A recent mishap at a side-by-side demonstration highlights three things; the importance of following the recommendations of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition's (HFSC) side-by-side kit, the inherent dangers that firefighters face when performing their jobs, and the need to implement safety practices during the demonstration.
According to the statement from HFSC, "firefighters extinguishing the non-sprinklered side entered the burning demonstration unit instead of fighting the fire from a few feet back. Burning acrylic from the smoke barrier dripped down onto them and one received minor burns. Dramatic images of the firefighters' protective clothing catching fire have received widespread media attention."
Hundreds of these demonstrations have been performed with successful outcomes around the country. They offer the best evidence of the need for home fire sprinklers. The acrylic barrier is an important component of this demonstration, as it allows heat built-up within both the sprinklered and un-sprinklered units. This may be otherwise difficult if the units were to be left completely open on one side. There is also no reason to make entry into the units until the fire has been completely knocked down from a safe distance. It is equally important to practice safety, including having a safety line in place.