Matt Klaus, NFPA's principal fire protection engineer, set the record straight about NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, during NFPA's recent Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Boston. Myths and misconceptions, he said, abound about sprinkler performance and installation cost.
Regarding the latter, the standard's committee makes it a point to consistently make sprinklers installed in accordance with NFPA 13D as affordable as possible. "We don't want to price people out of these systems," said Klaus.
Moreover, sprinklers should be a necessary component of new homes, which are mainly built with lightweight materials that burn hotter and faster than solid wood assemblies of years past. Therefore, noted Klaus, don't believe the myth that newer homes are safer homes.
Sprinklers, he added, aren't water wasters, a notion that's also perpetuated by sprinkler opponents. In fact, more water is used to fight a fire in an unsprinklered home versus a fire extinguished by sprinklers. (Looking for proof? Check out this demo created by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.) "Water is not a commodity that is available in some areas," said Klaus. "Sprinklers can help with that."