Residential Sprinklers Gain National Attention "Should you have a sprinkler system in your home?" (aired 10-24-2017)
Good Morning America Home Sprinkler Video
A new warning about house fires. More than 350,000 break out each year and experts are touting a better way to protect homes using sprinklers. 2500 people die in this country in home fires every single year. Home sprinkler save lives period. Why would there be people fighting and arguing to make sure home sprinklers are not required in homes? That might be hard to believe especially when you see what you're about to see. On the left a room with residential sprinklers. On the right a room without sprinklers. This is just a demonstration set up by the national fire sprinkler association and U.L. Which helps set safety standards for a number of industries. Only Maryland, California and D.C. Along with hundreds of towns require new homes to have sprinkler systems. The issue is sparking a heated debate in state and local governments on whether they're worth the price tag. The anger is the fact that 24 states in this country have prohibited the adoption of this at a local and state level. That's what makes me angry. Reporter: We start in this room with a sprinkler and light the couch on fire. There's your plate. Reporter: At three minutes the plate covering the sprinkler pops off and it's activated. That's your activation. Reporter: Set to go off when the temperatures reach 155 degrees. The result, the room covered in water and leaking to the first floor but the fire damage contained to the couch only. Now, the room without sprinklers. At almost five minutes in, take a look. The room without sprinklers side by side with the room with sprinklers. It's going to take six, ten minutes depending on how close you are to the fire station. 900 degrees at the ceiling. 350 degrees at the floor. Can you crawl out of there. You can't crawl out of there. You're not going to -- ceiling fan fell. Reporter: 7 1/2 minutes in. We're going to evacuate the house. Reporter: The house is no longer safe and we evacuated as firefighters move in to fight the blaze. The room without sprinklers is destroyed. Having the sprinklers issued added protection to get your family time to get out and fire department time to get there. Reporter: Don and Sandra and their four grandchildren were killed in a 2015 fire in an Annapolis, Maryland, home and don's sister believes sprinklers would have saved them. It would have bought them the time they needed to escape. Reporter: The national association of home builders say working smoke detectors are still the most cost-effective means of saving lives in a home fire. Sprinklers can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home pricing out many prospective home buyers with marginal benefit. A study by the national fire protection foundation says a system costs roughly $6,000 in a 4100-square-foot home. That square footage many times including the basement and garage but grog says you can't put a price on her family's lives. You can replace belongings but you can't replace a life. As we were saying, George, it all comes down to money, period. Seems a silly thing but adding $6,000, $8,000, $10,000 to a home that's a lot but sprinklers are designed -- they do save property but are supposed to give you enough time to get out of the house and in that regard they absolutely do work. That is important. T.J., thanks very much.
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