APPLE VALLEY, Minn., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine the public outcry if an airplane crashed every month. Month after month, crash after crash, thousands of Americans dying from a preventable incident seems unimaginable.
However, a similar scenario is being played out today in homes across America, where residential fires kill upward of 2,500 people each year.
In 2009, California home fires killed 44 people and injured 430 including 102 firefighters as reported to the California Office of the State Fire Marshal.
In response to growing concerns about home-fire fatalities and irrefutable fire-loss data, states such as California and Pennsylvania have adopted national building codes that require fire sprinklers in all newly constructed homes.
"We know that fire sprinklers save lives, reduce injuries and decrease property damage," explains California Acting State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, who says this fact is borne out by decades of studies across the nation.
"The goal of any sprinkler system is to suppress the fire long enough for first responders to arrive, but there are significant differences in fire sprinkler design, performance and maintenance costs," says Jayson Drake, senior product manager, Plumbing and Fire Safety, for Uponor North America. "Some builders prefer multipurpose fire sprinklers because of their affordability and ease of installation."
A multipurpose system combines the cold-water plumbing and the fire sprinkler system into one. The alternative requires three separate sets of pipes – two for the home's hot- and cold-water plumbing and a third for the standalone fire sprinkler system.
Since just two sets of pipes are required, multipurpose systems install up to 65 percent faster and can reduce the cost by as much as 15 percent, compared with traditional systems, explains Drake.
A key benefit of these interconnected, multipurpose systems is their reliability. In fact, some fire officials prefer multipurpose systems for this very reason: Homeowners cannot inadvertently shut off fire protection to their homes.
COST-EFFECTIVE FIRE SAFETY
A September 2008 study by the Fire Protection Research Foundation put the average cost of residential fire sprinklers at $1.61 per square foot. In markets where fire sprinklers have become commonplace, such as San Clemente, Calif., the average installation cost has dropped to $0.38 per square foot.
Another key distinction between multipurpose and traditional standalone fire sprinkler systems is that the latter require several additional pieces of equipment to operate.
Standalone sprinkler systems typically need backflow prevention devices to keep the stagnant contents of the sprinkler system entirely separate from the drinking water. And, depending on the municipality, some standalone systems require a check valve or a separate water meter, which can add to the system's overall cost.
Regardless of the type of fire sprinkler system installed in a home, this life-saving technology is here to stay, concludes Acting State Fire Marshal Hoover.
"Without question, we know that fire sprinklers save lives, prevent injuries and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in property losses," says Hoover. "We've protected factories and office buildings with fire sprinklers for almost 100 years; it is time to put sprinklers where 80 percent of all fire deaths occur – in the home."
Read more, including a longer version of this article and hi-res images, at: http://uponor.oreilly-depalma.com/2011/california-multipurpose-fire-sprinklers.shtml
Uponor, Inc. is a leading supplier of plumbing, fire safety and radiant heating and cooling systems for the residential and commercial building markets in the United States. For more information, visit www.uponor-usa.com or call (800) 321-4739.
SOURCE Uponor, Inc.