These have been some of the tactics used by Maryland's safety advocates to defend the life-saving capability of the state's sprinkler requirement. Threatened by recent legislation to weaken this requirement, advocates have ramped up their effort to promote sprinklers in new homes. Their efforts seem to be working.
An editorial that appeared in the Carroll County Times stated that it hopes the legislation goes "up in smoke."
"We understand the burden on developers, particularly in recent years as the real estate bubble burst with ever-increasing federal and state regulations on homebuilding have cut into their profits. But this is one regulation we can get behind," stated the editorial.
Addressing cost concerns about installing sprinklers in rural communities that are on well and septic systems, the editorial noted that sprinklers are inexpensive in the grand scheme of home construction. "Spread [the average installation cost of $1.35 per sprinklered square foot] over a 30-year mortgage, and it's likely something you'll barely notice. Having fire sprinklers can also reduce your homeowner's insurance."
Not to mention save lives, said Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch, who recently underscored the 60 fire deaths in Maryland last year. "So many of these deaths would not have occurred if they had residential fire sprinklers," he told The Baltimore Sun.
Further proving the impact of fire sprinklers, Bouch added that there hasn't been a single fire death in a townhome built since 1992, when a requirement for sprinklers in these settings was enacted. Bouch also called the cost burden of the sprinkler requirement "exaggerated," saying sprinklers are "just like installing plumbing in your home."
Also joining the cause is Sher Grogg, who tragically lost her brother, Don; sister-in-law, Sandra; and their four grandchildren in a fire last year. Grogg is now advocating for sprinklers with support from Common Voices, a fire safety advocacy coalition that includes members directly affected by fire. "I feel that people feel my pain when I'm talking," she told the Capital Gazette. "I want people to feel this pain.
"Sprinklers give you a chance. It buys you time, and time is something Don and Sandy didn't have."
Please follow Sher Grogg's lead and help champion for home fire sprinklers in your state or region. Join a state sprinkler coalition today.