HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There are preventative measures you can take to help prevent a fire, or increase your chance and your home's chance of surviving one. It's an investment, but the cost might surprise you.
Midway Fire Chief Doug Eggiman suggests a residential sprinkler system. While required in apartment buildings and commercial buildings, they aren't in homes. But, Chief Eggiman said installing a residential, family home system is something you should consider for your home. He also said to invest in materials to make your home 'built to last.'
A brand new home was lost to a fire early Tuesday morning in Pawleys Island. The home is located on Bannockburn Dr. in the Hagley Estates. A fire cause hasn't been determined yet, but Chief Eggiman said a simple way to prevent mass destruction like what happened to that home is through a home sprinkler system.
Chief Eggiman said contrary to popular belief, the only sprinkler head that would go off is the one activated by the fire, not the entire system. He said studies show damage done by a sprinkler head is dramatically less than what's done by a fire, and you can even save on your insurance.
"The majority of times that sprinkler heads are going to put that fire in check until we get there, or put it out, instead of having large scale damage. It protects your family, it protects your...you know, a home is an investment...as well as the family side of it. So it protects, really, both. You know, to us, that's such a wise thing to do," Chief Eggiman said.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation states installing a home sprinkler system runs about a $1.35 per one square foot. To put that in perspective, Chief Eggiman said it costs less to install the entire system than to buy a hot tub.
The materials used to build your home effect the way firefighters respond during a fire, Chief Eggiman said.
Chief Eggiman said that was the case yesterday when the Bannockburn Dr. home caught fire. He said while the thicker walls were harder for firefighters to tear down, they helped the structure stay standing. He described the home as 'built to last.' For example, he said, 2-by-6 pieces of plywood are better than 2-by-4. They burn slower, he said, buying you more time if you were caught in a house fire. He said materials like that, strong ceiling joists, hardwood floors and a metal roof were durable, and kept the home standing. He said cheaper materials like laminate flooring make it easier for firefighters to tear through, but also burn quickly.
"Less likely to collapse as your traditional stuff, you know, your traditional building. You know, honestly, if this had been built like a traditional house with the fire volume that it had...it would have collapsed a lot sooner," Chief Eggiman said.
Jack Hornish, a home improvement store sales specialist, shared some knowledge on what he sells to help protect your home.
"Lots of materials you can get, including the sheet rock, which you can line the walls of your house with that is fire code sheet rock. Very important that if you have a multi-family house, where you have an adjoining wall, you want to make sure that wall has fire rated sheet rock so fire can't travel from one unit to the other unit," Hornish said.
He also explained concrete based siding, fire retardant insulation and certain types of doors are all things you can buy to make your home safer for you and your family.