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South Taranaki sprinkler plan a New Zealand first

South Taranaki sprinkler plan a New Zealand first

August 14, 2006

The New Zealand Fire Service is heralding a nationwide first as a local territorial authority plans to give a discount to homeowners who install sprinklers.

The South Taranaki District Council (STDC) is offering its residents a 50 percent reduction on the council’s building consent fees if owners install sprinklers into new or existing homes - a discount which could save many hundreds of dollars, but more importantly, lives.

The initiative is in response to the New Zealand Fire Service national campaign encouraging people to install sprinklers in their homes.

As part of the campaign, a Fire Service delegation including the local regional commander have made presentations to all the territorial authorities on the value of creating sustainable housing through fire protection.

STDC chief executive Craig Stevenson says the initiative made sense because home sprinklers are so effective in protecting lives and property from fire.

“They dramatically reduce both the death rate and cost of damage from house fires. This initiative is an innovative and practical way that the Council can support families making themselves safer in their homes.

“A key outcome identified by our community is the need for residents to feel safe in their homes and this initiative supports that. If more people had sprinklers it would also dramatically reduce the pressure placed on the district’s water supply when dealing with fires,” Mr Stevenson says.

Home sprinklers have three main benefits; dramatically reducing the death rate; reducing the cost of damage in a fire and reducing the amount of water used – and subsequent water damage – in putting out a fire.

State Insurance and Fire Service figures show the average house fire costs $42,000 without sprinklers, compared to a few thousand dollars at most with sprinklers, and can reduce average water use from 12,500 litres to about 800 litres.

Fire Service Western Region commander Mitchell Brown says the Council’s initiative is a bold step in reducing the likelihood of fire fatalities in South Taranaki.

“The fact that South Taranaki District Council has been prepared to put money on the line to get more sprinklers in homes shows how seriously they take the threat of fire and how much they want to improve the lot of homeowners in and around Hawera.

“With this incentive in place, installing home sprinklers makes even more sense and we hope that the majority of new homes in the area will soon be safe from serious fires.

“The Fire Service is hugely encouraged by this initiative and we hope that it acts as an example for what other territorial authorities can do to help their communities.”

An additional benefit to installing a sprinkler system is the possibility of smaller insurance premiums. State Insurance is working in partnership with the New Zealand Fire Service and is offering reduced premiums on homes that have sprinklers.

State spokesperson Adrienne Collins says it’s great that the council is supporting the campaign with these rebates.

“Any initiatives to encourage homeowners to install sprinklers is fantastic. We’re proud to get behind this campaign which will help reduce the incidence of domestic fires and the associated trauma to homeowners and the community,” she says.

ENDS

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