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TNCoalitionlogoThe Tennessee Fire Sprinkler Coalition, coordinated by the Tennessee Fire Service Coalition, with http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef016301ccb6f0970d-pisupport from NFPA, placed ads in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis major newspapers today, targeting anti-sprinkler bills HB2639 and SB2492. Both bills prohibit local jurisdictions from adopting home fire sprinkler requirements, taking away the right of communities to make their own decisions to reduce risk from fire. The House Commerce Subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow.

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As pointed out in the ad (pictured above), anti-sprinkler legislation was filed in 2009. The legislature, with support from the fire service as an equitable compromise, decided that communities should retain the right to adopt sprinkler requirements in one- and two-family home construction.

Back in October, 2011 the TN Home Builders Association (TN HBA) elected a new president, Keith Grant, who stated that his main legislative priority was to pursue statewide prohibition against home fire sprinklers; saying that “sprinklers have not been proven to save lives.” In response to that statement, made during an interview for a feature appearing in the Memphis Daily News, NFPA President Jim Shannon wrote a letter to Mr. Grant, the TN HBA and the newspaper; setting the record straight.

Let this be a lesson to all who expect that "compromises" worked out with opponents of home fire sprinkler requirements are not honored; the opposition will not stop until it achieves prohibition across the board using the legislature, outside of the recognized code adoption process. NFPA will continue to support efforts by the fire service to push back against such actions.

A “call to action” has been issued to the fire service in TN. Stay alert and informed by visiting the TN Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition website. Take action now!

Maria Figueroa.

GavelColorado’s Senate Bill 12-081, a prohibition on local governments requiring the installation of fire sprinklers in new single family construction was voted down by the Senate Committee on Local Government. In Illinois, legislation introduced yesterday, House Bill 5847, would prohibit the requirement in all new single family dwellings and requires “mandatory option” of the systems.

The Colorado bill, introduced on January 19th and sponsored by Senator Kevin Grantham of District 2 failed to garner any support in the House. It was heard in committee on February 14th and defeated by a 3-2 vote. This represents a great victory for life safety advocates in Colorado who have worked for at least three years in a task force representing major stakeholders to facilitate the requirement in the state.

Illinois' House Bill 5847 sponsored by Representative Michael Unis of the 91st District, prohibits local jurisdictions from requiring installation of automatic fire sprinklers in single family dwellings. The bill replaced the requirement with a mandate requiring builders to offer the systems as an option, also known as “mandatory option.” If passed, fire sprinklers would be presented to home buyers as an amenity, like granite counter tops and upgraded flooring; all of which cost more than multipurpose fire sprinkler systems. http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0163018fd878970d-pi

Mandatory option is likhttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0168e786f210970c-pie “asking the fox to watch the hen house,” in view of the fact that home builders represent the biggest opponent against this minimum model code requirement in all new home construction. There is empirical evidence to suggest that objective education of consumers will not be performed, coupled with the fact that only the first buyer of a custom built home will be able to make a choice for subsequent buyers over the next 50-100 years – the number of years that major home components last - according to a study by the National Association of Home Builders. The decisions made today impact many generations of home buyers.

Visit the Legislation/Adoptions section of our website often, to stay updated on the status of anti-sprinkler legislation and other information concerning home fire sprinklers. Also, read our blog on an ongoing basis if you wish to stay informed on all aspects of this issue.

Maria Figueroa

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has reached out to fire departments encouraging them to use the free educational materials that will help them educate the community on the importance of home fire sprinklers.


 

An impact video was e-blasted to 80,000 members of the fire service through FireHouse.com and provides information on how to obtain the free educational materials and other tips for reaching out to the policy makers in the community. The first 100 responders to a short survey included in the e-blast will receive a free HFSC thermos.


The fire service plays an extremely important role influencing the policy makers and the community on the need for fire sprinklers in the home and the life safety benefit these systems provide. Watch the video and arm yourself with the tools you need to bring this vital message to your community.


 

!http://homefiresprinkler.org/Sprinkler_Answers/ScreenGrabFS4.jpg|border=0|src=http://homefiresprinkler.org/Sprinkler_Answers/ScreenGrabFS4.jpg|alt=BFLFD|width=600|style=WIDTH: 482px; HEIGHT: 258px|id=_x0000_i1025|height=317!</span></p>

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<h5 align="center" style="MARGIN: auto 0in; TEXT-ALIGN: center"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: #cc9933; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;; mso-fareast-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;">The Resources You Need To Reach Critical Audiences— <br />At No Cost<o:p></o:p></span></h5>

<p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 8.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;">Builders, consumers, local officials, water purveyors and many others are all critical to getting fire sprinklers in new home construction. The HFSC BUILT FOR LIFE™ Fire Department program provides free, turnkey educational tools that help educate all your key audiences. These noncommercial materials create awareness about fire safety and home fire sprinklers.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 8.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;">Departments that choose to become BUILT FOR LIFE™ Fire Departments receive free resources, educational support and national recognition. It’s easy to join the more than 1700 departments that are leading the way to safer communities.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<h5 align="center" style="MARGIN: auto 0in; TEXT-ALIGN: center"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; COLOR: #cc9933; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;; mso-fareast-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;">Watch a Short PresentationWe’ve prepared this short presentation to introduce you to this valuable program and show you some of the free resources available to you. Click here to watch. You can also: read our newsletter, visit our blog and sign up to become a BUILT FOR LIFE™ Fire Department.Share Your Views and Win an HFSC ThermosThe first 100 respondents&#0160;who complete a short survey will receive a free HFSC Thermos.!http://www.homefiresprinkler.org/images/Thermos.jpg|border=0|src=http://www.homefiresprinkler.org/images/Thermos.jpg|name=|width=74|id=_x0000_i1025|height=95!<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 8.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;">The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is the leading resource for independent, noncommercial information about residential fire sprinklers.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 7.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Verdana&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;">!http://homefiresprinkler.org/images/HFSC-Logo-RGB.jpg|border=0|src=http://homefiresprinkler.org/images/HFSC-Logo-RGB.jpg|alt=HFSC Logo|width=207|id=_x0000_i1026|height=59!<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p><br />[Maria Figueroa | mailto:mfigueroa@nfpa.org] </p>

On February 7th, America Now featured a story about a new video, released by The Co-Operators and Guelph Emergency Services, which highlights the life safety and property protection benefits of home fire sprinklers.

The video starts by citing loss of life in fire statistics in Canada, and other fire death risk factors from NFPA statistics. It also includes a side-by-side burn demonstration, narrated by Sean Tracey, NFPA Canada Regional Director. The video concludes by providing reduction of property damage statistics.

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian cooperative offering home and other insurance coverage. It is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability; ranked #1 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada. "As an insurance company, we see first-hand the tragic consequences of house fires, and we know what a difference fire sprinklers can make," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "If sprinkler systems were installed in every newly built home, Canadians and their property would be much better protected." The company provides insurance discounts for homes equipped with fire sprinklers, and supports making the installation mandatory in all new residential homes built in Canada.

Guelph Emergency Services located in the Province of Ontario, Canada, is actively involved in advocating for the requirement of fire sprinkler in all new home construction.

 

It is very encouraging to see an insurance group in Canada team up with the fire service to advocate for home fire sprinklers. Insurance companies are major stakeholders. In the U.S,. State Farm Insurance actively participates as a home fire sprinkler advocacy partner and also provides discounts when insuring a home equipped with sprinklers. Make sure to inquire about discounts from insurers in your community.

Maria Figueroa

Murray is a Canadian homebuilder who became a home fire sprinkler advocate. He was recently featured on our blog and is a Faces of Fire campaign participant.

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is present at IBS every year. This year Murray was asked to be a special guest at the HFSC booth. Having him there gives show attendees, majority homebuilders, who stop by the booth the opportunity for a peer to peer exchange about home fire sprinklers.  

MurrayJeffhalfMurray Pound and Jeff Feid from State Farm Insurance at the HFSC booth during IBS

Murray was recently interviewed by NFPA Journal® about his perspective on home fire sprinklers. He shared what motivated him to become a home fire sprinkler advocate, and to equip all new homes that he builds with fire sprinkler systems. 

Read more…

Maria Figueroa

HandsprinklerFire sprinklers are credited with saving lives and property in three separate fires that broke out in Prince Georges County over the weekend.http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef016300ef9bbb970d-pi

As reported by FOX 5 News, the first fire occurred in the Spellman House, an apartment building housing mostly older, disabled residents. The fire alarm in the building malfunctioned and failed to provide early warning of the fire. The fire sprinkler activated in the unit where the fire started; controlling the fire, contributing to the safe evacuation of occupants of the surrounding units. 

Fire poses a higher risk of death to young childrenolder adults and people wih disabilities. In this incident, as in many others involving high risk groups, fire sprinklers can make a difference between life and death, or major injury. As reported, the sprinkler system proved critical in saving lives during this fire.

The second fire started in the kitchen of a single family home and was quickly extinguished by a single sprinkler, limiting damage to $2,500. Systems built to NFPA 13D standards are life safety systems, with the added benefit of property protection. The third fire occurred in a commercial property, where property damage was also limited.

Prince Georges County, MD has required sprinklers in all new construction, including one- and two-family homes for many years. A report documenting 15 years of this communities' experience, and the difference fire sprinkler mandates have made, is available on this site. Prince Georges' County Fire and EMS Spokesman Mark Brady is quoted: “Since 1992, we have not had a fire fatality in any residential sprinklered home.”

Read more…

Maria Figueroa



FOX 9 News in Minneapolis/St. Paul recently featured an investigative report on the danger of lightweight construction when exposed to fire; including a fire test that demonstrates how quickly this type of construction burns and collapses, highlighting the danger this poses for firefighters and the need for fire sprinklers in modern homes.

The investigative report, conducted with the assistance of various Minneapolis/St. Paul area fire departments, provides evidence of the dangers posed by lightweight construction when exposed to fire. As found on page 64 of a report by engineered wood product trade groups, trusses are the major wood components used today; enjoying 62% of roof, and 17% of floor, market share in new residential construction.

FOX 9 Investigators set up a test burn with the help of the St. Paul Fire Department. The test was set up to mimic Underwriter Laboratories (UL) research that tested the structural stability of engineered lumber. In the UL test, catastrophic collapse of the floor structure occurred in six minutes. In the FOX 9 test, collapse occurred in four minutes.

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef016300aa3598970d-pihttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0168e6a13006970c-piULfallingthrough

Kudos to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area fire service for shining the light on this danger found in a great number of modern homes, and getting the attention of the news media. Great way to increase public awereness of the issue.

Read more...

Maria Figueroa

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