Two recent structure fires demonstrate the value of fire protection and life safety systems. A sprinkler system extinguished a fire at College of the Redwoods that otherwise could have resulted in a very significant fire in the large cafeteria building. At a second residential fire a smoke alarm alerted occupants, allowing them to escape and avoid serious injury or worse.
On Friday, December 19th, 2008, the Eureka Fire Department, Humboldt Fire District #1, and the Loleta Fire Department responded to structure fire at College of the Redwoods. Upon arrival a fire was found burning in a small maintenance closet. The fire was controlled by one sprinkler and damage was limited to the closet area. Had the room not been equipped with a sprinkler the fire would have resulted in much more serious damage or even destroyed the approximately 25,000 square foot structure.
Two days later, on Sunday, December 21st, 2008, the Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Fire District #1 responded to a residential structure fire on Bay Street in Eureka. This fire started at approximately 6:00 in the morning while the residents were asleep. The smoke alarm woke the occupants and allowed them to escape the structure with relatively minor injuries.
These two fires could have been much more serious, even tragic.
Fire Sprinkler Systems are the most reliable fire protection system known. One study found that over 98% of all fires were extinguished or controlled by fire sprinklers in buildings equipped with operational fire sprinkler systems. Additionally, there has never been a multiple fatality fire due to fire or smoke in a building fully equipped with fire sprinklers.
Most fire deaths occur in the middle of the night. Smoke alarms are designed to detect and warn that silent but deadly smoke is in the air. The early warning will wake you and your family, allowing time to implement your fire escape plan.
While 97 out of 100 homes have smoke alarms, in more than 33 percent of these homes the detectors don’t work. The most common reason a smoke alarm fails to work is because the battery is missing or disconnected.
Fire protection systems like sprinklers, fire alarm systems, and smoke alarms save lives and reduce property damage. The Eureka Fire Department urges everyone to install and test their smoke alarms.