There's a popular myth circulating across North America that today's homebuilding materials offer adequate protection for occupants during a fire. Tell that to Jack Grant, president of the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association, who recently gave some pointed comments about the popular--and cost-effective--lightweight construction materials found in many of today's new homes. Recently in his state, a new, two-story home was destroyed by fire in minutes. While firefighters on the scene escaped with their lives, others haven't been as fortunate.
"This type of construction will kill firefighters," Grant told a local NBC affiliate during a recent interview. Rather than nix the use of this widely popular material, Grant would prefer to see a code-required device--sprinklers--added to all new homes. He's been working with other sprinkler advocates from the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition to make sprinkler installations in new dwellings a reality across the Commonwealth.
Research by Underwriters Laboratories and others has confirmed time and again that today's homes burn hotter and faster than their older counterparts built with traditional wood materials. When comparing the time it takes traditional and lightweight materials to fail, studies show that the former under fire collapses in about 18 minutes while the latter can collapse in as little as six minutes.
"We've been fighting to get residential sprinklers installed in new construction for this very reason," said Grant.
Read the story written for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative underscoring the immense research proving today's homes aren't safer, and how sprinklers can mitigate fire risks.