You can tell the district is preparing for the upcoming legislative session by the Press Release section of the official website. And the article in the Federal Way Mirror based on those press releases.

The district has started adding this line to their press releases: “The home did not have residential fire sprinklers”.

Regardless of whether a fire sprinkler would have even activated in the incident, the district has decided to use every report of a fire to pave the way for promoting their legislative agenda.


Mandated Residential Sprinklers


There has long been the mantra to support local plumbing installers by making it a law that all new single family homes have fire sprinkler systems installed, usually at an initial cost of well over $15,000* per home.

Once that statute is enacted, we will soon see a push for fire sprinkler systems to be installed in existing homes as a requirement if you want to do any sort of remodel or addition.



Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do you ever get tired of hearing how one group of people think another group of people should be regulated, but whatever is being asked doesn’t apply to those making the rules?


Or any part of it, for that matter.

While in public they laud fire sprinklers as life saving devices, not one of them think highly enough of the system to protect their own families.

However, each year they present legislation to your lawmakers to force you to pay for this rarely used installation.

So expect the mantra of do as I say, not as I do to continue.


Lets see what 2012 brings

Shortly, we should see on the calendar the sit-down with the legislators. Among the list of desires I fully expect to see the Fire Sprinkler Issue raised, again.

Maybe they will bring out that same mysterious paper that was handed out last year to support their cause.

The one that  sorely underestimated the installation costs, was undated, had no geographical data and was prepared by an unknown author.


Who makes the money

I was watching an episode of Shark Tank in which an inventor was asking for money to promote his idea. While it was deemed somewhat worthy, there was little motivation for the intended marketplace to purchase the product since it was so expensive.

A most interesting insight to marketing came from one of the sharks when he commented “what you have to do is get it mandated and then we can make millions”.

The pro-offered product was quickly shelved, although a smaller and much cheaper version of the concept that did not require mandating to succeed was ultimately launched.

We can argue statistics about frequency of incidence; population vs number of fire responses; water damage vs fire damage; accidental deployment vs system failure to activate vs successful usage.

But the initial cost to a new home buyer will always support the installation companies. Who are delighted to have their product ‘mandated’ and profit margins unregulated. And who are delighted to have the fire department promote their services, especially if they can get them mandated.


Politics, as usual.


*Estimate based on actual data from local installers and Lakehaven Water District. Last year the district handed out a “fact sheet” that says it is less than $10,000, even for a retro-fit. But it fails to factor in the hidden costs of supply line upgrades and additional meter costs. Add to that the annual cost of maintenance and certification.


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