Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sprawl and Fire Hydrant Regulations

This article discusses how some sprawling growth is easily outdistancing the nearest fire hydrants. It goes on to question whether localities should pass regulations requiring hydrants within a certain distance of a house:
Nearly a fourth of U.S. families face the same protection inadequacies as the Webers because they live in extended suburban or rural locations with no hydrants, says Lori Moore-Merrell, an operations analyst with the International Association of Fire Fighters. The lack of fire hydrants is a growing problem as more homes are built outside urban and suburban infrastructure, she says.

States create their own standards, and localities may or may not enact stricter rules, says Chris Jelenewicz, an engineer with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

While fire protection is obviously important, any regulatory efforts to address the issue should require that the costs of extending the required infrastructure for these hydrants (as well as future maintenance) is bore exclusively by those developments and homeowners necessitating the expansion.

In other words, if people insist on living in sprawl, they should bear the present and future costs of that short-sighted decision.