Re: Fire Safety Regulations: Good or Bad?

From: Steve Davies (
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 09:12:04 MDT


Mike Lorrey wrote
>> Without fire safety regs, large dense cities frequently had a huge
>> devastating fire every few years or decades. One fire would cause untold
>> deaths and the loss of thousands of homes and businesses. Today, each
>> individual fire that occurs is generally contained within its building
>> or within a small part of a building due to the required use of fire
>> retardant matnerials, and deaths would be minor due to required
>> installation of fire safety equipment (like extinguishers, fire escapes,
>> smoke alarms, and public education).
Daniel Unst replied

>I would hazard to guess -- but confess ignorance here:) -- that, in the
>past, most fires, too were small and contained. It wasn't like London
>burned done once a decade. You make it sound as if it did.
>What we would need to do is find out if government fire codes have had the
>impact you believe they have.

When towns were built mainly of wood large fires were common (ie up to the
17th century). They became much less frequent as other materials were more
widely used. However this didn't require government fire regulation codes,
the same effect was achieved by insurers and by the use of restrictive
covenants in building leases which stipulated that materials such as brick
or stone be used in any construction. (The insurers also had their own fire
engine sevices, interestingly). So this was achieved by voluntary agreement,
as you say. Steve Davies

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