Residential Sprinkler Systems
By David Hull
December 19, 2007
Homeowners, prospective or otherwise, and home builders of Ketchikan,
object if you want, complain about the cost or debate the effectiveness
of residential sprinkler systems until you are comfortable with
your stance, but do not mistake the motives or knowledge of the
Ketchikan Fire Department's Chief officers or Fire Marshall staff.
The department is not "Empire Building" or attempting
to put up a road block to development in Ketchikan. KFD is trying
to prevent, to the very best of their abilities, tragedies such
as the one that has driven an emotional stake in the very heart
of the spirit of Ketchikan.
I'm not going to tell you that a residential sprinkler system
would have saved those children. What I can tell you is that
sprinkler systems by and large are 95% effective at what they
do, put fires out in the early moments of ignition. Would a system
have prevented the fire in that house? Statistics show that it
would have given the occupants of the house their best shot at
escaping the fire. That is what is important here, human lives.
All the contents of a building can be replaced, burnt or wet.
The issue here isn't about causing more construction costs or
holding back progress. The issue here is saving lives, or trying
to at least.
The argument was made that firefighters choose the life they
lead and having to pull hose 150' or more to the fire is just
part of the job. It's not about having to work hard, its about
setting up a situation that allows the occupants to escape themselves.
Why? The records show the fire department was on scene within
3 minutes of the call. Three minutes! Seattle, New York, Washington
D.C. can't do any better than that. Pulling hose up the more
than 150' to fight the fire? I base my professional reputation
on this statement that no department, NO department can make
a better first hit on a fire than the first arriving units of
the Ketchikan Fire Department, no one. The tragic truth of this
fire was that the occupants could not escape on their own prior
to the arrival of the firefighters. That is what this issue should
be about, not money. You have to come up with a better reason
to counter the City Council's decision than money. Have a better
way to protect the lives of the occupants? Is it cheaper? Now
there is a debate issue. Let's hear where you all stand on this.
People of Ketchikan. Please use this tragic incident as incentive
to look at your own situation to make sure you and your children
can escape on your own, before the fire department arrives. All
three departments have all the information you could ever need
to figure that out. Call us. That is what we are there for. All
departments have free, yes FREE, smoke detectors, CO detectors,
fire extinguishers, fire escape ladders, because we recognize
the issue is about saving lives, not costing people money. Please
take advantage of this opportunity to search your house to make
sure nothing like this ever happens to you. We can help, just
Fires do happen, there is no
denying that fact, but fires do not have to take lives. There
are things that you can do to help yourself and the department
protect the most precious of your possessions, your family. Put
this issue where it belongs, saving lives, not money.
About: " 30 + years in
the fire service in Ketchikan."
Received December 17, 2007
- Published December 19, 2007
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