East Fork issues Q&A on fire sprinklers
After residents questioned the county’s adoption of the a fire code including a requirement that some new homes include residential sprinklers, the East Fork Fire Protection District has come out with a Q&A on when sprinklers are required.
Douglas County commissioners adopted the 2018 International Fire Code in East Fork Township that requires new homes more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant have interior sprinkler systems installed.
The new code takes effect on July 1.
In addition, any new home larger than 5,000 square feet will also be required to install sprinklers.
Existing homes in areas covered by the ordinance would have to install sprinklers if an addition increases their size by more than 50 percent.
East Fork officials said that a one-time increase of 360 square feet is permitted in existing homes larger than 5,000 square feet without installing sprinklers.
Sprinkler systems are already required for new homes in the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.
“The fire district considered this measure while they were governed under the Douglas County commission several years ago but was unable to garner the necessary support,” East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini. “The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District was able to persuade the Douglas County Commission to adopt a similar measure several years ago and has been requiring residential systems for some time.
Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Steve Eisele participated with the Northern Nevada Code Amendment Working Group to establish a common set of fire code amendments.
Carlini said that East Fork is one of the last agencies in Nevada to approve a residential sprinkler requirement.
“Residential fire sprinkler systems do make a difference,” he said. “A residential sprinkler system will save a homeowner money in the event of a fire. When activated, a sprinkler head will spray 15-20 gallons per minute. Statistics show that 80-90 percent of fires are extinguished with one sprinkler head. Water damage from a fire suppressed by a home sprinkler system incurs an average of $2,200 in costs; water damage from a fire suppressed by a fire department adds up to an average of $25,000, not including the fire damage or loss of personal property.”
Eisele noted that there are many misconceptions regarding residential sprinkler systems. Cost is one of them. With new technology and materials, the cost of installing a residential system has come down over the years. According to the Home Fire Sprinkler Organization, the average cost to install a home system is $1.35 per square foot. Locally, new installation of sprinkler systems in the average home runs between $3.50 and $4.50 per square foot.
For specific questions on the local requirement, contact the district at 775-782-9040 or call to schedule an appointment with the Fire Prevention Division.