Mirroring the position of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Cynthia Ross Tustin says the time for mandatory installation of home fire sprinklers is now. "You need a home escape plan, you need working smoke alarms, and you need home sprinklers," says the fire chief for the Essa Township Fire Department in Ontario, Canada, who was interviewed by a Canadian news publication. "It's not one or the other."
Delaying the issue of requiring sprinklers, she says, makes no sense, especially since cities like Vancouver have seen life-saving successes in implementing a sprinkler ordinance. The story also cites Scottsdale, Arizona, which has required sprinklers in new homes since the mid 1980s. (A report by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition highlights data following the adoption of this ordinance.)
For the cost of installation, a homeowner could forego a similar expense for luxury upgrades to their home and instead opt for sprinklers, says Ross Tustin. "I'd rather have the faux granite countertop than not have a life-saving device," she says. "We need sprinklers because people just can't get out of their homes as fast as they used to, because [homes] just burn so darn fast." (Information from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative confirms her statements about the fire concerns of today's lightweight building materials.)
A key player supporting Ross Tustin's push for sprinklers is Jim Wilson, a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario who has "asked the province to get behind it as well," states the story.
Another Canadian fire chief making headlines this month is Kevin Foster, another vocal advocate calling for mandatory sprinkler installation. Read how Foster is joining Ross Tustin in fighting for sprinkler requirements.