Coffee Break Bulletin

Residential fire sprinklers save lives and money

Posted: May 21, 2018

This Coffee Break Bulletin highlights reasons why builders and fire departments should advocate for residential fire sprinklers in local fire and building codes.

new home construction

Residential fire sprinklers date back to the early 1970s. Sprinklers can save lives and money when properly installed and maintained.

The International Residential Code (IRC) requires residential fire sprinklers to be installed in one- and two-family homes. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Code (NFPA 1) and Life Safety Code® (NFPA 101) also require residential sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

Many communities throughout the country have adopted residential sprinklers with a great deal of success. There are a variety of incentives for communities to include a residential sprinkler requirement in local fire and building codes.

Builders and developers may achieve:

  • Reduced building permit, impact, and standard water connection fees, and lower real estate taxes.
  • More building lots due to longer dead end streets, cul-de-sacs and T-turnarounds.
  • More houses developed per acre.
  • Increased spacing between fire hydrants.
  • Permission to set homes further back from the street.
  • Reduced needed fire flow (NFF) by up to 50 percent.
  • Reduced fire ratings for building assemblies in the building code.

Fire departments and local governments may achieve:

  • Less water required for suppression operations, reducing the need for expanding the city water system.
  • Less trash sent to the local landfills after fires.
  • Less carbon monoxide and smoke released into the atmosphere.
  • Less contaminants entering the soil and water supply.
  • Fewer firefighter and civilian deaths and injuries due to fire. Reduced fire operations may also help to lower the incidence of firefighter cancer cases.

The bottom line is this: Residential fire sprinklers make communities safer, lower municipal operating expenses and construction costs, and help to protect the environment.

May is Building Safety Month

Week 1Week 1 May 1-5
Partnering with code officials to build stronger, safer communities
Week 2Week 2 May 6-12
Advancing Resilient Communities Through Science and Technology
Week 3Week 3 May 13-19
Protecting Communities from Disasters
Week 4Week 4 May 20-26
Safeguarding Our Water
Week 5Week 5 May 27-31
Improving Education and Training Standards for a Safer Tomorrow

Follow our Coffee Break Bulletin series during the month of May for featured content related to Building Safety Month’s five weekly themes.

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Action step to learn more about residential fire sprinkler incentives

Visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition at or call 1-877-550-HFSC (4372) for more information on residential fire sprinkler incentives.

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