Residential Fire Sprinkler System Mandates: Extent of Citizen and Firefighter Resistance [open pdf - 3MB]
"Residential fire sprinklers, celebrated as the solution to America's fire problem, were finally mandated in every U.S. model building code. The problem was that South Metro Fire Rescue Authority was faced with repeated resistance when trying to adopt the new residential fire sprinkler system requirements. Traditional resistance from elected officials and stakeholders appeared to be compounded by resistance from within the fire service organization. The purpose of this research was to identify the extent of internal resistance towards residential fire sprinkler systems and to analyze the impact of past residential fire sprinkler system mandates on citizen attitudes. The research questions were: (a) Is there a difference in familiarity with residential fire sprinkler systems between firefighters, citizens in protected homes and citizens in unprotected homes; (b) Is there a difference in home fire risk perception between firefighters, citizens in protected homes and citizens in unprotected homes; and (c) Is there a difference in acceptance of residential fire sprinkler systems between firefighters, citizens in protected homes and citizens in unprotected homes? A descriptive research approach was utilized to analyze survey results and included additional insight from focus groups. Results showed that citizens already living with previously-mandated sprinklers were much more knowledgeable about sprinklers compared to the general population, more aware of their home fire risk compared to all other populations, and much more accepting of sprinklers by appreciating their benefits, wanting them for their next home and agreeing that sprinklers should be a minimum level of safety for all new homes. Firefighters were also familiar with sprinklers but had similar, or more negative attitudes and perceptions toward sprinklers compared to the general population. Recommendations included increased education for those living with sprinklers, developing an outreach program for firefighters and replicating the study to look further at various demographics."
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/