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Feedback on sprinklers


February 21, 2008
By Canadian Firefighter

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Feb. 21, 2008

It’s great to get e-mails from readers! Bill Higgs, the fire chief in Sechelt, B.C., e-mailed this week to let me know he read the editorial on sprinklers in the January issue of Canadian Firefighter and to contribute some thoughts on the issue.

Here’s what he said: 

In B.C we have also seen the province refuse to expand the sprinkler requirement in the Building Code, and also remove the legislative ability of municipalities to pass sprinkler bylaws. It appears that the Home Builders Association lobby group did a better job at disproving the benefit of automatic sprinklers than the fire service did at defending this simple, low cost, life saving technology.

We were fortunate to convince the two areas that we serve to pass sprinkler bylaws while they still could back in the 1990s. We did this by conducting a live fire test on a mirror image duplex that we had obtained to burn down as part of a live fire training exercise. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, we sprinklered one half of the duplex and not the other. We set identical fires and then timed a typical fire department response. The results were filmed and are on the attached link to our website. (Scroll down to SIXTH DECADE and then click on the icon of the buring house.

So impressed were the politicians that one district passed a law requiring sprinklers in all new construction and the other passed a similar bylaw requiring all residential construction over a duplex and all other construction to be fully sprinklered. So, needless to say, our fire district is very much a fire sprinklered community.

We offered this video to departments that might be trying to prove the same points and a lot of departments had great success. Back then, (1995) it was quite cumbersome to mail out dozens of videos but now with digital reproduction and the Internet perhaps others would be interested. Please feel free to mention or provide a link if you feel inclined.

Keep up the good work! We read your publication with great interest.

Thanks Bill!


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