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Did you choose to live in a house with fire sprinklers? Share your story with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and you could win a Flip video camera. Entries cannot exceed 140 characters (letters and spaces). Tweet your story to HFSC on Twitter (@HFSCorg) or post it their Facebook page

Best story in 140 characters or less wins! Tell your friends. Entry deadline is August 15, 2011.

- Karen Wallingford

The water usage and water performance usage study conducted by NFPA's Fire Protection Research Foundation found that the amount of water used in fighting fires in homes without fire sprinkler systems can be many times higher than the amount discharged by a fire sprinkler system with a 10 minute operation.

In addition to saving lives and property, sprinklers have added environmental benefits, including water conservation and the potential to reduce water infrastructure demands in communities. There are also financial incentives provided to homeowners, developers and builders. 

With research-based facts such as these, the benefits of a fire sprinkler requirement are indisputable. 

 - Karen Wallingford

Alsip-1st-sprinkler-home1 The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) newsletter features the first fire sprinkler protected home in the Village of Alsip, IL. According to NIFSAB the Alsip Fire Department worked with village officials to pass a home fire sprinkler ordinance in October 2007, recognizing that fire sprinklers are "crucial life safety elements" for home occupants and firefighters.

This year, during the building process of the first home to be protected with fire sprinklers, fire officials and the NIFSAB held an open house attended by numerous organizations.

If you want to work to pass a home fire sprinkler ordinance in your community, visit our resources and research/reports sections for all the information you need to advocate for fire sprinkler systems in new one- and two-family homes.

Visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to obtain free educational materials targeting consumers, the fire service, builders and realtors, and public officials.

Click here to read the NIFSAB article

Maria Figueroa

A mid-morning fire that started in an attached garage immediately beneath a child's bedroom, was successfully contained by a sprinkler system as it began making its way into the one-family home. Firefighters in Buena Vista, California arrived within six minutes to extinguish flames that had been suppressed by the residential sprinklers.

More success stories are available on our web site that support the need for residential sprinkler requirements.

- Karen Wallingford

Side-by-side sprinkler demonstration A recent c fair in Newport (OR) was a great place to stage another side-by-side demonstration, NFPA northwest regional director Crosby Grindle joined Captain Jim Kusz from the Lincoln City and Depoe Bay fire districts to present the public with dramatic proof that residential sprinklers save lives and property. The burn drew the largest crowd at the fair and was the foundation for a video to later use in educational materials by local fire departments. 

Using two mock "rooms", one outfitted with sprinklers, and the other without, onlookers witnessed first-hand the life-saving effects that sprinklers can have when a fire strikes. As the inferno grew in the unsprinklered room, volunteer firefighters stood by to extinguish flames; flames that in a following example were contained and extinguished by a sprinkler system. Demonstrations such as these are powerful evidence that sprinkler systems can save lives and property. 

Order a side-by-side sprinkler kit to stage a sprinkler burn demonstration in your community, and use our advocacy resources to help spread the word on the value of a sprinkler mandate.

- Karen Wallingford

The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, together with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), will be awarding a fire chief for their outstanding local efforts to increase the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems. The “Bringing Safety Home” award recognizes a fire chief who uses resources from the HFSC and NFPA to educate their communities and ensure that decision-makers have information to pass or upgrade residential fire sprinkler legislation at the local level.

The deadline for submissions is July 29.  Last year, Chief Timothy Solobay of Cannonsburg (PA) Volunteer Fire Department was 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.

This year, the award will be presented by IAFC’s Fire and Life Safety Section at the 2011 Fire Rescue International in Atlanta.

Download a nomination form today!

- Karen Wallingford

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home® (FSI) is represented at the annual National Association of Counties' (NACo) 76th Annual Conference and Exposition being held at the Portland, Oregon Convention Center this week.

Naco booth2 NACo is the national organization representing county government. The conference "provides an opportunity for all county leaders and staff to learn, network and guide the direction of the association."  County officials who attend the conference "vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors."

Participants who stopped at the booth; staffed  by Maria Figueroa, Regional Director of Fire Prevention and Dennis Mathisen, Regional Fire Spinkler Specialist, received FSI brochures, the FSI Fact Sheet, and Myth v. Facts handout.

The "Faces of Fire" display attracted much attention and was the main draw for many participants who came by the booth. A commissioner from Lafayette County, NC commented that Princella Bridges' picture is what caught his attention and made him stop. He provided his contact information for follow up, indicating that he would like to obtain more information to pursue the requirement in his community.Facesbanner 
Reaching important policy makers is vital to advance home fire sprinkler requirements in one- and two-family homes and townhomes. Participation at this event is crucial and demonstrates NFPA's committment to reach out to essential stakeholders.

Maria Figueroa

Jim NFPA President Jim Shannon was a keynote speaker at the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) 2011 Annual Conference held last week at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, New Orleans, LA.

The NASFM conference “brings together leading fire safety officials with abundant networking opportunities to learn about the latest products and service innovations.” More than thirty states were represented at the conference.

President Shannon reiterated NFPA’s commitment to work arm in arm with the fire service emphasizing; "We will persevere until we achieve national acceptance of residential sprinklers."

The Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home is NFPA’s advocacy campaign to increase home fire sprinkler mandates. We can’t do it alone; take action to require home fire sprinklers in your community and sign up for our e-newsletter for up-to-date information.

Maria Figueroa

July issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter

The July issue of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter features NFPA President Jim Shannon's speech at the Conference & Expo responding to anti-sprinkler legislation and challenges facing supporters of sprinkler requirements.

Also featured is a video of  NFPA's Maria Figueroa and HFSC's Peg Paul, as they debunk common sprinkler myths during an enlightening interview. Additionally, the deadline for nomination submissions for the Bringing Safety Home award is July 29. The award recognizes a firefighter who uses HFSC and NFPA resources to education their communities and lawmakers on the value of having a sprinkler requirement. 

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

Firehouse In a recent article, NFPA's Maria Figueroa points out that adopting home fire sprinkler requirements has allowed the fire service to keep up with growth, and to continue to provide an appropriate level of service for a community.  Most importantly, the requirements reduce community risk, provide the fire service with added protection, and protect new housing stock for generations to come. 

In 2009, 81 percent of people who died in residential fires, did so in one- and two-family homes. Seventy-eight percent of all residential structural fireground firefighter deaths occurred in one- and two-family dwellings.

Sprinkler advocates across the country, including the fire service, asked for a coordinated effort to encourage the use of home fire sprinklers. NFPA launched that effort through the "Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home" two years ago.

All model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. These are minimum standards of safety to protect the people and the responding fire force in the event of fire in the home.

Opponents launched an aggressive campaign to keep the requirement out of the code. Their misleading arguments have been refuted by scientific research; but they have sometimes prevailed due to their political power and influence. To overcome this powerful opposition it is imperative that firefighters understand the importance of the requirement, embrace it, and assist in engaging and providing factual information to stakeholders.

Read the complete article and review the data to present your own case for a sprinkler mandate

- Karen Wallingford

Built for Life 001 With funding through State Farm Insurance, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is sponsoring a national program to install fire sprinklers in 15 new houses working with organizations that build homes for low-income families (such as Habitat for Humanity) or other high-risk individuals (such as Homes for Our Troops). Members of HFSC's Built For Life Fire Department (BFLFD) program can apply to the program, working with their local nonprofit homebuilding organizations that are willing to install residential fire sprinklers in one of their upcoming projects. 

Eligibility: Only fire departments that are members of HFSC's BFLFD program are invited to apply on behalf of their local nonprofit homebuilding organizations.

Event Implementation Requirements: Working with HFSC, BFLFDs must comply with the program requirements, including: 

To apply for this program, please complete the online application at:

Maria Figueroa

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) has released a report on its latest study -Performance of Protected Ceiling/Floor Assemblies and Impact on Tenability with A Basement Fire Scenario. In addition to testing the structural integrity of engineered wood assemblies under fire conditions, testing included smoke alarm performance, fire development, sequence of events, and tenability in relation to evacuation of occupants.Structural_stability_strip

The results of the NRC research project are considered critically important to dispel the perceived notion by numerous stakeholders that protection of engineered floor assemblies constitutes equivalency to fire sprinklers. of engineered floor assemblies is included in the 2012 IRC. This requirement in the model codes is in addition to the requirement of fire sprinkler installation of the entire dwelling. There are very good reasons for this; protection of engineered floor assemblies, while extending the time to structural instability and collapse under fire conditions, does nothing to prevent the fire from growing or to become deadly for occupants and responding fire crews; as supported by the NRC report.

The following common floor structural beam assemblies were exposed to full scale fire scenarios and protected on the basement side:

  • Engineered wood I-joist – ½ in. gypsum board, suspended ceiling, and 1 or 2 sprinklers
  • Steel C-joist – ½ in. gypsum board
  • Metal- web wood truss – ½ in. gypsum board and 1 sprinkler
  • Solid sawn wood joist – ½ in. gypsum board.

The testing facility consisted of a typical two-story detached single-family home with a basement. The fuel package consisted of a mock-up sofa with exposed polyurethane foam placed on a metal frame and wood cribs, to simulate a typical living room configuration.

NRC fire testing Thermocouple arrays were used to measure temperatures at different heights above the floor installed in numerous areas. Flame sensing devices and floor deflection devices (measured at 9 locations) were used on the first floor, and smoke and gas measurement devices were installed on the first and second floor. Gas sampling ports were included at the quarter point and the center of the second story corridor and connected to infrared Carbon Monoxide/Carbon Dioxide gas analyzers, Oxygen gas analyzers, and smoke density meters.

Although passive protection of solid-sawn wood joists, wood I-joists, steel c-joists, metal web trusses with gypsum board increased structural stability for longer time periods, the structures always failed and collapsed after a certain time during the experiments. The same applies to suspended ceilings. Most importantly, the structural failure of the test assembly occurred well after the untenable conditions were reached.

The test assemblies protected by residential fire sprinklers retained their structural integrity and did not collapse. Conditions that would cause incapacitation did not exist, or were quickly reversed by sprinkler activation. Tenable conditions remained throughout the structure.

Based on the results of this study, passive protection of engineered wood assemblies by gypsum and suspended ceilings will do little to increase life safety in the event of fire in the home, especially for susceptible (high risk) persons. These high risk groups; young children, adults older than 65 and disabled persons are disproportionately incapacitated earlier in fire events by untenable conditions reached when the structures are not protected by fire sprinklers.

Maria Figueroa

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