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Fire safety pros tout home sprinklers as life-savers

Nov 14, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Wrier

Indoor sprinkler systems are associated most-often with business buildings, but local fire safety leaders say residential sprinklers are recommended as well -- with life-saving implications.

According to the Wyoming Fire Marshal's state fire prevention specialist, Brad Carroll, almost 2,2890 civilians lost their lives in house fires in 2016.

"With the increase of synthetics, the fires in the homes are hotter and smokier fires than we have ever experienced before," Carroll said.

"What this does is drastically reduce the time for evacuation from your home when a fire occurs."

Forty years ago, Carroll said, when natural material was used more often, escape time for fires could be as high as 25 minutes; ow, it's as low as 2 to 3 minutes.

Also, the use of engineered lumber makes floors and roofs collapse up to eight times faster.

"Residential fire sprinklers provide the protection needed for safe evacuation by activating early in a fire and keeping the fire, heat and smoke to a point where the occupants can escape," Carroll said. "In 92 percent of the time, this can occur with only one sprinkler activating, thus reducing the water damage."

Carroll noted residential sprinklers have not been around as long as commercial sprinklers and so are not as common as firefighters and safety personnel would like.

He hopes to increase the use of fire sprinklers and thereby help reduce the potential of death and injury from fires by providing quality education to homeowners, insurance agents, financial lending institutions, homebuilders and more.

"The most effective method of education is through the use of side-by-side demonstrations such as the one conducted by the Lander (Volunteer) Fire (Department) last October," Carroll said.

"People can see the devastating effects of an unchecked fire and can compare it in a matter of minutes to a fire sprinkler activation resulting in less damage to the home and contents and less danger to the occupants of the home and the responding firefighters."

For people looking for information and options for how to install a residential sprinkler system, there are a number of resources, Carroll said, including the the Riverton Voluneteer Fire Departmens and Wyoming Fire Marshal's Office.

Those agencies can provide information on the standards of a sprinkler system, as well as where to get started on getting one. Carroll also recommended homefiresprinkler.org and firesprinklerinitiative.org.

Carroll also recommended homefiresprinkler.org and firesprinklerinitiative.org.

Lander Fire administrator Fred Cox can be contacted at 332-2209, and Carroll is at 777-8772.

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