Highlighted in a recent story in North Carolina's The Herald Weekly, the state's fire service has been strategizing how best to protect these large homes if catastrophe occurs. Among the common concerns--larger open floor plans and how fire reacts to lightweight construction materials, to name a few--are limited water supplies and low water pressure.
"While all houses pose fire threats, larger homes have a different set of challenges," states the article. "For one, simply by how many gallons of water are needed per minute to contain it. The rule of thumb is length times width divided by three. That’s a disadvantage from the onset because of narrow streets with restricted access for many fire trucks, limited water supplies through small waterlines, and hydrants offering low gallons per minute not built for the needed flow. They were installed when the area had smaller vacation homes that may have only needed 1,000 gallons at a time as compared to the 10,000-30,000-square-foot homes now built in the same place."
A simple solution, the article notes, is sprinklers. These devices can significantly slash the amount of water needed to fight a fire. Read the full article for additional information, and check out the interactive tool created by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition that compares water typically used by a fire hose vs. sprinklers.