NORTH MAINE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
DES PLAINES, ILL. — I received your recent news story on fire sprinklers from an auto-generated search from Google (see "Sprinklers more reliable now: NFPA," January, pg. 16). I found the article good but didn't feel that it was quite accurate.
I don't know if you are aware of how big fire sprinklers really are. Especially in the northern Illinois area and actually across the nation, they are a growing trend reminiscent of the smoke alarm trend back in the late '70s and '80s.
I think your one set of numbers regarding 50% to 75% of saving lives with working sprinklers is substantially low. The number we in the fire service are hearing is more like 98% to 99% survivability.
Here is a URL to find out more about sprinklers and who has what in Illinois www.firesprinklerassoc.org/. Look at the Municipal/Fire District Fire Code Ranking Tab. Once that page opens, go to the line City Square Foot List. You will see 61 communities that require fire sprinklers in single-family homes or some form of residential structures.
Another place to get more information is from the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and our area representative, Tom Lia, who can be contacted through the URL I provided, or you can contact me also.