Press Release – Cecil County Firemen’s Association . . .
North East, MD. April 3, 2011: — The Board of Commissioners are preparing for a final vote on amending the residential sprinkler ordinance. To aid them in making a fact-based decision, the Cecil County Firemen’s Association (CCFA) plans an educational presentation that shows the value of the automatic fire suppression system during a live fire demonstration at the county office building on Tuesday, April 5th, at 5:00 p.m. Using two identical rooms, except one is equipped with a sprinkler, observers will be able to personally evaluate the dramatic difference between fires in sprinklered and unsprinklered homes.
Our goal is to educate the commissioners so they can make an informed decision on this important life safety feature when they vote on the amended ordinance, Monica Penhollow, President of the association, said. In identically furnished typical household rooms, people will be able to see how in minutes a small fire turns into a life-threatening blaze and how the sprinkler comes into action to douse the blaze with a small quantity of water.
“This is the last interaction the CCFA will have before the commissioners make their final vote. We have worked for weeks putting this demonstration together and I am confident we have done our job to provide the education the commissioners need to make a sound decision. The association and the fire service urge the commissioners to approve the sprinkler ordinance,” Penhollow continued.
CMP Fire from Elkton MD, is assisting the CCFA with the demonstration. They have constructed two rooms with identical furnishings. Fire engines from North East, Rising Sun and Elkton will be on hand for suppression and support. Singerly’s David Meaders is the incident commander, Ray Stevens of Chesapeake City is the safety officer. The Public Information Officer for the Maryland State Fire Marshalls Office will narrate the activity.
The Association applauded the efforts of the county’s elected leaders in June 2010 when they adopted the Maryland code but was disappointed when moments after beginning a new term in January they voted three to two to initiate the process that would rescind an ordinance requiring sprinklers in all new single family dwellings. “The association and the Cecil County Fire Service fully support the code requirement that was passed as we joined 11 other Maryland counties and 90 of the state’s 157 municipalities covered by the state’s residential sprinkler laws.
The fire service knows that this technology significantly enhances safety for citizens and emergency service providers as it also lessens the public burden. Our county commissioners in adopting the state requirement joined community leaders in Charlestown, Elkton, North East, Perryville and Rising Sun in recognizing the value of these systems to the citizens they serve and to the safety of firefighters,” the President added.
The Cecil County Fire Service has seen enough fire deaths over the years. Last year alone seven people died in house fires in the county, five of them children. But since Prince Georges passed legislation in 1992 mandating sprinklers in all new one and two family homes, no one has died in a fire in these dwelling.
The Cecil County Fire Service urges the Commissioners to not stand in the way of enforcement of this ordinance as it also seeks to once again educate the board on the importance of this public safety matter. The Cecil Whig also urged the commissioners to let the ordinance take effect as “the potential for increased safety . . . outweighs the concerns of a mandatory sprinkler policy.”