Letter to the Editor submitted by David Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board:
Tragedy struck Berkeley, N.J. on the early morning of September 9, 2012, when a quick-moving fire claimed the life of an elderly man reported to be in his seventies and injured one firefighter.
Despite heroic efforts by the fire department and first responders, the fire grew too intense too quickly, making it difficult to enter the residence.
New Jersey has seen an increase in the number of house and apartment fires recently. The results are often catastrophic property loss and in this case a tragic loss of life.
However, these tragedies can be prevented. Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers control and typically extinguish a fire before the fire department even arrives on the scene.
More importantly, the presence of fire sprinklers mitigates the risk to individuals affected by the blaze, including both occupants of the home and the firefighters who respond to battle the fire.
Fire doesn’t discriminate and can strike at any time and in any type of home, including one-and two-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments.
Currently, there is pending legislation in New Jersey - bill A1570 in the Assembly - which would make it mandatory for all newly constructed one-and two-family homes as well as condominiums and townhomes to be equipped with fire sprinklers.
If passed, this legislation would help to reduce the devastating effects of fires and help protect New Jersey residents in the places where they should feel safest -- their homes.
Fire sprinklers are the only proactive form of fire protection, providing firefighters the time they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible, while helping to avoid potential injuries and devastating tragedies like this one.