Firefighters calling for sprinkler installation in new homes

Firefighters calling for sprinkler installation in new homes
By Kyle Morris
Global News
Link to article: Firefighters calling for sprinkler installation in new homes

Edmonton Fire Rescue crews were called to an apartment fire at 11824 86 Street in the Eastwood neighbourhood Thursday morning. January 25, 2018.

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is hoping to see residential sprinkler systems installed in new homes.

In recent years, fires have been cutting through homes more quickly, Edmonton Fire Chief Ken Block told 630 CHED’s Afternoon News on Wednesday, noting sprinklers would help keep them contained.

Block said new construction materials play a factor in the increase in fire volatility.

“Really what’s changed over the last 15 to 18 years is the materials that are used to construct homes, and the materials that are used to make furniture coverings, floor coverings and everything we put in those homes.”

Block said those new materials are made from synthetics, rather than natural materials used in decades past.

He also said a shift towards open-concept homes also plays a part in the escalation of fire damage to homes.

Block added that sprinklers are not a perfect solution but would help firefighters move more quickly through homes that are on fire, since the flames would be subdued.

But he also said that he’s heard pushback from new home builders over the idea.

“I think there’s some tunnel vision there,” Block said. “I would like to think that we could sit down and have a fulsome discussion. The costs, as the National Fire Protection Association measures it, is around $1.35 per square foot.”

Block said that most current fire codes need to be updated, as they relate to houses from the 1960s, when homes were smaller and made from natural materials.

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