DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Decatur Fire & Rescue (DFR) is joining a nationwide movement to urge people to consider installing sprinkler systems in their homes.
On Wednesday, the department conducted a live fire demonstration to show the difference sprinklers can make.
They set up a trailer with two nearly identical rooms. They had the same furnishings, however, one had a single sprinkler installed.
They first lit the side with the sprinkler on fire. It burned, with the fire spreading up the wall and ripping through a curtain. However, when the fire reached a certain temperature it triggered the sprinkler.
The sprinkler then put out the fire in a matter of seconds. From the first flame to the fire being out, the blaze only lasted 45 seconds.
It was a much different story on the other side of the trailer.
Once the fire started, it started climbing up the back wall before spreading to the couch. It burned through the couch, and then the room became fully engulfed. A nearby fire crew eventually extinguished the fire after three minutes passed.
Jason Jones, the Decatur Division Chief Fire Marshal, said one advantage to a sprinkler system is it can put itself out, rather than having to wait for a response from the fire department.
By now, almost every apartment complex and commercial building have sprinklers installed. However, they are far less common in residential homes.
Jones painted a picture for us of the importance.
“You think you know your home, but imagine waking up to a fire,” he said. “You’ve got no visibility, and you’ve just got a number of seconds to get out. If you had that piece of mind that you had with a sprinkler system, that it was going to help contain it” he continued.
“I might be wet when I come out of the house, but I’m able to get out and I’ve still got my life,” he said of the imagined scenario.
Jones acknowledged the high cost to installing a sprinkler system, but said it could be worth it, because it could save a life, and minimize property damage.
“It keeps it in check, it keeps it from going any further,” he said.
Fire prevention and mitigation efforts are top of mind for Decatur Fire & Rescue, especially this time of year, when the temperatures are dropping.
He said they’ve gotten several calls from people reporting a smoky smell, from their heaters turning on for the first time this year. He also stated each year they see fires started by things like space heaters.
Jones said people can be “just careless” with the use of space heaters.
He also warned against turning on ovens and leaving oven doors open as a way to heat your home. When it comes to the holidays, Jones reminds people to be careful while cooking and selective with their holiday decorations.
He said to be cautious with extension cords.
“We don’t recommend long-term use of extension cords, and we certainly don’t recommend cheaper, less rated extension cords,” he said.
Whether your home has a sprinkler system or not, he recommends that everyone have a fire plan ready.