Media outlets in Maryland continue to produce slanted stories on the impact of the state's sprinkler requirement, which fail to give the public the full story on these life-saving devices.
Case in point: An article recently appeared on a local news site with a headline stating the requirement will "dampen building." Only a sentence was devoted to sprinkler advocates, including NFPA, who support the statewide sprinkler requirement. The rest of the story focused on builders balking at the requirement, stating that it will "unnecessarily add to the housing market's woes."
The state fire marshal disagrees. In an op-ed Brian Geraci penned earlier this year, he places the average cost to sprinkler a new home in Maryland at $1 to $2 per sprinklered square foot.
Furthermore, take a look at what is happening in California, the other state with a sprinkler requirement, which is currently experiencing a housing boom.
If these facts aren't enough, this recent example of why fire sprinklers are so crucial should convince any naysayer. A 77-year-old Maryland resident mistakenly turned on a burner with a pot of cooking oil atop it. The oil burned, and the woman transported the pot to the sink. Her action resulted in the oil splashing, which set her hair on fire. (Here are NFPA's tips on dealing with cooking fires.)
The kitchen's sprinkler immediately activated and extinguished the flames, preventing the victim from receiving life-threatening burn injuries, stated a news release from Geraci's office. Four tenants were temporarily displaced, but the home was still deemed livable. "This is another example of the effectiveness and value of these life-saving devices," Geraci stated in the news release. "Residential fire sprinklers save lives and property. The presence of fire sprinklers undoubtedly prevented a more tragic outcome." Geraci also spoke at a recent live burn/sprinkler demonstration in support of sprinklers.
Please do your part to counter the myths sprinkler opponents are using to prevent fire sprinklers in new homes. Write an op-ed, add the facts to the comments section of online news stories, and let NFPA know of any other stories you come across that don't tell the full story on sprinklers.