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A Potentially Dangerous Precedent in PA

There’s an interesting argument brewing in Pennsylvania that could set a wider precedent for the way that homes are fireproofed when built. If passed, this amendment is considered a step backward in fire safety and home insurance companies are fighting it tooth and nail.

Current state building codes in Pennsylvania require that all new homes be built with fire suppressing sprinkler systems. The proposed will essentially let individual municipalities decide whether or not to require sprinkler systems in new homes.

Needless to say, firefighters stand in strong opposition to the proposed amendment because of the potential for loss of life—including those of firefighters themselves. The American Insurance Association, which represents hundreds of major league home insurance companies, is also firmly opposed to the proposition.

But the struggling economy might help push the proposed legislation into actual law. Proponents of the amendment argue that in a sluggish housing market, the last thing needed is a mandate that will make construction and selling of new homes even more expensive—which is the direct effect they say required sprinkler systems have. The average cost to install a sprinkler system in a residential home hovers at around $5500.

Installation cost aside, fire suppressing sprinkler systems that are installed in homes are known to save not only lives, but also money. Many home insurance companies give discounts to homeowners with sprinkler systems, as their presence limits the risk of fire damage and decreases incidents of death. To find out if your insurer offers discounts for sprinklers, review your insurer’s homeowner information booklet or contact them directly.

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