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Do you think the city should require fire sprinklers in all new single-family homes?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 2, 2008

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Photo of Ericka Schreiner

“No. I don’t think they should require them to spend the extra money. I think it should be up to the person paying for the home.”

Photo of Adam Waybright

“As someone who’s had a fire in his home, I would give a big yes to that. It would have really saved me a lot of money, and I wouldn’t have had to move.”

Photo of Brandon Whightsil

“For new housing, I don’t see a problem with it. They already have so many requirements, why not throw in another one if it could save some lives?”

Photo of Althea Schnacke

“Yes. It’s important for families’ safety. You can’t always hear the fire alarm, so at least they can kick in as a backup.”

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dajudge 9 years, 7 months ago

I like to lie "up" my age, then the personcan say I don't look that old. So, Multid,just tell people you're 57 and they'llmarvel at how young you look. They'llswear you don't look over 45.Oh, and yeah, probably a good idea about the sprinklers.

classclown 9 years, 7 months ago

The city paid to install them in the downtown buildings. Will they pay to install them in our houses as well?

jonas_opines 9 years, 7 months ago

A better question might be: "Do you think, in light of the mortgage crisis, that we should be building any more single-family homes?"multiD: Shengri kuai le!

SMe 9 years, 7 months ago

Catch 22 on this one.If you answer yes you're suggesting you'd be willing to pay possibly $6,000 or so more for a home.If you answer no then you're putting money above safety.Me? I say heck no. I'll trust my fire alarms.

nobody1793 9 years, 7 months ago

Now if the sprinklers malfunctioned, or went off inadvertantly from a cigar-filled poker night, would you have to have "flood insurance" on top of homeowners insurance? Water damage is nasty nasty stuff.And seriously, enough with the bob dylan.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 7 months ago

MultiD, Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have a great one!

lunacydetector 9 years, 7 months ago

are there any new homes being built during these tough financial times? this is a ridiculous proposal. who proposed it anyway, some loon wanting to put a damper on any future home construction for when the market returns? the 2' freeboard must've not been enough. someone has some long range plans in store for us. i am trying to remember the last time a newer home burned to the ground. funny, i can't remember.propose putting sprinkler systems in homes 50+ years old since those are the homes people die in from fires. then you'd hear some real screaming.

LA_Ex 9 years, 7 months ago

Go back and read the actual articles. I posted a link I found that answers most of these myths that sprinklers work off heat, can flood your house, expensive to install, etc.Just to answer some of these questions.1. They work off heat. Usually set at temps between 135 and 165, smoke doesn't factor in at all.2. Depending on the system, only onesprinkler head activates putting out 8 to 25 gallons per minute. (Compared to 50 to 125 gallons per minute from a fire hose.)3. 1 in 16 million heads may accidentally discharge.4. Cost is around $1.65 per square foot.5. Smoke detectors save your life, sprinklers save your belongings and your life.

yoornotmee 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm okay with the fire sprinklers but I'd want them to have a delay on them so they could be turned off if there wasn't actually a fire. I don't want all my stuff getting soaked just because I suck at cooking. I would also want it to understand that there is a difference between fire smoke and hookah smoke.

beatrice 9 years, 7 months ago

No. Instead, I think they should ban fires. That should take care of it. Happy b-day, multi!

Kookamooka 9 years, 7 months ago

Wouldn't a better question be...."Should the City of Lawrence require new single family homes be built with basements or tornado shelters?" I can't believe how many slab homes were built in the 1990's and early 2000's! For Petes sake....we live in Kansas!

LA_Ex 9 years, 7 months ago

Newell, don't they make flush mounted sprinkler heads so the child/ball scenario is less likely to happen? Don't they use the dry systems in areas where there is a risk of pipes freezing? That was what I've gathered in what research I've done.

Linda Endicott 9 years, 7 months ago

And what kind of damage does 8-25 gallons of water per minute do to your clothes, photos and family heirlooms? Not to mention your computer or any other electronic device...(I think the family dog or cat could survive it without much damage.)If the vial breaking due to heat is what activates the sprinkler, then do they have to be replaced every time they go off?Does homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance cover water damage caused by a sprinkler system?

notajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) says: "I turn 49 today."Funny, your profile doesn't look a day over 43.(Happy Birthday!)***I have no objection in principle to sprinklers in new construction - I wonder who's going to have to pick up the tab for periodic inspections to make sure they're working.

Tom McCune 9 years, 7 months ago

LA_Ex and George are correct about how sprinklers work. What sprinkler advocates don't tell you is the amount of property damage caused by fire sprinklers when there is no fire. I have had two buildings heavily damaged by sprinklers when the pipes froze and ruptured. I had another with minor damage when kids threw a ball that broke the glass bulb in a sprinkler head. Does anyone remember when Watson Library was damaged by frozen/ruptured sprinkler lines some years ago?Also, sprinkler systems have to be inspected, tested, and flushed periodically, all at the owner's expense. There are certainly buildings that need sprinkler systems, but they are high-rise buildings, large buildings with complicated exiting, and buildings where lots of flammables are stored. I wouldn't want one in my house.

sdinges 9 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely not. When you make requirements like this, the builder just puts in the cheapest system possible, which ends up being more of a nuisance than a help to the homeowner.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Molly: "I don't want all my stuff getting soaked just because I suck at cooking."I'm with Molly on this one.I can stand a little rain, but some weeks my smoke alarm goes off daily.( A maaaaaaaaaaaaid... a man needs a maid. )AND I've already posted my birthday condolences AND I too find myself in Bob Dylan.( So there. )

George_Braziller 9 years, 7 months ago

nobody1793 - You and other posters obviously don't have an understanding of how sprinker systems work. Smoke detectors are only the first line of defense and only emit an audiable alarm. Sprinkler systems are not triggered by smoke, they are triggered by high heat. If you take a look at a sprinker head you will notice a small (toothpick sized) red cylinder in the middle. That is a small glass vial containing an alcohol solution that when it is exposed to high heat expands and breaks the glass vial. THAT is what will activate the sprinkler and only that sprinkler. It doesn't activate all of them. An important piece of information that isn't mentioned in the article is the thousands and thousand of dollars that would be saved in insurance premiums on a residence with overhead sprinklers. If I was building a house I'd include a sprinker system without even giving it a second thought. I'd rather clean up water damage in a couple of rooms than come home to find that every thing I owned was charcoal. Not just the house but every article of clothing, every photograph, every pet, every heirloom, everything in your daily life that you take for granted -- gone.

George_Braziller 9 years, 7 months ago

Newell_Post - If your system froze then you had the wrong one installed. Dry systems don't contain any water at all and are intended for areas that will freeze. It's all compresssed air that only has water pumped into the the lines when there is a fire.

figrod 9 years, 7 months ago

"There are certainly buildings that need sprinkler systems, but they are high-rise buildings, large buildings with complicated exiting, and buildings where lots of flammables are stored. I wouldn't want one in my house" This statement is completely contradictory to the facts. Here are the facts:The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world. For 1998, the U.S. fire death rate was 14.9 deaths per million population. Between 1994 and 1998, an average of 4,400 Americans lost their lives and another 25,100 were injured annually as the result of fire. About 100 firefighters are killed each year in duty-related incidents. 90% of these died in a home fire.Each year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined. Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home; at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences. Of those, approximately 85 percent occur in single-family homes and duplexes.Do you still want to live in an unsprinklered home? For the price you pay to upgrade flooring, kitchen cabinets, or countertops, you could pay to protect yours' or your loved ones lives.Home fire sprinklers save lives!!! The time to mandate fire sprinklers was yesterday.For more information about home sprinklers visit:

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