S.C Fire Sprinkler Bills

While Highland Park, Texas is moving forward with fire sprinkler requirements in new homes, South Carolina is having trouble passing sprinkler mandates.

This article from The Post and Courier; Charleston.net explains that There are two separate bills being proposed. A House bill is being proposed that will provide tax incentive of 80% of the cost of the sprinkler system up to $50,000.00. The Senate is proposing a bill that will provide 50% of the cost of the sprinkler system; 25% from the state the other 25% from local property tax relief. The States portion would only be made available if the local governments offered a property tax credit.

Obviously there are proponents and opponents to this system. One opponent, Governor Mark Sanford, argues that;

‘Although the property-owners who install fire sprinklers under this legislation will be the primary beneficiaries of increased fire safety, the taxpayers will shoulder nearly all of the costs.'”

I’m not a tax expert and don’t claim to know the ins and outs of our tax system. Having said that, it makes sense to me that the “taxpayers” would shoulder some burden for business getting tax breaks because it’s money not going into the system to pay for infrastructure. On the other hand, the sprinkler systems, once they’re installed and working, will save citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars if a fire ever breaks out in one of the formerly unsprinklered buildings. So yeah, it definitely is an investment but the investment will pay itself back 10 fold if even one fire breaks out.


Vote To Require Sprinklers Unanimous

The Town Council in Highland Park, Texas voted unanimously to require fire sprinklers in homes. The article from the Dallas Morning News reports that,

Sprinklers will be required in all new homes and in renovations that add 50 percent or more to a home’s square footage.”

The requirement will take effect October 1, 2008.

Fire Cost in U.S. Exceed Cost of War

An article by Dawn Blunt in the Metrowest Newspaper Online Edition out of Brighton, Colorado compares the costs of the war in Iraq with the annual cost of fires in the United States. Dawn, the public safety educator for the Greater Brighton Fire Protection District, does a great job of comparing the very real and publicized costs of the war in Iraq against the very real and not-so-publicized cost of fire.

Try not to pick apart the politics and concentrate mostly on the point of the article. A few snippets;

Fires cost lives and huge sums of money for our country every day. Just because you don’t hear about all the costly fires and the deaths on the evening news doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Fire is costing Americans more each year than what Saudi Arabia makes on oil.

Between the start of the Iraq war and Dec. 10, 2007, America spent $150 billion per year on the war. The cost of the war on a family of four is estimated to be about $20,900 from 2002 to 2008. The estimated cost of fire is $22,720 for that same family of four for six years. The number of soldiers killed in Iraq is now about 3,886, which is roughly the same number of fire deaths in America every year.