Broken Links

It’s been so long since I last gave my love to this space that MANY of the links i’ve shared with you have gone to the netherworld.  Despite that fact, I assure you that I will return again soon.

Happy Holidays!



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.


Huntley Residential Sprinkler Debate

In “News Clippings” about a week ago I posted a short blip on Huntley, Illinois consideration of rescinding a sprinkler requirement in new homes adopted two years ago. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I gave this story the attention it deserves. The Village Board is considering rescinding the requirement for fire sprinklers in single family dwelling citing, none other than . . . cost.

In this article from the McHenry County Daily Herald, Conor Brown of the McHenry County Association of Realtors is quoted as saying,

‘fire sprinklers are costly, prone to malfunctioning and depress Huntley’s real estate market.'”

We’ve all heard the argument about cost. The focus of my attention on Mr. Conor’s quote is “prone to malfunctioning.” I’m elated to hear that Fire Chief Jim Saletta, “hasn’t received one complaint from residents living in the more than 1,300 Huntley homes with fire sprinklers.” Chief Saletta goes on to say that,

. . . sprinklers actually boost the value of a home, citing a 2005 Harris Interactive poll in which two-thirds of respondents said fire sprinklers increase a home’s value.”

The village Board is getting pressure from somewhere. The article finally states that the, “trustees said they needed more resident input and more information on the cost of the systems to make a decision.” Do you see what I’m getting at? Did the residents bring this to the table or did the McHenry Country Association of Realtors? I’m not an expert on city/county politics but it seems to me if the residents didn’t like the requirement they would’ve represented themselves at the meeting.

I don’t know. It’s strange to me that a requirement has been set and now, after only two years, they’re talking about amending it. Stay tuned!

P.S. Don’t blame the “depressed real estate market” on fire sprinklers.

Fire Displaces Multiple Businesses

Fire destroyed a 75 year old building in Alhambra, California. The 12,000 square foot structure contained 14 businesses and did not have sprinklers because it was built in 1932 well before any sprinkler requirements. []

This is a perfect example of the importance of retrofits in older buildings with multiple businesses. Because of an accident in one, all 14 are now displaced looking for another home. This won’t kill the economy in a place like LA but it for sure affects those businesses and the people that make their livings working there. Unfortunately, the proverbial hands are tied. It’s up to landlords and owners to take the initiative to protect themselves.

Century Old Building Consumed By Fire

People wonder why we must have code development. “Why force people to install sprinkler systems?” “Shouldn’t it be the property owner/tenant/consumer’s choice?” “Sprinkler systems are too expensive to retrofit in older buildings.” The list of questions and excuses goes on and on.

If everything were left up to the average property owner/tenant/consumer they would take the path of least resistance in most cases. Sprinklers have proven themselves to protect life and property. They are sound investments.

This article explains that it took 78 firefighters 12 hours to battle a blaze in Cincinnati, Ohio that resulted in $500.000 worth of damage to 7 buildings. [WKRC TV; Cincinnati, Ohio]

For older areas and buildings around the nation fire sprinklers are a necessity. Not only to protect individaul tenants but for the protection of those businesses in close proximity to spaces where fire events start. A total loss to one business is one thing. The economic integrity of a community can be effected with the loss of multiple businesses.

One quote from the article I would like to address,

It can’t be said for sure whether sprinklers would have made a difference out here last night, but some local firefighters feel it may. A lot of water was used to get the flames out, so a little more would not have hurt.”

“A lot of water was used” is an understatement. Just one, 250 gallon-per-minute hose stream running for 12 hours would burn 180,000 gallons of water (enough water to fill about 30 backyard swimming pools). I don’t know how many hose streams were used or for how long but that gives you an idea of what it takes. I’m confident in speculating that had the building been equipped with fire sprinklers the fire would have been put out using only a fraction of 180,000 gallons.