinklers in the home as he walked slowly with a cane in hand. "I am not a proponent of safety requirements for people from cradle to grave". He made his choice, knowing that someone else is expected to intervene and he didn't care. I greive with the Sullivans and all those who have succombed to such folly, and proclaim that residential fire sprinklers make a proven difference! We cant stop advocating for code change because folly doesn't just injure and kill the people who just won't choose for their own safety.
Leslie L. Wedge, Fire Chief (retired)
Redford Twp. Fire Department

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