The 10-part radio series "Firefight," an all-encompassing look at residential sprinklers and the battle for mandatory installation in Virginia, recently won the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for "outstanding news series."
The 2013 report thoroughly examines nearly every aspect of home fire sprinklers and how eliminating the sprinkler requirement mandated in all model building codes is placing firefighters and homeowners in harm's way. Per the report, safety seems to be getting trumped by politics and profit.
A component of this series underscores the dangers of lightweight construction through interviews with firefighters who nearly lost their lives in a fiery home built with this material. Other fire service officials take the local homebuilder association to task for their public assertions that "if we built to that [sprinkler] standard, nobody could afford a home in America."
That argument is "ridiculous," said Fire Chief Marc Bashoor of Maryland's Prince George's County, where a sprinkler mandate has been on the books for 20 years. Since then, states the report, the area has constructed 77,000 homes and hasn't experienced a single home fire fatality. (Check out NFPA's research on sprinkler costs.)
Listen to the full series and share it with anyone who's looking for a comprehensive analysis on the home fire sprinkler debate.