Oklahoma State Home Builders Association

An Affiliate of the National Home Builders Association

Letter: Concentrate on smoke alarms, not a fire-sprinkler mandate

 
Posted on March 22, 2012 by Guest Post

This is a letter written by Kurt Dinnes of COHBA written to The Oklahoman about the mandatory fire sprinkler issue.

Concentrate on smoke alarms, not a fire-sprinkler mandate

In reference to Oklahoman article ("City considers requiring sprinklers in new

homes," March 15), the decision on whether to mandate automatic fire sprinklers

in new homes does not pit housing industry organizations against public-safety

advocates. The tone of your article made it appear that we are against life safety.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The heart of the matter is a fire-sprinkler mandate in new homes does not address

the real issue. We submit that new homes are not the problem with fire deaths. The

vast majority of fire deaths occur in older homes that do not have working smoke

 
Kurt Dinnes

alarms or mobile homes. The current codes to which a new home is built have

created a much safer home. One of the requirements already in place is hard-wired

smoke alarms. Hard-wired smoke alarms save lives.

Sure, fire sprinklers will also save lives. However, national statistics from the fire

industry show that hard-wired smoke alarms are 99.44 percent effective in saving

lives.

Do we really need another mandate when new homes are not the issue?

Mandating automatic fire sprinklers in new homes will create more maintenance

problems for homeowners in Oklahoma. There have been reports after report of

property damage due to water damage from freezing water pipes in the attic.

The City of Oklahoma City's own commissions, studying the issue, unanimously

concluded to not require this mandate. They understand that today's new home has

many code requirements that make it more fire resistant.

We applaud Councilman Marrs' desire to save lives. We think the best approach is

not mandating fire sprinklers but instead focus attention on how we get working

smoke alarms in all homes.

The decision to install fire suppression systems should rest where it should -- with

the homeowner, not the government. We offer every client the option to install

lightning protection, storm shelters, water purification and fresh air exchangers. It is

their personal decision to include what they want. That is the way it should be.

Kurt Dinnes

COHBA

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