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Reader's view: Fire sprinklers are proven to save lives and structures

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The News Tribune’s May 14 “Our View” editorial, “Dayton on wrong side on sprinklers,” quoted the president of the Hermantown-based Arrowhead Builders Association saying that requiring the installation of smoke detectors in new houses has resulted in the disappearance of fire deaths. He should check his facts with the National Fire Protection Association or even our own state fire marshal’s office. Yes, smoke detectors help, but many of our young children and older adults of my age do not even hear those detectors.

Sprinklers save lives and, at the same time, structures. If this were not so, why would we be installing them in so many buildings, by code?

I believe our code division is being very responsible in the decisions being made about where sprinklers are to be installed in newly constructed homes. The national code requires them in all residential buildings.

The purpose of building codes is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation, and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to firefighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

I for one do not believe the Legislature belongs in the business of code development. The present system in place in the state of Minnesota places plenty of oversight on code adoption, and you would find that quite a cross section of the population is involved in all the decisions made.

And yes, I am a building official and a former fire marshal for a couple of cities in this state, and I have been in this profession for more than 43 years.

Duane C. Grace

Moose Lake

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