Study Finds Building Security Remains Top of Americans’ List


Americans chose building security as the most important feature in public buildings, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Bethesda, Md.-based Society for Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). The list also included comfort, fire safety, environmental friendliness and other amenities.

“The findings are not surprising given the threat from crime and terrorism that we face today,” says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager at SFPE. “However, Americans should recognize that thousands of people die each year in fires, and fire safety features are critical to protect people and property.”

Key findings in the survey includes:

  • 28 percent of Americans feel security is the most important feature
  • 12 percent of respondents indicated that fire safety is the most important aspect of a building’s design
  • 45 percent believe fire is the event that will most likely cause harm to them or their family; however, Americans still ranked comfort and amenities higher than fire safety
  • More than 58 percent of those surveyed worry about the dangers of fire less than once a year

“Throughout history, the desire for increased building security has contributed to countless deadly building fires. The most notable fire occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City in 1911, where locked exit doors contributed to 146 fatalities,” says Jelenewicz. “Although the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire occurred almost 100 years ago, the threat can still exist today if security is not balanced with fire protection.”

The survey, which was commissioned by the Society for Fire Protection Engineers, was conducted in February and polled more than 1,000 American adults.

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