Town Square

New board member pushes for fire sprinklers

Original post made on Nov 21, 2012

Should the Mountain View Whisman School District install fire sprinklers in all of its buildings? Incoming school board member Steve Nelson thinks it should.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 9:37 AM


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy Sherman
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Installing expensive sprinkler systems that are designed to protect property when there are cheaper ways to protect that property just on the off chance that doing so "might" save a life when there has been no loss of life in a school fire since 1933? What a waste of money!

Like this comment
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I am grateful that the public schools in Mountain View (all three districts) have not lost a life to fire since 1933. But I do not accept the argument that merely saving property is not enough to justify sprinklers.

I hope the school districts will work toward sprinklers in all school and office rooms in a prudent and expeditious way.

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm

"...teachers leave many materials in their classrooms that have sentimental value or that they purchased using their own money...."

Sentimental value? How about just to be able to teach! About the only thing inside a classroom that came with the job is the desks, textbooks, soap, and paper towels. Teachers get a small budget for classroom supplies, a copy machine code that allocates a certain number of copies, and access to some basic office and art supplies. The great majority of teachers spend thousands of dollars on everything else that you see inside the classroom.

Goldman needs to ask himself: Is it important to protect the tremendous amount of personal property that the hundreds of teachers in MVWSD keep at in their classroom?

Sounds to me like Nelson is thinking about the needs of students and teachers, which is a good attitude coming onto this school board.

Like this comment
Posted by Not true that Insurance is cheaper than a fire
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

If there's a fire during the school day, kids could be injured or killed.
In Chicago, a fire that started small in a private elementary school, Our Lady of the Angels, tragically killed 87 young children and 3 teachers.
Most likely, had the building been sprinklered, no one would have died.
For more see:
Web Link

Fire Insurance for a fire sprinklered building is often less than half the cost of the same building that is not sprinklered. So over time, the systems will pay for themselves.
Many businesses like Supermarkets studied this, and invest in sprinklers whether or not there are laws (or loopholes) when the payback is seven years or less. That's why most have been sprinklered for years. And they work- when have you heard of a grocery fire?
Political reasons: Recent CA. laws now require fire sprinklers in ALL new residential buildings, like hotels, apartments, and even homes, and new schools but they did not require going back to existing, unless there is a major remodel.
Yet the existing buildings are just as likely or more likely to have a fire.
And remember insurance will not bring back your children, or help with the months or years it may take to rebuild, at taxpayer expense. Think of how traveling across town to overcrowd an undamaged school affects all those involved, even if the fire is at night..
AND many public entities are "self-insured", which really means NOT insured.

James Art
Fire Protection Engineer
Livermore, Ca

Like this comment
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 5, 2012 at 12:27 am

I intend for this discussion to continue with significant other expert and community input. It seems that to date the most input to the District has been by the architect to the Facilities Plan, who does not put sprinkler system in school buildings under his design control.

Like this comment
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly
a resident of another community
on Feb 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Nelson. It is amazing that many California schools today do not have fire alarm connections to a first responder, such as a fire department/fire district, and/or automatic sprinkler systems.

There is a new nonprofit called Ring The Bell Fund that was established in November 2012 to help raise funds for, the awareness of, and educate the public on the importance of having monitored fire alarm infrastructure and automatic sprinklers in schools to ensure the safety of our children, school property, and neighborhoods. Our website is I hope you'll visit it and look forward to your feedback and comments.

Thank you, Mr. Nelson, for fighting to keep our communities and schools safe!

Virginia Chang Kiraly
President & Founder
Ring The Bell Fund

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of North Whisman

on Jun 5, 2017 at 10:17 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?