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2010

One of Chief W. Keith Brower's firefighters, from the Loudoun County (VA) fire department, was severely burned when a fireball erupted on the first floor of a home fire. The fire trapped four of Chief Brower's firefighters upstairs. All four escaped, but the firefighter who was burned has retired from the force. "He's partially incapacitated," says the Chief. "He can't do the job he loves."

Watch Chief Brower's story.

NFPA’s Faces of Fire campaign is a tool to help people and groups across the country promote the use of automatic fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. By containing fires before they spread, home fire sprinklers protect lives and property. The personal stories told through the Faces of Fire campaign will show the experiences of those who escaped or lost loved ones in home fires and those whose lives and property were protected by home fire sprinklers.

- Mike Hazell

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134887beb96970c-piFoF450 
Personal stories of those who have been affected by fires in the home - like Princella Lee-Bridges of Greenville, SC - are part a new NFPA campaign to promote the required installation of fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The campaign, called "Faces of Fire", was unveiled this morning at a conference in Boston that drew fire and building officials from around the country.

In March 1992, Princella Lee-Bridges was busy with the evening’s chores of making dinner and helping her daughter with homework when her son ran into the room to tell her the home’s heating unit was on fire. Princella went for the fire extinguisher, but quickly realized that it was time to get her family out of the burning house. Using their escape plan, the family sought safety outside.

“My son and my dad went out, and so did I. And I just assumed that my daughter went with us,” Princella says. “That’s not what happened.”

When Princella, an operating room nurse and Desert Storm veteran, didn’t see her daughter outside, she panicked. She shouted to nearby firefighters that her daughter was still inside, then ran back into the burning home to rescue her on her own. In the meantime, firefighters had found her daughter and had begun treating her for smoke inhalation. The injuries that Princella suffered were much more serious. With burns on 49 percent of her body, Princella remained in a coma for two months.

Princella's story - along with the personal stories of other home fire survivors, family members of victims, first responders and homeowners whose property has been protected by fire sprinklers, are all being featured in the Faces of Fire campaign. Through video interviews, photographs and written profiles available online, Faces of Fire is a resource for local advocates and fire personnel, putting personal stories front and center during consideration of fire sprinkler mandates.

See more Faces of Fire stories and learn how to become a fire sprinkler advocate in your community.

- Mike Hazell

The Fire Team USA Prevention Initiative funded through a Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention Grant is “a special day and a half informational/training conference on fire protection” bringing important stakeholders together to improve public policy on fire protection with an emphasis on home fire sprinklers.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bcf42970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bcf42970c-800wi|alt=FTUSA Team|title=FTUSA Team|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bcf42970c image-full !<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><font face="Calibri">Pictured from left to right: James Dalton, Vickie Pritchett, Wayne Waggoner, Shane Ray, John Corso<o:p></o:p></font></span></p>

<p>&#0160;The team traveled to Charleston, SC for a two-day workshop on Sept. 1-2, 2010. Nearly 100 participants; including homebuilders, building officials, fire chiefs, fire marshals and firefighters, traveled from four states (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) to attend the workshop.</p>

<p>The workshop emphasizes the need to influence public policy makers to understand the importance of protecting the community with fire protection, including home fire sprinkler requirements. Toward that end a state senator from SC was invited to address the audience.</p>

<p>!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bd3e1970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bd3e1970c-120wi|alt=SenLeventis|style=MARGIN: 0px 5px 5px 0px|title=SenLeventis|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134869bd3e1970c !Senator Phil Leventis told the participants; “just having the facts is not enough. It’s about relationships. It’s important for them (public policy makers) to know about you.” He recommends building relationships with homebuilders. He told the audience to take them to work. By this he means bring them to observe the “after the fire” effects. He encourages fire sprinkler advocates to invite public policy makers and other stakeholders to speak to your group and ask them to speak about home fire sprinklers. This engages them to research the topic.


 

The workshop culminates with a live side-by-side burn demonstration. If you would like to bring this workshop to your community, visit the Fire Team USA &#0160;website.


[Maria Figueroa | mailto:mfigueroa@nfpa.org]

 

This new report by NFPA's John R. Hall, Jr. includes statistics on how often sprinklers (or other automatic extinguishing systems) are reported in fires, by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire. The report also includes statistics on performance, usage and reliability of sprinklers and other automatic extinguishing systems, as well as leading reasons when system fail to operate, or operate but are ineffective.

The PA Fire Sprinkler Coalition has issued an urgent call to all advocates, families, and friends living in PA to contact members of the House asking them to keep the home fire sprinkler requirement intact.

The PA Senate passed amended HB1196 just prior to the end of its session. If passed by the House, this bill places a moratorium on the home fire sprinkler requirement for one year. The PA homebuilders have promised to use this delay to do away with the requirement altogether.The House will come back for a two-day lame duck session on November 7th & 8th to consider the bill.

The PA home builders have failed in every other proper forum to kill the requirement. Unable to succeed at the state building code council, which passed the requirement, they filed an injunction which was dismissed by the court. The issue has been covered here in a previous post. Now they turn to the legislature, where political influence may be tilted more in their favor.

For more information contact Tim Knisely, Co-Chair of the PA Fire Sprinkler Coalition at tknisely@centreregioncode.org

Maria Figueroa

October issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterThe October issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative Update, our monthly e-newsletter, has hit the streets. (Read the issue or subscribe today - it's easy and free!)

In this issue, we showcase two fire departments who are using side-by-side burns to demonstrate the power of home fire sprinklers. We also feature a new NFPA report on "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers and Other Fire Extinguishing Equipment".

- Mike Hazell

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