Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Village Board recently passed an amendment to the Fire Prevention Code lowering the square footage requirement for sprinkler protection in new commercial structures and mandates residential sprinklers in new single-family homes.
The measure lowers the square footage requirement from 5,000 square feet to zero for commercial structures.
According to Fire Chief Robert Wilcox, residential sprinklers are a simple solution to lessen the possibility of deaths in the event of fire, “A public policy decision like this can potentially save the lives of residents and firefighters alike,” Wilcox told members of the Village Board.
Fire Sprinklers react to temperatures in each room and respond when heated to their designed temperature setting, Wilcox said. He noted that in most residential fire scenarios, a single fire sprinkler will control a developing fire.
Chief Wilcox said the cost for the added security feature to a home can be nominal. Studies have shown that the installation of a fire sprinkler is roughly one-percent of the construction cost of a new home.
Sprinklers also provide enhanced safety of firefighters. According to the National Fire Protection Association, no firefighter has lost their lives in sprinklered buildings since 1983 – except in occurrences of explosion or flash fire.
Scottsdale, Arizona is credited as being amongst the first communities to adopt a residential sprinkler ordinance. Since the measure passed in 1998, there have been no reports of fatalities in residences with sprinklers.
The Village of Park Forest joins Matteson as one of few communities in Illinois to adopt such an amendment.