It's Normal: State Farm co-promotes sprinklers

Thursday, December 1, 2005

NORMAL, Ill.-- State Farm Insurance officials said their successful collaboration here with sprinkler advocates, a manufacturer, and a local installer to provide fire sprinklers for six Habitat for Humanity homes will spur them to look for opportunities elsewhere in the country to do the same thing.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition helped State Farm bring together Tyco Fire Products, which supplied fire sprinklers and accessories, and FE Moran Inc. Fire Protection of Champagne/Northbrook, which donated the labor.
"[Helping Habitat for Humanity] allows us to broadcast our message for safety and loss mitigation features in homes and allows homeowners to know more about sprinklers and how to protect their families and their properties," said Jeff Feid, loss mitigation administrator for State Farm, which is headquartered in nearby Bloomington, Ill.
Beyond the benefit for "Habitat and the homeowners, we want to educate builders to let them know that it's not that expensive to add sprinklers," said Bruce Williams of Habitat for Humanity for Mclean County in Bloomington.
"We always hear about 5,000-square-foot homes costing $3,000 to $4,000 [for sprinklers installs], these homes are much smaller and will cost less. There's also the misconception that when one sprinkler goes off, they all go off and flood the house. There's a lot of educating that needs to be done," he said.
Habitat has installed sprinklers in homes before, said Neville Eastwood, construction manager for the umbrella organization, Habitat International. "They've been installed in homes in areas where local ordinances require them and in areas where there was local interest from local fire safety officials who got labor and materials donated," he explained.
Heather Paul, community development specialist for State Farm, said that this was the first time the insurance company has been involved in a sprinkler project.
"Not all Habitat affiliates have the capacity to do a project like this," she said. "We'd love to get involved with this kind of project in as many areas as possible that have a Habitat affiliate that's interested," she said.