FOND DU LAC - Fire departments have long said fire sprinklers can save lives.
Friday a demonstration designed to show sprinklers can make a difference.
Fond du Lac firefighters set up a side by side demonstration to show how quickly a small fire can consume a building.
"Both alarms were off at 10 seconds," said Dan Gengler of the National Fire Sprinkler Association as the demonstration got underway.
And the clock was ticking for anyone to escape as smoke and flames begin to fill the mock rooms.
"People just don't understand, we're trying to get the word out," said Gengler.
The fire danger is real. Fire sprinkler supporters say while the devices may not put out a fire, their value can be priceless.
"Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms don't stop the fire from happening, it's the aftermath that does all the damage. They can destroy property, they can injure people and kill people," said Gengler.
Now the difference in the two rooms is becoming clear.
"Fire doubles in size every 19 seconds," said Gengler as flames in the non-sprinkled room began to spread.
And in less than two minutes the temperature in the room with no sprinkler has climbed to roughly 1,200 degrees.
"There you have it, that's what's called flashover, nobody can survive in there," Gengler said.
But in the other room, the sprinkler activated at 170 degrees and kept the fire contained to just a couch until firefighters could arrive to put it out. Doing the job of saving lives, the very reason Habitat for Humanity in Fond du Lac is getting on board.
"For our Habitat partner families, safety is always important to us," said Paul Osterholm, executive director.
Osterholm says this is the second Habitat house to be built in Fond du Lac that has fire sprinklers installed. He hopes that will be a trend that will continue in other homes they build in the future.
Installing sprinkler systems in new construction can run about $2,000 for a $200,000 home, or about one percent of the total cost of the home. To add sprinklers to existing buildings can run anywhere from two to three percent higher, but Gengler says sprinklers are worth every penny if it can save a life.
"I was on the wrong end and witnessed what fire can do, taking lives, taking property, creating all kinds of havoc on a family. That shouldn't happen, it can be avoided," said Gengler.
Firefighters also say a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector should be on each level of a home or business.
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