Fire Sprinklers To Be Required In New Houses

house fire photo

Smoke detectors have helped drastically reduce the number of house fires, but 3,000 people still die every year in them, and a house burns every 80 seconds. The environmental costs are high as well, as burning vinyl produces dioxins and other toxic byproducts which are hurting firefighters. We have previously suggested mandatory sprinklers as a big step in building; now the International Code Council has overwhelmingly voted to make fire sprinklers a requirement in new houses and townhouses.

Of course the home builders objected, complaining about the roughly $ 3,500 cost. (people drop that on a granite countertop without thinking but you can't oooh and aaah over a sprinkler head). But as the mother of a fire victim said, "the cost to put sprinklers into the home where my daughter died would have been less than what I had to pay for the flowers at her funeral."

sprinkler poster photo

This could be a real boon for greener, healthier houses. Currently, a lot of furniture, plastics and even bedding and clothing are treated with fire retardants like Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) that are building up in our bloodstreams and in women's breast milk. As we noted earlier, "Once again, it is a design problem; it would be superfluous to add fire retardants to furniture or electronics if there was a fire suppression system in every house, and the most effective system of all is a sprinkler system." Congratulations to the International Code Council! ::New York Times and ::Building Online

big step sprinklers image

See our earlier Big Steps in Building: Put Sprinklers in Every Housing Unit
Are flame retardants a bigger risk than fire?
New flame retardants detected in indoor and outdoor environments
Hazardous flame retardant found in household objects