2022 has gotten off to a tragic start for residents of New York City and Philadelphia where apartment buildings fires that broke out were responsible for the deaths of 19 and 12 people respectively, many of whom were children.

Regardless of how these fires started – in these cases one was started by a faulty space heater and the other by a child lighting a Christmas tree, the harsh reality was that the loss of life and property was preventable. These fires are a stark reminder of the importance of properly functioning life safety systems.

This is unfortunately not the first time nor will it be the last that the absence of a sprinkler system and/or lack of knowledge of what to do in a fire has had life and death consequences. Did you know a single sprinkler head puts out approximately 99% of fires? As well, most condominium doors and walls are fire-rated, meaning they have material within them that is designed to contain a fire for a certain length of time. If you have to leave your unit due to a fire – close the door behind you! This will prevent the fire and smoke from spreading to the hallway and other units for as long as possible (even too much smoke in the hallway will prevent other residents from safely leaving the building).

Disasters like these remind us of the importance of fire protection systems in our communities. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. This is another stark reminder of the real consequences of properly functioning life safety systems.