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Russ Leavitt


Fire safety expert discusses the myths and misconceptions of home fire sprinklers

Russ Leavitt discusses the myths and misconceptions of NFPA 13D, one of NFPA's sprinkler standards, at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Phoenix

When it comes to fire sprinkler installation and maintenance, many myths abound. Setting the record straight during NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Phoenix was Russ Leavitt, executive chair of Telgian Corporation, a fire, security, and life-safety consulting firm. Contrary to what is being perpetuated by fire sprinkler opponents, home fire sprinklers are aesthetically pleasing, are not water hogs, and can be inexpensive, Leavitt told attendees.

Committees overseeing NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, make it a point to keep sprinkler installation as cost-effective as possible. For instance, the standard eliminates sprinkler installation in low-fire-risk areas of a home, allows the use of multipurpose systems, and includes easy-to-perform hydraulic analysis. "I know some jurisdictions that have so many requirements [for home fire sprinklers that surpass what's in NFPA 13D]," said Leavitt. "Be careful not to try to make [sprinklers] more than what they are."

As for the popular myth that "water damage from sprinklers is worse than fire damage," Russ called this a "fantasy."

Download Leavitt's summit presentation for more information.