Regulations for Fire Sprinklers
I live in Nevada and recently purchased a lot in Timber Ridge. In as much as we are going to be new community citizens, I have been staying in touch with happenings in the area via the paper, radio, TV and heard rumblings and rumors that fire sprinklers are going to be mandatory in every home. Is this accurate?”
You are correct in that you may have to install a fire sprinkler system if you decide to build a home in Prescott. However, you have been misled with regard to the mandatory requirement for every home in Prescott to have a fire sprinkler installed. This “rumor” has been making its way through our community and I will be happy to give you the facts.
As you are aware, Prescott is a community within a forest. For that reason, there are two fire codes that apply to construction. Since you are planning to locate your home in the Timber Ridge subdivision, both the International Fire Code (IFC) and the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) Code will apply to the construction of your home. The WUI code applies to areas in our community that have been designated as being heavily affected by surrounding vegetation, topography, and proximity to our neighboring forest, such as the Timber Ridge subdivision.
The following is the criteria used to determine if your new home will be required to have a residential fire sprinkler system installed:
1. Is the home over 5000 square feet, including the garage and storage spaces, but not including decks and patios.
2. Is there a fire hydrant within 500 feet of your property (there should be in that area).
3. Is the street you are building your home on a dead end greater than 1300 feet in length.
4. Is the grade of your street is over 12%
5. Is the distance from the street to the most distant point on your house greater than 150 feet?
6. Is your home only accessible through a low water crossing and there is no other way to access your house if the low water crossing is impassable.
7. Are there more than 10 people living in your home.
8. Will the home will be greater than 2 stories tall.
Of the above conditions requiring a sprinkler system to be installed, the one that seems to be creating the most press is the “150 foot” requirement. While all the other requirements make sense when you consider that ability to get fire trucks and fireman to your home, with water, in all weather conditions, the “150 foot” rule is the one that most people do not understand.
I have talked with the Fire Marshal to help clarify this requirement and after reviewing plans looking at home layouts and placement on lots this requirement is really a pretty simple process and makes a lot of sense. Firefighters fight fires with water from the hoses that are attached to their trucks. In Prescott and the surrounding area, as well as a vast majority of other fire departments I am told, the length of the fire hoses that are pre-connected and pulled of the truck to attack a fire, are 200 feet long. So, using the 150 foot measurement, the fire department knows that their hoses will reach to the most distant point on the home so they can put water on a fire that is burning inside, and go inside from there if needed. If the home is situated on the lot (beyond the 150 feet) the fire hoses cannot reach the most distant point on the home, the fire is impossible to contain and control.
Those are the basic parameters when a standard home in Prescott would be required to have a fire sprinkler system installed. As I said though, the fact that your property in also in the Wildland/Urban interface, there are some additional criteria and requirements that come into play. They are:
a. If your driveway is longer than 150 feet long (a driveway is anything less than 20 feet wide, can support a fire truck, and has 13 feet 6 inches of height clearance). In this case, not only will you have to install fire sprinklers, you will also have to install an “operational platform” next to the home, measuring 20X30 feet.
Our Fire Department has told me that they will be happy to meet with anyone that would like to hear more about these requirements, either at their station, at your property and with your builder at any time.