Safety experts tout sprinklers as way to stop deadly fires

Posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 --- 11:20 p.m.

So far in 2013, 26 people have died in fires in Wisconsin. That's a state record.

Thursday night in Watertown, firefighters demonstrated one simple way to save your family from a deadly fire.

At a community safety fair, Watertown firefighters and a representative from the nonprofit Wisconsin Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association showed how quickly fire spreads, and how fast a home sprinkler system can put a fire out compared to a room without one.

Bob Kleinheinz with the Association is frustrated the Wisconsin Legislature hasn't made sprinkler systems mandatory in new homes like other states have.

"The thing we say all the time is, this is a firefighter in your house, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with a bucket of water ready to go,” Kleinheinz described the sprinkler. “So as soon as that fire starts, he's got the water ready to go."

Kleinheinz says a sprinkler system costs roughly 1% of the value of your home. It's a cost that can be rolled into your mortgage payment. He also says it's a myth that every sprinkler goes off in a home when one does.