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Almost three months after the Welsh assembly passed a law requiring the installation of residential sprinklers, a reporter for the BBC covered a live burn demonstration in Warwickshire, England with hopes that such coverage would persuade lawmakers towards similar legislation. The Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service demonstrated the difference a sprinkler makes to a house fire, and the side-by-side demonstration was captured on video. "Within two minutes the shout was given to get out. Crawling on our hands and knees we left the house with toxic smoke billowing through the windows, in another few minutes, windows shattered and flames engulfed the room," says the reporter. This, after the attending fire service indicated there would be six minutes until a first call was given to make an exit.

As communities across the country work towards adopting sprinkler legislations at the local level, it's encouraging to know they are in good company around the world.  More videos from the Fire Sprinkler Initiative are available to demonstrate the life and property saving power of residential sprinklers.

- Karen Wallingford 

The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) announced today the redesign of its website, The commercial-free site targets three primary interest groups; the fire service, consumers and the homebuilding industry. The site is the only one of its kind containing a "wide range of information, videos and educational content to help the public understand the value of residential fire sprinkler systems."

According to Peg Paul, communications manager of HFSC, the organization "revamped the site in order to better respond to the increasing volume of materials requests the educational organization receives daily." She adds; "Fire departments, especially, are in great need of free home fire safety teaching tools that they can use."

Paul says the focus of the redesign plan was to create better, user-friendly website. She tells us that navigation was one of the biggest changes. "We offer so many different types of sprinkler education materials that there was almost too much of a good thing. Our new, more nimble navigation makes it simple for anyone to quickly locate our videos, brochures, customizable tools – whatever they need – and view, download or order them."

Click on the logo to visit HFSC: HFSC Logo 001

About Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC): The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is a national, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused solely on educational outreach. It is the leading resource for independent, noncommercial information about residential fire sprinkler systems.


Maria Figueroa

Members of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners in Maryland recently gathered to discuss the county's current sprinkler requirement for residences, and the possibility of making changes to that requirement. In support of the mandate as it stands, Commissioner Haven Shoemaker (R-District 2) presented facts that irrefutably support fire sprinklers and urges the Board to leave well enough alone, stating that "we keep going down this path, trying to streamline processes and make it easier for residential developers to build houses. That shouldn't be our focus".

Presenting statistics on actual installation costs in the area (anonymously provided by four different vendors), Mr. Shoemaker states that the average cost is $1.14 per square foot (for properties on public water) and that the national average cost is $1.61 per square foot, as reported by NFPA's Fire Protection Research Foundation.  Proclaiming the life savings effects of residential sprinklers, Mr. Shoemaker continues, "according to the Maryland state fire marshal, during a 6 year period 04 – 09, there has never been a single fire death in the state of Maryland in a one- or two- family dwelling protected by a properly functioning residential sprinkler system."  

Citing a study of Prince George’s county where there has been a sprinkler ordinance for 15 years, Mr. Shoemaker states “of fires occurring in dwellings not protected by sprinklers: 101 fire deaths and 328 civilian injuries, and in contrast, of the 245 fires that occurred in residential dwellings that were protected by sprinklers: 0 fire deaths 6 civilian injuries.”

Use our resources to educate lawmakers in your community. Facts sheets and data are available on our website for use in making the case for the sprinklers.

- Karen Wallingford

Antifreeze solutions project wins Fire Protection Research Foundation medal

On behalf of his project team, Steven Wolin accepts the Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal from NFPA Chair Thomas Jaeger and the Foundation's Kathleen Almand.

The winning project of the 2011 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal was "Antifreeze Solutions in Home Fire Sprinkler Systems"The Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal recognizes a Foundation project completed in 2010 that best exemplifies the Foundation’s fire safety mission and the collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all Foundation projects. 

Download the final report on Antifreeze Solutions in Home Fire Sprinkler Systems

- Karen Wallingford

Jim Narva discusses next best steps once a sprinkler requirement is adopted
Jim Narva, executive director for the National Association of State Fire Marshals, says communities should never stop "selling" their sprinkler programs.

Making headlines recently are sprinkler opponents who challenge residential sprinkler ordinances already on the books in certain communities. See NFPA Journal’s recent article on sprinkler provisions nixed in Pennsylvania.

At the NFPA annual conference in Boston, one of the education sessions provided noteworthy guidance on keeping the momentum going once residential sprinkler provisions become law. “If you have a requirement in place and some of the [implementation and follow-through] isn’t being done and something goes wrong, every time there’s some sort of red flag, it gives opponents the chance to say, ‘We have to get rid of the sprinkler ordinance,’” said speaker Jim Narva, executive director for the National Association of State Fire Marshals.

Mr. Narva highlighted a new guidebook, available through the Residential Fire Safety Institute web site which addresses the permitting process; plan reviews and approval; inspection and testing procedures; and examples of successful implementations across the country.

The guidebook, “Bridging the Gap: A Guide to Implementing a Residential Sprinkler Requirement,” also drives the point home that communities should “never stop selling their sprinkler program,” especially after implementation, Mr. Narva said.

--Fred Durso, Jr.

June issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter
The June issue of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter features legislative progress that's been made throughout the country, and a new released by NFPA on the U.S. experience with fire sprinklers. The 92 page report includes statistics on how often sprinklers are reported in fires, by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire. Also featured is a compelling PSA released by Common Voices, a coalition of advocates dedicated to fire safety nationwide. The PSA features a woman who lost her son in a home fire, and compares the argument for sprinklers in homes to that of air bags in automobiles.

Sign up today - it's free, informative and will keep you up to date on anti-sprinkler legislation and the ways in which NFPA is challenging it, as well as other sprinkler related news.

- Karen Wallingford

NFPA Regional Director Maria Figueroa discusses sprinkler incentives
NFPA Regional Director Maria Figueroa presents findings of two Research Foundation studies regarding barriers and incentives to installing residential home sprinkler systems

During the education session entitled, “Barriers and Incentives Related to the Installation of Home Fire Sprinklers”, NFPA fire prevention regional director, Maria Figueroa presented the results of two Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) projects related to community-based barriers and incentives for the installation of home fire sprinklers. "We will continue to press and educate folks on the value of home sprinklers" says Ms. Figueroa.

The objective of the first study on the overall value and impact of home fire sprinkler incentives was to identify, characterize, and estimate the approximate value of sprinkler system incentives that are in place in various communities. A wide variety of incentives, such as builder credits, reduced property taxes, and the ability to use narrower roads, were identified in 16 communities and a financial value assigned to them.

The second study showed that home fire sprinklers offer environmental benefits and reduce water infrastructure demand by looking at a specific issue that has been a barrier to the installation of home fire sprinklers — the concerns from water utilities regarding water usage during a fire and associated performance of water meters. Water usage estimates in home fires were collected from selected fire departments and laboratory testing was conducted on water meter performance.

- Karen Wallingford

At NFPA's Conference & Expo in Boston, Maria Figueroa from NFPA and Peg Paul from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition discusss common myths and misconceptions about home fire sprinklers.


NFPA President Jim Shannon

At opening session at the 2011 NFPA Conference & Expo that kicked off on Sunday, NFPA President Jim Shannon shared insight into the advocacy campaign to require sprinklers in the construction of all new one- and two-family homes; requirements that are part of both NFPA and ICC codes. “The home builders lobby is doing everything it can to stop us and, as we all know, they have a lot of clout,” he said.

In more than 20 states, home builders have taken the extraordinary action of sponsoring legislation that would block the consideration of home sprinklers by the established code adoption process. “They have had some successes and some of them have been especially disappointing to us,” said Mr. Shannon. “Scottsdale, Arizona, was one of the first communities in America that adopted a mandatory residential sprinkler ordinance and it has been a model for many other communities. But the State of Arizona recently passed a law that will prevent other Arizona communities from following Scottsdale’s lead.”

But Mr. Shannon said it isn’t all bad news. “In January, California became the first state in America to require sprinklers as a standard safety feature for all newly constructed homes.,” he said. In addition, statewide provision for sprinklers have been adopted in Maryland and South Carolina, and the governors of both Montana and Minnesota have recently vetoed proposed anti-sprinkler legislation.

“NFPA will continue fighting these battles arm in arm with the fire service and it is clear that our message is starting to get through,” he said. “We will marshal all of the technical arguments, we will work with our allies, we will tell the stories of those affected by fire and we will persevere until we have achieved our goal of national acceptance of residential sprinklers.”

Read Mr. Shannon’s complete remarks from today’s General Session.

- Karen Wallingford

<span style="font-size: small; font-weight: normal;">The nonprofit&#0160;[Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) |],and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative have teamed up with the&#0160;[International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) |] to award a fire chief for their outstanding local efforts to increase the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems. The “Bringing Safety Home” award will recognize a fire chief who uses HFSC’s educational materials and NFPA’s&#0160; resources as a key part of a program to educate and ensure that decision-makers have information to upgrade or pass new residential fire sprinkler legislation at the local level.<br /><br /></span><span style="font-size: small; font-weight: normal;">The award will be presented by IAFC’s Fire and Life Safety Section at the 2011 Fire Rescue International in Atlanta.&#0160; Last year, Chief Timothy Solobay of Cannonsburg (PA) Volunteer Fire&#0160;Department was&#0160;[the first recipient of the “Bringing Safety Home” award |].  He was recognized for the role he played to educate decision-makers in his area and state. As a state representative, Chief Solbay’s efforts contributed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to adopt the 2009 International Residential Code requiring fire sprinkler systems in all townhomes and new one- and two-family homes.</span>


Download a nomination form.&#0160;Applications are due July 29.



!|border=0|src=|alt=Tim Solobay wins Bringing Safety Home Award|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px; border: 1px solid #000000;|title=Tim Solobay wins Bringing Safety Home Award|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef014e88febc74970d! Chief Timothy Solobay of the Cannonsburg (PA) Volunteer Fire Department, received the first “Bringing Safety Home” award in 2010. From left: Chief Joe Pierce, president of the IAFC Fire and Life Safety Section, NFPA’s Gary Keith, Chief Solobay, and HFSC’s Peg Paul.&#0160;


- Karen Wallingford </p>

Media coverage of a recent townhouse fire on Carlton Drive in New Hanover County, NC underscores the reduction of property damage by fire sprinklers.

Although home fire sprinkler systems are designed for life safety, reduced property damage is an added benefit.

Sprinkler head The story quotes Assistant Wilmington Fire Chief Frank Blackley; "A sprinkler system in an apartment fire Tuesday kept damages to $1,500, while the fire on Carlton Drive totaled at least $200,000." Property damage was reduced by 75% in the sprinkered residential occupancy. There is no other fire safety technology or program that produces as great a reduction in property loss per fire as fire sprinklers; reducing property loss by 71%.*

Fire sprinklers save lives and property and also protect the environment. Visit the research/reports and resources section of our website to obtain additional information and to assist advocacy efforts as jurisdictions consider the adoption of model codes requiring fire sprinkler in new home construction.


Maria Figueroa


 *US Experience with Sprinklers (Table 4-3, pg. 38)  

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of NFPA, is working on a project to assess the community impacts of fire flow water consumption in sprinklered and unsprinklered buildings. The objective is to evaluate the prevalence and structure of fire flow fees against the community impact/water usage at both types of properties. Download the project summary.

- Karen Wallingford NFPA has released a new 92-page report that analyzes fires in the United States that involve automatic fire sprinklers. The report, by NFPA’s John R. Hall, Jr., includes statistics on how often sprinklers are reported in fires, by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire.

If you follow NFPA, you know that we are advocates for the installation of home fire sprinklers (read more on our Fire Sprinkler Initiative website), and here’s why: fire sprinklers save lives. As outlined in our new sprinkler report, the fire death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was lower by 83% and property damage lower by 71% when wet pipe sprinklers were present versus when no automatic extinguishing equipment was present. Download your free copy of NFPA's sprinkler report.

Wisconsin fire inspector Guy Santelli and his wife are all too familiar with the tragic potential of fires in unsprinklered homes. For them, installing a sprinkler system in their new home was an easy choice: "we put fire sprinkler systems in our new home to protect our children. We want to protect our family the best we can." Watch Mr. Santelli explain his decision to install home fire sprinklers.


-Ben Evarts
NFPA Research Analyst

In a recent interview on radio talk show Life, love & health, home improvement television show host Ron Hazleton, proclaimed residential sprinklers as being “the only fire prevention technology that will actually put a fire out.” 

Ron Hazleton side-by-sideHome Improvement TV Show host Ron Hazelton, at a side-by-side sprinkler demonstration

As Hazelton puts it, sprinklers put out or contain a fire until the fire department gets there, and 90% of the time just one sprinkler head is activated. Debunking common myths, Hazelton went on to define sprinklers as being no more likely to malfunction than any other part of the plumbing in the home. Additionally, a sprinkler head puts out far, far less water than a fireman’s hose and are only activated by heat. According to Hazelton, codes are actually the distilled result many experiences, sadly often negative. As an advocate for the requirements for residential fire sprinklers, he encourages people to bring their stories of renovation to their community leaders so they too can advocate and use these success stories to persuade others to install fire sprinklers in their homes.

- Karen Wallingford

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