Carroll County's largest senior housing community has decided to voluntarily install sprinkler systems in its new developments, at a cost of $300,000.
Although not bound by law to install the systems in its residential units, Carroll Lutheran Village said its population merits the extra safety measure.
"We see it as a real significant safety factor and if we're going to help them age in place, we're going to help them do so safely and securely," said Hermine Saunders, director of church and public relations for Carroll Lutheran Village.
The move coincides with a push from county officials to require sprinkler systems in new residential developments.
"The majority of fires start in single-family dwellings, in kitchens or bedrooms," said Robert Cumberland, spokesman for Westminster Fire Engine & Hose Company No. 1. "With sprinklers in place, the fire is out before the engines arrive."
At yesterday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, county fire officials unveiled a proposed ordinance that would require new one- and two-family residential projects to meet minimum water supply requirements for fighting fires.
Carroll Lutheran Village will undergo a $60 million expansion in Westminster. It is expected to break ground in April.
Saunders said that village personnel worked with architectural firm CSD and general contractor Whiting-Turner to include National Fire Protection Association automatic sprinkler systems in 60 new houses. Sprinklers and fire alarms are included in the plans for 82 new apartments.