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The Rawlins Fire Department in Rawlins, Wyoming hosted a side-by-side burn to promote home fire sprinklers and the impact was clear. As fire ravaged the unsprinklered room, "bystanders dumbstruck by the spectacular sight" as Rawlins' longtime fire chief John Rutherford narrated the "controlled catastrophe" reported Rawlins Times.com.

 

For the second part of the demonstration, the outcome was much different thanks to sprinklers. Even a stuffed monkey, which was placed on a small table survived the fire without a scratch. 

 

If the demonstration wasn't enough, the chief then drew attention to the Carnes family who was in the crowd at the event. They have been displaced from their home for nearly four months, following a fire that was believed to have been caused by a "shoddy lightbulb."

 

From the outside, Michelle Carnes, explained you wouldn't know the devastation had occurred. "But, inside the house," she said, "It’s a complete loss."

 

John Carnes said sprinklers would have made a difference; had sprinklers been installed he said that the property damage could have been in the $500 ballpark as opposed to "$200,000."

 

A sprinkler system "would've prevented 98% of the damage," said Michelle.

 

In the City of Rawlins, residential structures are not required to have sprinkler systems.

The activation of a sprinkler extinguished a fire and saved about 800 people in a Tysons, Virginia apartment building on September 22, according to a recent local news report. Damages were estimated to be $650.

 

In another fire that took place in the state one week prior resulted in a different outcome: a mother, father, and 10-year-old son lost their lives in a fire at their home in Virginia’s Buckingham County.

 

Photo Credit: Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

 

The same day as the tragic fire, the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development rejected a proposal to implement the model code provision making sprinklers mandatory in new townhomes and single-family homes, reported WAMU. The same article reported that Home Builders Association of Virginia celebrated the vote, “saying that requiring sprinklers would only throw another obstacle in the way of the new housing construction that is needed to help close what officials say is a 75,000-home gap between what’s currently expected to be built across the region and what’s actually needed to keep pace with estimated job growth.”

 

In social media posts following the vote, the home builders association said that the requirement for sprinklers in new single-family homes and townhouses could mean an increase of $15,000 and $25,000 in construction costs.

 

The board’s decision - and these social media posts from the Association - drew public outcry from members of the fire service from across the country.

 

Chief Keith Johnson of the Loudon County Combined Fire-Rescue System, who serves on the Board of Housing and Community Development representing the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association supporting the proposal, and Fairfax County Fire Chief John S. Butler vocalized their dissatisfaction and vocalized that the decision is a huge safety concern.

 

Photo Credit: Twitter

 

Keith Brower, a retired Loudon County, VA fire chief, tweeted that the average cost of home fire sprinklers is “no where near this quote,” and put the cost at $1.61 per square foot in the state. A report commissioned by the Fire Protection Research Foundation places the average national cost at $1.35 per sprinklered square foot or about one percent of the total construction cost.

 

As the backlash grew, the Home Builders Association deleted their posts about the decision.

Delaware Fire Coalition Chair Paul Eichler was recently interviewed on Delmarva Life, a local TV program. As part of the conversation, the Coalition Chair provided education about home fire sprinklers and dispelled some of the common myths about them. Among the misconceptions discussed, he debunked the myth that home fire sprinklers leak "all over the place" and that the water they use will create more damage than a fire. Watch the full interview here:

 

 

Also on display during the interview was the sprinkler prop kit, a free tool that is available from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Nice job Paul Eichler!

The Park Ridge Fire Department responded to an alarm at the Park Ridge Pointe community in Park Ridge, Illinois on September 6. After entering, crews discovered a fire had started in a bathroom in one of the condo units. 

 

“The fire sprinkler system had activated (only one sprinkler head) and had prevented the fire from spreading throughout the structure,” Park Ridge Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen said in a press release, “Most importantly, no residents or fire personnel were injured.” 

 

Chief Sorensen also cited how sprinklers can help reduce the resources needed to respond to a fire. “While fire sprinklers are designed with life safety in mind, they typically use a fraction of the water that fire hoses do to contain a fire,” Sorensen said in the release.

 

Furthermore, “It wasn’t a large response by us because we didn’t need it, ” Sorensen was quoted as saying in a Chicago Tribune article about the incident.

 

The city of Park Ridge has required fire sprinklers in all new construction, including single-family homes, since 2001.

 

In the case of this particular fire, it is believed to have originated in the bathroom ceiling fan.

 

The August issue of The Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter is now available for viewing. In this issue, you’ll:

 

  • Learn about the 2020 dates for Home Fire Sprinkler Week as well as information on how you can get involved.
  • Find an all-encompassing article about home fire sprinklers that provides vital information to share with stakeholders.
  • Discover social media cards to use in your sprinkler advocacy efforts.
  • Get insights into commonly asked questions about 13D.

 

NFPA issues this free, monthly newsletter on its nationwide effort to increase the use of home fire sprinklers through the adoption of sprinkler requirements. Sign up for our Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter to start receiving it directly to your inbox.

Erie, PA home daycare fire aftermath

Photo Credit: Associated Press

 

It was with heavy hearts that four siblings, ages nine months to eight years old, were laid to rest over the weekend. The children were four out of the five that were killed in a home daycare fire in Erie, Pennsylvania. The fifth child, a two-year-old boy, will be laid to rest today.

 

The cause of the fire is being investigated; it is believed to have started by an overloaded extension cord in the home’s living room. Erie Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski said he suspected the intensity of the fire, which melted the siding on the front of the house and damaged two homes next door, was made worse by furniture in the living room. Officials reported that the house only had one smoke detector, in the attic.

 

In the wake of the fire, Fire Chief Brian Enterline of Harrisburg, PA called for lawmakers to pass legislation that would require sprinklers in all new homes. Enterline cited that Pennsylvania has the third most fire deaths in the country.

 

Ironically, beginning January 1, 2011, Pennsylvania lawmakers mandated the installation of sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes. However, with pressure from home builders, that mandate was repealed in April of that same year. Since 2011, there have been nearly 143,000 single-family housing starts in the state.

 

To learn about how you can advocate for home fire sprinklers in your community, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.

Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition HouseWhen it comes to home fire sprinklers, misinformation about these life-and-property-saving systems continues to persist. Many who unfamiliar with the technology think that sprinklers are too expensive and that they will activate for no reason. They also often believe that in the event of a fire, the sprinklers will cause more damage than the fire itself.

 

In an all-encompassing article on Forbes.com writer Sheri Koones refutes these claims and explains why home fire sprinklers should be a requirement in all homes.

 

Supported by data from NFPA, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and the Scottsdale Study, Koones writes, “It is clear that sprinkler systems can save lives, and reduce property loss.”

 

Read the full article here and share it with your peers, legislators, and anyone you know who could benefit from this information.

 

Photo: Courtesy of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

 

Today’s post was written by guest contributor, Peg Paul, Communications Manager at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition:

 

Home fire sprinklers are a proven, long-term solution to the home fire problem. But the fire service often faces many challenges when working to protect new housing stock. In jurisdictions that do not have codes that require fire sprinklers in new construction, the fire service is taking a different path to improve community risk reduction. Fire departments from Washington State to New England are using home fire sprinkler incentives (sometimes called trade-ups) as valuable motivation to install NFPA 13D systems in new-home developments.

 

Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) are finding that developers and big builders who balk at sprinkler code discussions are all ears when offered financial benefits in exchange for installation. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has published a series of case studies on its website that summarize these successful AHJ-led efforts. The incentives are wide ranging, from bottom-line benefits like increased hydrant spacing, allowing higher density resulting in additional units, to infrastructure cost-savings, such as allowing reduced street width.

        AHJs successfully negotiated with a developer in Camas, Washington.

 

Read their stories to learn how these AHJs found common ground with local builders and how you might do the same through your coalition.

 

Already offering home fire sprinkler incentives? We want to hear from you! Please share your story: info@homefiresprinkler.org.

The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) were recently involved in a project working with Designing Spaces, a home improvement show, to retrofit a home for vets with disabilities. When they were asked to sponsor the project, the two groups didn’t think twice about getting involved.

 

 

The sprinkler installation was for Noah Currier’s home in Poplar Grove, Illinois. Currier, a quadriplegic, not only lives in the house but also runs weekly clinics out of his residence for the Oscar Mike Foundation. After years of working through his own challenges, he founded the foundation to keep veterans “on-the-move” through adaptive sports programs.

 

Noah knows the devastating effects of fire all too well; his dad was in a house fire where he was severely burned and suffered smoke inhalation. The fire also left the house unsalvageable.

 

Now, the safety and protection of his own home – and those that visit it – is top of mind for Noah, who is also a veteran himself. On any given day in the 9,000 square-foot fully accessible residence, more than a dozen people with disabilities may be in it taking part in activities and events. Noah is aware that house fire can become deadly in less than two minutes and that to survive means being able to escape quickly. "It takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, into my wheelchair and outside," Noah explained.

 

After the producers of Designing Spaces, which airs on Lifetime, heard that Noah’s house needed a remodel, they were eager to help and install home fire sprinklers to help protect the home. Designing Spaces worked with United States Alliance Fire Protection (USAFP), a fire sprinkler contractor, to design and retrofit the system in accordance with 13D code requirements  

 

The episode that features the sprinkler installation at the Oscar Mike Foundation aired as part of a three-part series. Here is a clip from the show, where the Designing Spaces host, Ryan, talks with USAFP President, Chad Huennekens, who explains how fire sprinklers protect people in the home.

 

 

 

In an update shared by Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), Noah said, “We're really grateful for the support. We've already had a few weeks of clinics come in since the remodel, and everyone is loving it. The home is going to be used to serve injured veterans for a long time."

 

No one was home at a McKinney, Texas apartment when a fire broke out in the kitchen. Firefighters received a call about smoke and when they arrived at the scene, they found that the sprinkler system had successfully stopped the fire from spreading beyond the room of origin, according to North Texas e-News report.

“Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century in public and commercial buildings,” said McKinney Fire Marshal Mike Smith. “That same lifesaving technology is just as effective when it comes to protecting your home.” 

According to NFPA's research:

 

  • when sprinklers were present during a fire, the fire was kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.
  • In roughly nine of every ten home fires with operating sprinklers, just one sprinkler operates.

 

Has your fire department responded to any fire sprinkler activations? Have you seen any in the news? If so please send these saves to the Fire Sprinkler Initiative team so we can highlight them in a future blog post.

How can you leverage social media to champion the life-saving power of home fire sprinklers? The answer to this question was the focus of Changing the Conversation and Raising Awareness for Fire Sprinklers #fastestwater, a well-attended session at the NFPA conference and Expo yesterday in San Antonio, Texas.

Presenting was Vickie Pritchett, the Director of Outreach & Government Relations at the National Fire Sprinkler Association. She highlighted the power of social media, citing how it provides immediate access to information, fosters connectivity and the opportunity to influence and create a movement.

With all the positives of social media, not surprisingly it's not all good. As so many of us have witnessed, people can easily hide behind their anonymity and the platforms can be a place of "all talk and no action."

Despite these negatives, it's to our advantage to embrace social media to help raise awareness for home fire sprinklers. By doing so, "We are advancing the conversation and we are saving lives," said Vickie.

To ensure your social media efforts are primed to make a positive impact, Vickie offered the following advice:

 

As you might have seen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, sprinkler advocates across North America, including members of NFPA, NFSA, HFSC and AFSA recently took part in Home Fire Sprinkler Week. Social media proved to be an impactful way to get the word out and generate conversation about this life-saving technology. Did you participate and use social media in your own advocacy campaign? We invite you to share your social success story below.

 

 

 

Today's post was written by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board:

 

During the holiday season, my family and I took a trip to the Wisconsin Dells and passed through Winnebago County, Illinois. I was reminded of our good fire safety friend and patriot Chief Rob Martin of the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District. Dedicated to his family, his fire district, and his country Chief Rob Martin is certainly someone I look up to.

 

Rob is one of the esteemed Illinois Fire Service and Building Department Class of 2008(9) and was an asset to the Minnesota ICC historical vote for the inclusion of residential fire sprinklers and the NFPA votes for same. He then did his own research and spoke with community leaders and the fire district board to push for fire sprinklers at a local level. I could never forget his enthusiasm for this issue and for being a part of this effort.

 

Win-Bur-Sew is one of the most progressive Illinois fire districts outside of the Chicago area. Chief Martin and the Board of Trustees of the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District are examples to all. Their district requires fire sprinklers in all new construction at a zero square foot fire sprinkler threshold, including townhomes and single-family homes following the NFPA 13D standard. This forward thinking is a result of Chief Martin’s dedication to community safety.

 

Chief Martin understands the importance of educating his community. As a member of a Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) Built For Life Fire Department, he uses consumer education and other available resources to make sure his community understands the life-saving value of home fire sprinklers. He conducts open houses in homes protected with fire sprinklers. To demonstrate how quickly a house fire spreads compared to how quickly a fire sprinkler prevents a fire from becoming deadly, he conducts live side-by-side fire and sprinkler demonstrations.

 

Chief Martin extended his dedication to community and safety through his extensive military service. As a member of the Army and Army Reserve, he deployed to Afghanistan with the Public Safety Team for Civil Affairs, connecting to local civilians and working with their communities and government to create safer living conditions. During his deployment to Afghanistan, he worked as Deputy Chief of Stability Operations. In Iraq, he worked with Civil Affairs and worked with communities to rebuild infrastructure and care for community needs. He also served in the United States, training soldiers for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 

Major Martin interacts with the Iraqi Children of the city of Yousaffia, Iraq, May 2004. Major Martin and his Civil Affairs team were conducting an infrastructure assessment for the area.

 

Now firmly back in the US after three overseas commitments Chief Martin had to defend his code from attempts to reverse his progressive measures at a recent board meeting where the attempt was held off. His dedication to community and safety is the groundwork for all his efforts. Chief Martin’s and the Board’s action put fire safety first for all new residential and commercial buildings, making Win-Bur-Sew a model to follow. Thank you, Chief Martin!

 

Tom Lia is executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and government policymakers on home fire sprinklers. This blog regularly features Lia's perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.

With nearly 40 educational initiatives occurring across North America and one in Europe, the 2019 Home Fire Sprinkler Week has been deemed a success. Through social media, video, local community events, and more, advocates took action to raise awareness about the lifesaving benefits of sprinklers. Here is just a sampling of some of the Home Fire Sprinkler Week activities that took place: 

 

  • The Wisconsin Fire Sprinkler Coalition hosted a live side-by-side burn to demonstrate the power of fire and home fire sprinklers to more than 150 people at Madison’s annual Brat Fest.
  • As part of a live burn/sprinkler demonstration in Edmonton, Alberta, sprinkler advocates, including members of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition – Canada, used eye-catching graphics to dispel some of the common myths about home fire sprinklers.
  • In New York, the Oneida Fire Department showed Otto Shortell Middle School students just how quickly flashover can occur and how home fire sprinklers can save lives.
  • The Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition and Honolulu Hawaii Fire Department produced creative and informative videos about home fire sprinklers.
  • NFPA joined United States Deputy Fire Administrator Dr. Denis Onieal, and Massachusetts Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier and others for a Home Fire Sprinkler Week media event in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

 

A big thank you to everyone who played a part in making this Week a success. To view more photos from events that took place, we invite you to visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Week photo gallery on Facebook. If you have photos from your event, please send them to NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative team.

 

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has released a new set of videos that give important facts about fire sprinklers in 90 seconds or shorter. 

 

The videos are available on YouTube and available for download Use them: 

  • on social media and share with your network 
  • during a presentation to your town's decision makers or public
  • by embedding the video on your company, department, or organization's website

 

Topics include:

How Home Fire Sprinklers Work

 

Who is Most at Risk in a Home Fire? 

 

Why House Fires Burn More Quickly and are More Deadly

If you haven't heard, Home Fire Sprinkler Week is just around the corner! From May 19-25, safety advocates across North America are taking action in unison to raise national awareness of a fire sprinkler's life-saving ability. 

 

Fire departments, fire sprinkler coalitions, and other sprinkler advocates are hosting activities, such as a live side-by-side burn/sprinkler demonstration and a fire department open house, to highlight this powerful technology and to break down common myths and legislative barriers to its use. Visit our event map to see where events are occurring: 

 

Home Fire Sprinkler Week Map May 2019

 

In 2018, Fire Sprinkler Initiative®, a project of NFPA®and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition®, and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition-Canada®, hosted the inaugural Home Fire Sprinkler Day on May 19 with more than 50 events taking place on the same day. 

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