1. #1
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    Cool USFA Report on Residential Smoking Fires

    Another good example of a positive use for your federal tax dollars.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v5i5.pdf

    Smoking fires in residential properties are often local news media stories.The losses from smoking-caused fires have been consistently high over the past 25 years—the period in which fire cause trends have been tracked. Although one of the less frequent causes of fi res, when smoking fires do occur they are the most deadly.They have consistently been the first or the second leading cause of fire deaths each and every year.This topical report examines the characteristics of smoking fires in residential buildings in 2002. In 2002 alone, lighted tobacco products caused an estimated 14,450 residential fires, 520 deaths, 1,330 injuries, and $371 million in residential property damage.1, 2
    Residential smoking fires are characterized by high levels of loss compared to other types of residential structure fi res.While property loss per fire for residential smoking fires was 22% higher than for residential fires generally in 2002, it is the injury and death rates that were considerably higher than the residential average. As Figure 1 indicates, in 2002, the fire death rate was nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate. Likewise, residential smoking fires were more than twice as likely to result in injuries. Each year, smoking fires generally result in the highest fatality rate and among the highest injury rates for residential fires.


    Once again, the report confirms that the surest measures to prevent deaths and property damage are a $10 smoke detector and sprinklers. Seems like such a simple measure. Maybe if some of you guys spent as much energy promoting fire safety and fire prevention as you do justifying why there should be MORE fires, we would solve problems like these.

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    Interesting, as this fire cause was just mentioned in another thread as being "not or fault". It amazes me how little responsibility some members of the fire service want to take for education, but they always seem to be gripping about how much more they want for supression. I guess until we are able to change the culture of the fire service the "it's not our fault that ..." or "it's not our responsibility" crowd will continue to forget (or ignore) how many of our problems can be solved, or at least lessened significantly, through education, engineering (building construction, sprinklers, etc.) and legislation such as Fire-Safe cigerettes requirements.

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    What is most amazing is that problems like these are so easily defined.

    What is just as amzing is that there are only 28 views of this thread as of today. There are over 1200 on the I Want Fires! thread. This is the stuff that makes me sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Once again, the report confirms that the surest measures to prevent deaths and property damage are a $10 smoke detector and sprinklers. Seems like such a simple measure. Maybe if some of you guys spent as much energy promoting fire safety and fire prevention as you do justifying why there should be MORE fires, we would solve problems like these.
    how much does it cost to retrofit a 2 story single family dwelling with residential sprinkers? how much does it cost to install them in a newly constructed SFD?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    how much does it cost to retrofit a 2 story single family dwelling with residential sprinkers?
    Not as much as rebuilding the entire house.
    how much does it cost to install them in a newly constructed SFD?
    Not as much as rebuilding the entire house.


    Neither costs anywhere near as much as someone's life.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    how much does it cost to retrofit a 2 story single family dwelling with residential sprinkers? how much does it cost to install them in a newly constructed SFD?
    In an existing residential building the cost is roughly $3 a square foot.

    In a new building it can be from $1 - $2 a square foot.

    Essentially, figure about 1% - 1.5% of the cost of the home.

    From what I understand, the savings on the property insurance premium pays for itself in roughly 5 years.

    http://homefiresprinkler.org/hfsc.html
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    LasVegasFTO
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    George, you are absolutely correct. However, smoke detectors and sprinklers are only as good as they're maintained.

    I have been fortunate to work in both suppression and prevention, the problem I see is that no matter how good a prevention/education program you have, if the general public is not receptive, it goes nowhere. As with anything, you can't train or educate the unwilling. Yeah sure, immediately after a tragic fire, there is great interest. But, 2 weeks after the fire, it goes back to status-quo.

    Here in Las Vegas, we are very active in prevention and education. We hand out smoke detectors to families that don't have them. We go door to door in neighborhoods handing out educational material on smoke detectors, exit drills in the home, fire extinguishers, etc.

    FYI, we must be doing something right......we only had 2 fire deaths for 2005 (not counting Clark County FD-the metro area around Vegas).

    Another interesting note....Several years ago, we tried to promote residential sprinklers by installing them in model homes for a new subdivision, no one had them installed as an option. We also tried to mandate residential sprinklers (new code adoption) only to receive great resistance from the contractors board.

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    A 5 lb. fire extingusher .... $20
    Batteries for the smoke detector ... $5
    A sprinkler sytem in your new house ... $1-2 a foot
    Knowing that you will probably survive a residental fire .... Priceless.

    To bad a lot of firefighters don't think getting this message across is critical.

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    Default We constantly do this

    I dont know about other major citys but here in Philly we give out free smoke detectors to almost anybody (technically) but acutally anybody that asks for them. In fact, should we not have any in the station we will schedule an appt. to come to the residence and install them free of charge. We have produces a RAP video urging people to smoke outside instead of in their homes. We have exchanged coupons for extention cords for old damaged ones. We constantly are handing out pamphlets about fire saftey smoke detectors and home evacuation plans. Trust me, here in Philly, our Fire Prevention Division is the busiest thing this side of EMS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasFTO
    George, you are absolutely correct. However, smoke detectors and sprinklers are only as good as they're maintained.

    I have been fortunate to work in both suppression and prevention, the problem I see is that no matter how good a prevention/education program you have, if the general public is not receptive, it goes nowhere. As with anything, you can't train or educate the unwilling. Yeah sure, immediately after a tragic fire, there is great interest. But, 2 weeks after the fire, it goes back to status-quo.

    Here in Las Vegas, we are very active in prevention and education. We hand out smoke detectors to families that don't have them. We go door to door in neighborhoods handing out educational material on smoke detectors, exit drills in the home, fire extinguishers, etc.

    FYI, we must be doing something right......we only had 2 fire deaths for 2005 (not counting Clark County FD-the metro area around Vegas).

    Another interesting note....Several years ago, we tried to promote residential sprinklers by installing them in model homes for a new subdivision, no one had them installed as an option. We also tried to mandate residential sprinklers (new code adoption) only to receive great resistance from the contractors board.
    You make vaild points. I wonder how hard the builder's representatives actually marketed the sprinkler systems. Builders are the greatest enemy of fire protection that we have in this country. Unfortunately, in a rapidly growing area like LV, I am sure that the politicos are more apt to listen to the builders lobby (not to mention the envelopes they clandestinely recieve) than the fire service.

  11. #11
    LasVegasFTO
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    George,

    The politicos were listening to the builders for awhile. As you know, it is important for a developer to squeeze out every square foot possible from a parcel of land.

    But the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way. For those developers that wish to make the streets as narrow as possible (20 feet wide with no parking), minimal set back (5 feet from property lines) and on a cul-de-sac (further limiting our access) the homes must be equipped with a residential sprinkler system. Of course there was kicking, screaming and crying, but the builders soon realized we weren't backing down.

    I would say more, but it should probably go under the thread "fighting fires or preventing fires".................LOL

    In the meantime, check out this web-site http://www.homefiresprinkler.org/hfsc.html
    Last edited by LasVegasFTO; 01-08-2006 at 12:23 AM.

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    I remember the problems we had back in Vermont about 6 years ago trying to get a rather modest sprinkler ordiance passed by the town selectboard. Basically it would have mandated sprinklers in any new apartments, attached single family units like townhouses and duplexes and single family homes where the access roads did not meet the town DPW requirements, as well as all commercial properties (VT codes required sprinklers in some commercial structures but had some loopholes). The builders fought it, and unfortuantly won, as we came away with a watered down ordiance that basically only required them in commercial buildings that would in most cases, would have had them required by state code.

    It was a sobering reminder how little built-in fire protection means to some and how much power groups other than the fire service weilds.

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    In a way, the builders lobby opposition doesn't make sense. I understand that it will make buildings a little more expensive, but that cost will get passed along and people will pay it. It will also put more tradesman to work and allow builders to brag about more "amenities" and how much they care about people's safety.

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