In a recent Firehouse.com 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.