NFPA vice president Gary Keith, chair of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, spoke at this morning's press conference at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas about the fire problem in the United States.
According to 2008 statistics, a residential fire occurs in the U.S. every 78 seconds. These fires account for:
- 84% of fire deaths
- 81% of fire injuries
- 69% of structure fire property damage
- 62% of structural fireground firefighter deaths
"As a country, we've done a good job in reducing the number and severity of home fires through public education, improved codes and standards, and the wide-use of smoke alarms," said Mr. Keith. But he added that in order to take the next step towards saving lives and property from home fires, we need to take a serious look at residential sprinklers.
NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative provides resources for the fire service and other sprinkler advocates who want to demonstrate the need for home fire sprinklers in their community. And the non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition provides educational material for consumers, builders, the fire service, and others who are seeking unbiased, non-commercial information about home fire sprinkler systems.
Mr. Keith had a simple philosophy about adding the next level of fire protection in new homes. "If you build it, sprinkler it," he said.