New Sioux Falls apartments will need fire sprinklers - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

New Sioux Falls apartments will need fire sprinklers

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Sprinkler systems can make all the difference in an apartment fire. So why did Sioux Falls just now adopt state law that makes sprinklers necessary?

South Dakota requires new apartment buildings with six or more units to have automatic sprinkler systems. But due to a lack of communication the city of Sioux Falls just passed an ordinance Tuesday to adjust city code to reflect state laws.

"Fire sprinkler systems are going to save lives and save property," said Wade Behm, Vice President of Construction with Lloyd Companies.

It's as simple as that, but the city of Sioux Falls just passed an ordinance Tuesday to match city code with state law.

"Once we became aware of the state law had changed, then we decided to catch up with the state & adopt it so now it's 6 or more units, apartment buildings need to be sprinkled," said Michael Top, Assistant Fire Marshal for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

Behm says the systems can be costly but are worthwhile.

"There's a possibility for people to get trapped in hallways, yeah, that's where safety has to come into play," said Behm.

"Very significant, it's a night & day difference of how much damage happens without them to what happens with them," said Top.

In fact, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Marshal Michael Top says a lot of times the sprinklers will actually put out the fire.

"I think it's a very necessary change, the safer that we can keep people in apartment buildings because it's a different arrangement of how people live. You're subject to your neighbors actions, their actions could directly affect you," said Top.

And in a worst case scenario a heat activated sprinkler system can buy you valuable time.

"Their job is just to keep the fire in check, keep it small, keep it into a confined area, and limit the smoke production until the fire department can get there to put it out," said Top.

If your home doesn't require sprinklers, don't worry,

"In the buildings that are not sprinklered there are always other means that are put in place to make sure that people live in safe dwelling units," said Behm.

The new city code does not apply to existing apartment buildings or those that are remodeled.

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