Home sprinkler systems an attainable feature in Red Deer

  • Jan. 14, 2015 3:28 p.m.

Red Deer Emergency Services celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Home Safety Program this week and announced the first residential home with a fully integrated sprinkler system.

The home features what is being called a ‘flow-through’ system of sprinklers that are tied into the home’s plumbing. Fire Prevention Officer Wes Van Bavel said this type of system is the first of its kind in the City.

“The unique thing about this sprinkler system is that this type of system is maintenance-free for the home owner. They move in and have peace of mind knowing that if they do have a fire, the sprinkler system is going to work. It’s going to control the heat, the deadly gasses and the smoke and it is going to allow the family time to get out safely, and not put them at risk,” Van Bavel said.

“Oftentimes, if you haven’t been involved in a fire or don’t understand the intensity of a fire, you don’t think about the need for proactive safety in the home.”

The sprinkler systems can be installed in any new home, although implementing the system in an older home would take more work. Chris Vanderzee, the project manager with Laebon Homes, oversaw the development of the home that has the integrated sprinkler system.

“It didn’t change the regular building process a whole lot. It makes it a little bit of a longer timeline to produce this, but overall, it’s fairly standard. It was a little bit of a learning process. The piping is going up through the ceiling. An added benefit of putting in the sprinkler system is that we end up with a higher value in the ceilings, because that piping needs to be protected in the ceiling,” he said.

“There have been lots of studies and tests done so we know that this system will perform well. When you walk around the home, you can see that there is very little visual impact from this. The sprinkler heads are right flush with the ceiling and blend right in.”

The Home Safety Program is a fire-prevention and information program where members of the Red Deer Emergency Services go to homes around the City and install smoke detectors, batteries and do comprehensive safety checks of homes.

Van Bavel said this program has had an entirely positive response from the public over the last 10 years, and that the program will continue to move forward as it has been.

“The home safety program has evolved from a two-week blitz over 10 years ago, where we dropped smoke alarms in the mailboxes of neighbourhoods, to a year-round program where fire crews are assigned an area and they do home safety checks on over 3,000 homes a year. Part of that safety check is a comprehensive look at the home for hazards, and offering people advice on how to make their homes safer, and then installing smoke detectors and batteries at no cost to the home owner,” Van Bavel said.

“The reason we’re celebrating 10 years is that we’ve actually gotten into every home. The whole structure of the program was to get into about 3,300-3,500 homes a year. The life expectancy of a smoke alarm is 10 years. At the end of those 10 years, which is this year, we will go back to the first homes and everybody will get new smoke alarms.”

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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