Although state law requires smoke alarms in most New Jersey dwellings and buildings, more than 50 of the Garden State’s residents lost their lives in home fires in 2018. Each of these homes was lacking a fire sprinkler system, as reported by the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. According to the NJFSAB, if installed, fire sprinkler systems may have saved 40 of those lives. The Hamilton, NJ-based advocacy group claims that fire sprinkler systems can lower the odds of fire-related fatalities by 80%.

Whether located in commercial or residential buildings, smoke alarms may effectively warn occupants of a fire and provide ample time to evacuate safely. A great deal of damage can nonetheless occur within the time that it takes for the fire department to arrive. Fire sprinklers, however, can control most blazes before fire fighters arrive and, in some cases, they can also extinguish them. According to the NJFSAB, a fire sprinkler system can accomplish a 70% reduction in property damage.

Many modern buildings and homes contain furnishings and construction materials that may release toxic fumes if they ignite and burn. Within landlord and tenant relationships, the ability to extinguish or control a potentially dangerous fire quickly through a sprinkler activation can help reduce the risk of harm to building occupants. In addition to helping to protect tenants and visitors, a fire sprinkler system can reduce the risk of property-owner liabilities stemming from on-premises injuries.

Specified buildings and structures in New Jersey are required by state fire codes to have sprinkler systems installed. If not included in one of the designated building groups, however, business and property owners may wish to compare the installation costs to the increased safety, possible insurance reductions and tax breaks a fire sprinkler system can bring.