In the name of affordable housing and the American dream to own a home, higher density construction emerged as a means for reducing the price sticker for the new houses.

A lot of times in many jurisdictions, for the larger master plan communities, the developers must pay impact fees or are required to provide land or even build a new fire station for their development. Cognizant of the major challenges mentioned above, the fire chief must have a strategic plan and they should evaluate such proposals in great detail. Inadequate fire station design will not be the answer, and insufficient staffing and not having the necessary equipment and apparatus either, would only compound the problem.

I believe that the jurisdiction's elected officials and the top administrators must be fully aware of all these long term risks and the expenditures. I believe that detailed cost/benefit analysis would prove to them that not only residential fire sprinkler systems are invaluable in saving the lives of the occupants and our firefighters, but even from the economic perspective, residential fire sprinklers are also the most efficient and cost effective way to protect our communities.

Economic development and tax base increases are indeed the absolute necessities for the thriving communities. But then the key is having long-term strategic view for the community's development, and nourishment of sustained smart growth.

However we can and must be proactive, and provide for the highest level of fire protection and life safety both for the occupants and also our own firefighters. This is complimentary of the smart growth concept. Have your cake, and eat it too. Allow for economic growth and high density design, and yet provide the most efficient and highest level of life safety and fire protection. Residential fire sprinkler systems are an essential part of the community's smart growth.

Azarang (Ozzie) Mirkhah, Contributing Editor, is the Fire Protection Engineer (FPE) for the City of Las Vegas Department of Fire & Rescue. His responsibilities include reviewing all building fire and life safety system designs and submittals to insure compliance with the federal, state and local fire and life safety codes and standards. Mr. Mirkhah is also involved in the development of fire & life safety codes and standards for the city.

Mr. Mirkhah is a registered professional engineer with more than 25 years of work experience in the field of fire protection engineering. Mr. Mirkhah joined the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (LVF&R) more than 12 years ago. Prior to that Mr. Mirkhah worked as a consultant designing fire protection systems for some of the most internationally recognized fire protection consulting firms.

Mr. Mirkhah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME), and a Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA). Mr. Mirkhah is a 1999 graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. Mr. Mirkhah is a Certified Building Official, Certified Fire Inspector, Certified Mechanical Inspector, and Certified Plans Examiner through the International Code Council (ICC).

Mr. Mirkhah is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and serves on the national NFPA 13 Technical Committee for Sprinkler System Discharge Design Criteria. Mr. Mirkhah is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) - USA Branch. Mr. Mirkhah is also a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). You can contact Mr. Mirkhah at: To view all of Ozzie's articles on, please click here.