EDMOND — Firefighters are encouraging people to install fire sprinkler systems in their Edmond homes as a safety precaution.
“It is like having a fireman with you 24 hours a day,” said Mike Barnes, chief of fire prevention.
More than 80 percent of fire deaths occur in the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
“Fire sprinklers are designed to contain the fire until firefighters can get there,” Barnes said. “Sprinklers give the residents time to get out.”
Home fire sprinkler systems are becoming more popular in Edmond, Barnes said.
Rick Young, owner of Fire Safe System LLC in Arcadia, said he also has seen an increase in requests for fire sprinkler systems in Oklahoma City. Some homeowners choose sprinklers because there are no nearby fire hydrants or only one road into their neighborhoods, he said.
“It gives people 24-7 fire protection,” Young said. “It allows the occupants time to get out of the house.”
Developer Caleb McCaleb offers his clients the option of installing fire sprinkler systems and this week continued to install fire sprinklers in the 78 townhomes he is building at the Porches at Arbor Creek, north of Saints Boulevard and Second Street.
McCaleb said he isn't 100 percent sold on fire sprinkler systems. He questions what a homeowner is to do if electricity is lost and the water well goes down, leaving the home with no water for the sprinkler system.
“If you are in the city limits, there is a fire department and you have access to water; it is not that important. And I am a safety nut.”
McCaleb said he agreed to put fire sprinklers in his townhouses as a compromise with the fire department. “Even though there is a firewall, I am concerned about safety, and I think it was the smart thing to do,” he said.
Young and Barnes think the advantages are greater when it comes to sprinklers for home fire protection.
In 95 percent of the cases, Young said, water from one sprinkler head can put out a small fire with little water.
Firefighters typically use roughly 10 times as much water as a fire sprinkler would use to contain a fire, a Fire Protection Research Foundation study found in 2010.
Another advantage is fire sprinklers are environmentally friendly. The sprinklers reduce the amount of water runoff and pollution, reduce fire damage by up to 71 percent and decrease water usage to a home fire by as much as 91 percent, an FM Global and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition study reported.
Young said he installs fire sprinkler systems in an average of 50 homes each year.
The average cost is $1.50 to $1.65 a square foot to install a fire sprinkler system.
Firefighters encourage all people to also have a working smoke alarm in their homes. Smoke alarms should be checked each month and the battery changed once a year.
Firefighters offer free smoke detectors to people who don't have one. They also will install the detectors. For information, call 216-7303.