Showing posts with label homeowners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeowners. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More On The Sprinkler System Issue

This article should shed a little more light on the issue with fire sprinkler systems being installed in new family dwellings. No one will argue the fact that perhaps sprinklers do save lives. The issue here is the fact that there is one more law from the government telling us how to live our lives in something that WE are paying for, not to mention the added expense initially, then the costs, possibly, to have water hooked to it. What does it cost to have city water run to this? What would the monthly cost be?

Let's face it. People don't want to burn to death in the middle of the night in their homes. They don't want to see their belongings destroyed by fire either. More importantly, what they don't want is for the government of any size to come into their homes and tell them there is one more thing they must do........because it's law. That's just wrong!

Maryland has adopted the National Building Code, effective Jan. 1, as the standard for all new residential construction in the state. One of its provisions is a mandate that fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new one- and two-family dwellings. Municipalities may exempt themselves from the requirement --but only if they do so by mid-December. Berlin is considering exempting itself; Salisbury has adopted the requirement.

While it's easy to see how homeowners might be skeptical, the available literature and video demonstrations on the Internet are convincing. In staged demonstrations, a fire can destroyed a room in less than 2 minutes; in an identical room with a sprinkler installed, the fire is extinguished in about 15 seconds.

There is no convincing argument for any builder or homeowner to choose not to install sprinklers.

Sprinklers cost between $1 and $1.50 per square foot of living space; therefore, for a modest 1,200-square-foot starter house, the additional cost would be about $1,200-$1,800 --equivalent to modest upgrades in flooring, kitchen cabinets or other fixtures in a new home. The additional one-time cost is offset to some degree by a 1 to 2 percent annual discount on homeowner's insurance.

Plumbing, which is required for home sprinkler systems, is a self-contained system that does not experience the wear and tear of ordinary plumbing; it is installed inside the walls where it is not exposed to freezing temperatures. Because sprinkler heads are activated independently, only the amount of water necessary to contain the fire until help arrives is dispatched, limiting water damage. And because the sprinkler heads are heat-activated, there is little chance for accidental triggering of the devices.

Smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a house fire by nearly 50 percent; sprinklers increase it to about 97 percent.

In the end, the argument comes down to whether government should tell people what to do. When government steps in to protect people instead of giving them choices, it should because of the potential for that decision to harm others -- as this one could in apartments, hotels or duplexes.

Multi-family structures should be required to have sprinkler systems; however, builders or owners of single-family dwellings should retain the right to make the decision.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Firefighters Let Home Burn Because Of Unpaid Fee

-Tennessee--A small rural community in western Tennessee is outraged and the fire chief is nursing a black eye after firefighters stood by and watched a mobile home burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 municipal fee.

South Fulton city firefighters -- equipped with trucks, hoses and other firefighting equipment -- didn't intervene to save Gene Cranick's doublewide trailer home when it caught fire last week. But they did arrive on the scene to protect the house of a neighbor, who had paid his fire subscription fee.

"I just forgot to pay my $75," Cranick told ABC News. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."

Later that day, Cranick's son Timothy went to the fire station to complain, and punched the fire chief in the face.

"He just cold-cocked him," Police Chief Andy Crocker told the Union City Daily Messenger. The younger Cranick was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, and South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was treated and released from a hospital, Crocker said.

Firefighters in South Fulton city are under orders to respond only to fire calls within their city limits, as well as to surrounding Obion County, but only to homes there where people have signed up for a fire subscription service.

Because Cranick hadn't paid his fee, firefighters doused the border of his neighbor's property to protect that house in case the flames spread, but wouldn't help him. He lost all his possessions, plus three dogs and a cat.

"They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC.

The fire began when Cranick's grandson set fire to some trash near the house, and the flames leapt up. Cranick said he told the 911 operator that he'd pay whatever fee was necessary, but it was too late.

"I have no problem with the way any of my people handled the situation. They did what they were supposed to do," South Fulton City Manager Jeff Vowell told the Messenger. "It's a regrettable situation any time something like this happens."

But one firefighting expert said the fee system isn't fair to homeowners or firefighters.

"Professional, career firefighters shouldn't be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up," Harold Schatisberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said in statement excerpted by MSNBC. "They get in their trucks and go."