I have a friend who worked in the news media for a while, who covered all types of disasters, among other things. From floods to blizzards to tornadoes, this friend of mine told me about the times he witnessed the carnage that mother nature inflicted on building structures, and in turn on people’s lives.
The one type of disaster my news reporter friend covered the most, however, was fire. Apartment fires, house fires, and commercial structure fires. They happen every day, all the time for all kinds of different reasons. A faulty electrical system, improperly placed insulation, a child playing with matches. I could fill the entire page with a list of hypothetical scenarios.
The ever present danger of fire has me thinking about the best ways I can protect my investment - our eco-friendly home is in a precarious stage of construction in which the inner wooden skeleton of the structure is exposed and permanent fire prevention systems have not yet been installed. Fire prevention is something I take seriously - once my home is finished, you’ll see a menagerie of fire prevention features including a commercial grade sprinkler system, and an array of heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers.
Connecticut building codes mandate that a certain level of fire protection features be present in every new structure, but I plan on doing much more than the minimum. It’s worth it. Sprinkler systems are not mandatory for homes in the state of Connecticut, but I am installing one anyways. I’ve spent far too much time and effort working on my home to let a preventable scenario ruin my hard work and potentially endanger people’s lives.
As for protecting the structure while it’s in the construction stages, I’m keeping fire extinguishers and temporary smoke detectors at the job site. These are strategically places around my home in places where they’re easy to access.
I’m a firm believer that you can never have enough knowledge about fire prevention. So, as part of my ode to fire safety, Old Saybrook Building Inspector Don Lucas is paying us a visit. You might remember Don from one of our earlier episodes where I showed him my plans and he gave me some preliminary advice about the design of our eco-friendly home. In addition to being the town building inspector, Don is also a volunteer firefighter. He’s a great person to learn from and has a wealth of knowledge from decades of experience wearing both hats.
If you’re building a new home or thinking about it, all I will say to you is this: fire is a preventable scenario, and one that you absolutely want to protect yourself against. Take it seriously, protect your investment and the lives of your family.