DeSoto Adopting New Building Codes

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(Olive Branch, MS) Denise Pratt says she’ll never forget the day four years ago, when she nearly lost her home to fire from a lighting strike.

”It started in the attic, but the lighting strike was so severe it blew out all the electrical outlets and did a lot of damage”.

Now, some cities in DeSoto County are starting to take action to help insure homes can better withstand disasters.

Olive Branch is among cities set to adopt new 2012 building codes.

”It regulates everything from the way they’re built to bracing, seismic bracing, different things that do make ‘em safe for all our residents,” said Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips, who added recent building codes also require automatic sprinklers for homes with heated areas more than 5,000 square feet.

It’s interesting to note, Mayor Phillips says sprinklers don’t make a huge difference in insurance costs, since a lot of damage comes from water.

But Phillips, a former firefighter, says it can save a house.

”It protects the firefighters once you get into a house that’s larger than 5,000 feet it gets hard to adequately battle the blaze”.

Phillips says the change should also help developers with more uniform rules across the County.

”DeSoto County as a whole, the municipalities are also looking at doing the same as well so that we can all kinda be on the same page."

And if you ask Pratt, stronger building codes and even sprinkler systems can save lives.

”The main concern for me was, my husband was in the house and you want to make sure your loved ones get out and the sprinkler system, if anything, allows the family more time to get out of the house."

She says the modest increase in costs doesn’t compare to the value of a loved one.