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2012

According to an article in The Columbian a fire that started in the garage was quickly doused by the home’s fire sprinkler system, limiting damage. Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy of Clark County Fire and Rescue stated that the damage would have been much worse without the fire sprinklers. No one was home at the time of the incident.

FireClarkCountyWAThe house, built in 2005, is fairly new. Clark County adopted the home fire sprinkler requirement in 2004; with the inclusion of fire sprinklers in attached garages. As reported, Chief Dawdy said homeowner, Sherri Willette, did not want a sprinkler system put in the home when it was built. Now, Dawdy said; “She says she wouldn’t build a house without them.” What a difference a fire makes…

 

Read the entire article

Maria Figueroa

According to an article in The Columbian the fire that started in the garage was quickly doused by the home’s fire sprinkler system, limiting damage. Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy of Clark County Fire and Rescue stated that the damage would have been much worse without the fire sprinklers. No one was home at the time of the incident.

The house, built in 2005, is fairly new. Clark County adopted the home fire sprinkler requirement in 2004; include fire sprinklers in attached garages. As reported, Chief Dawdy said homeowner, Sherri Willette, did not want a sprinkler system put in the home when it was built. Now, Dawdy said; “She says she wouldn’t build a house without them.” What a difference a fire makes…

Read the entire article

Maria Figueroa

 

The city of Kenai, Alaska, recently passed an ordinance that provides a homeowner tax credit for the installation of residential sprinkler systems. Homeowner who install a sprinkler system will receive a tax credit up to the total cost of the installation of the system, or two dollars per square foot for the size of their home, not including their garage.

Terry Bookey, a member of the Kenai City Council and a former Kenai firefighter, spoke at NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, and said that he's seen the ruin caused by home fires -- the lives lost and the property destroyed. "And I know devastation would be reduced if residential sprinkler systems were more widespread," he said. "So not only do residential sprinklers protect lives and property, they also provide an increased level of protection for myself and my fellow firefighters when we respond to home fires."

Read more about the tax credit program that's been initiated in Kenai, Alaska.

- Mike Hazell

The fact that the environmental impact of home fire sprinklers is now being showcased at Green Builder® Media's VISION House® exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, is all part of a new three-year partnership. Lorraine Carli, NFPA's Vice President of Communications, says NFPA was approached by Green Builder Media to exhibit in the VISION House.

 

"We thought this was an incredible opportunity for us to tell another side of the very positive sprinkler story," she says. "NFPA, in conjunction with educational messaging from the non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, is really excited to have the opportunity to tell millions of visitors to Epcot each year about the green benefits of home fire sprinklers."

 

Mike Hazell Peg Paul Gary Keith
Mike Hazell of NFPA, Peg Paul, representing the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and Gary Keith of NFPA, await the official launch of the VISION House exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot.

Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterThe new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, features Chief Brian Black, who tells a compelling story about a fire that destroyed his home. We also look back at last month's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, where NFPA President Jim Shannon said that NFPA is in the fight for sprinkler for the "long haul", and where Canadian homebuilder Murray Pound said that installing home fire sprinklers is part of being a responsible builder.

Subscribe today to automatically receive our monthly Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. It's free, informative, and will keep you up to date on anti-sprinkler legislation, our advocacy efforts, and other sprinkler-related news.

Guests at the new VISION House® exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® are learning that there are lots of ways to be "green". The new exhibit, presented by Green Builder® Media, officially opened to the public on Sunday, April 22 (Earth Day), and was designed to inspire homeowners with solutions for contemporary green living.

As guests were led on guided tours of the VISION House, they learned about the major themes of green building, including energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, as well as the positive environmental impact of home fire sprinklers, which have been proven to reduce greenhouse gases released by burning buildings by 98 percent.

Ron Jones, President of Green Builder Media, considered to be one of the fathers of the green building movement, spoke to NFPA during the VISION House launch event. He said that for as long as he's been in the industry, he's thought of fire as both a safety and environmental issue. 

 

As a partner for this innovative exhibit, NFPA provided messaging from the non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, to educate Epcot visitors about home fire sprinklers.

VisionHouseentrance

As reported on KAPPTV.com, the Yakama Nation Housing Authority is building a $27 million development and part of that money will pay for fire sprinkler systems in all new homes.

Located in Toppenish, Washington the Yakama Indian Reservation covers 1,573 square miles in the south-central Washington counties of Klickitat and Yakima. The Yakama Indian Reservation has 8,870 members.

The Yakama Housing Authority hopes the investment now will save lives and property for years to come. The article quotes James Berg, of the housing authority: “The cost of that new technology is such, its attainable, that it makes a great deal of sense." Speaking about the project, firefighter Andy Babcock adds: "Its protecting your most vulnerable people, people that are elderly, people under 10."

WA_FSIThe State of Washington allows local jurisdictions to adopt home fire sprinkler requirements. The life safety community is very active, and united under the umbrella of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition. The coalition is a group dedicated to promoting home fire sprinklers. This voluntary coalition is a resource for information about home fire sprinklers in the State of Washington.

To learn more visit the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition website. For more information about fire sprinkler systems in Washington State contact NFPA Fire Sprinkler Specialist Jeffrey Hudson.

Maria Figueroa

Today is Earth Day and more than 1 billion people around the world are expected to take action at some level to help protect the health and well-being of our planet.

And in celebration of Earth Day, the new Green Builder® Media’s VISION House® exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort will officially open to the public. This innovative exhibit will present green living ideas in a fun and informative manner that will empower guests with the knowledge that a sustainable future is possible.

NFPA has partnered with Green Builder® Media, North America’s leading media company focused on sustainable living, to showcase home fire sprinklers as an important addition to the home.

In a study conducted by FM Global, one of the world’s largest business property insurers, and the non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, researchers set out to determine the impact that fire has on creating pollution, on water usage, and landfills.

Dr. Louis Gritzo, Vice President and Manager of Research at FM Global, says that home fire sprinklers have an even more pronounced benefit to the environment than researchers had expected. 

Download "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers" study from the FM Global web site.

It’s a fact that home fire sprinklers prevent property loss and save lives. But with the news that the environmental impact of home fire sprinklers is included at the new Green Builder® Media’s VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, it's a good time to review exactly how sprinklers are good for Mother Earth.

In the fall of 2009, FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition undertook a revolutionary study to better understand the environmental impact of home fires.

Specifically, the study set out to look at total greenhouse gas production during a fire, the quantity of water required to extinguish the fire, the quality of water runoff, the potential impact of wastewater runoff on groundwater and surface water, and the mass of materials requiring disposal.

At the FM Global Research Center in West Glocester, RI, two living rooms, each furnished with a flat-screen television, comfortable furniture, and bookshelves and family photos, were purposely set on fire. The two rooms were nearly identical. The only difference was that one room was outfitted with a quick-response sprinkler. 

During the test, firefighters ignited a blaze in a magazine rack near the corner of each room. Forty-four seconds after ignition, the single sprinkler head in the protected living room activated and began to fight the fire, while fire raged in the unprotected room.

 

fire sprinkler impact on the environment
The fire in the first living room, protected by a quick-response sprinkler, was called "all-out" shortly after the arrival of the hose crew.
fire sprinkler impact on the environment
In the second living room, not protected by a sprinkler, flames can be seen in the window near the source of ignition.
fire sprinkler impact on the environment
In the non-sprinklered living room, flashover (when all combustibles in the room ignite) occurred at approximately five minutes after ignition.

See more dramatic photos of the fire test in progress

According to the final FM Global report on this study: “In the sprinklered room, flashover never occurred; however, in the non-sprinklered test, flashover occurred at approximately five minutes after ignition. The occurrence of flashover prior to fire service intervention is an indication that the fire would have propagated to adjacent rooms, resulting in greater production of greenhouse gases, greater water demand to extinguish the fire, and additional materials to be disposed of in landfills.”

 The study also determined that:

  • greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98% when automatic fire sprinklers are installed.
  • automatic fire sprinklers reduce fire damage by up to 97%.
  • automatic fire sprinklers reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90%.
  • automatic fire sprinklers reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment.

Download "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers" study from the FM Global web site.

Partnership to show environmental benefit of home fire sprinklers

VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®NFPA has partnered with Green Builder® Media, North America’s leading media company focused on sustainable living to participate in the VISION House® located in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort. The innovative exhibit is set to present green living ideas in a fun and informative manner that will empower guests with the knowledge that a sustainable future is possible.

NFPA will showcase home fire sprinklers as an important addition to the home.

“Through this partnership with Green Builder® Media, we hope to educate visitors on the key environmental benefits of sprinklers,” said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. According to findings of a groundbreaking study, greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98 percent when automatic fire sprinklers are installed. The study, conducted for the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also found that automatic sprinklers:

  • Reduce fire damage up to 97 percent
  • Reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90 percent
  • Reduce the amount of water pollution released in the environment

The VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS is inspired by Green Builder Media’s VISION House demonstration home series and will open Earth Day, April 22. Guests visiting the house will explore the major themes of green building, including whole-home automation, energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, indoor environment quality and high-performance materials and durability.

 A story by WCIV News 4 Charleston describes Charles Stewart's one man mission for residential fire sprinklers. Mr. Stewart is the owner of Phoenix Distributing, a plumbing contracting company that installs potable water home fire sprinklers systems. As reported, his direction is derived by his family. Stewart's father was a fire chief and his son is a firefighter for St. Andrews Fire Department.

The South Carolina Building Code Council adopted the 2009 IRC with the home fire sprinkler provision and an implementation date of January 1, 2011. Later, legislation was passed that delayed the enforcement of the requirement until January 1, 2014. The requirement has come under attack by the home building industry.

SC_FSI LogoMr. Stewart is to be admired for his tenacity but he is not alone in his quest. The entire life safety community and advocates in SC have united under one umbrella, the SC Fire Sprinkler Coalition, to ensure that the requirement stays in the code and to fight any anti-sprinkler legislation. The coalition has defined goals and strategy to ensure a smooth transition as SC gets ready for 2014. The coalition model has been used extensively to tackle community risk reduction. A collective effort that brings all stakeholders to the table is the best way to tackle the issue.

Visit the SC Fire Sprinkler Coalition to learn more about home fire sprinklers in SC.

Maria Figueroa

Murray Pound is vice president of Operations for Gold Seal Homes in Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1989, his company has built the majority of the residences in the town of Carstairs (population 3,500). He relishes that accomplishment, but he’s more pleased that every home that his company has built since the summer of 2008 is safeguarded by residential fire sprinklers. Read "The Crusader", an NFPA Journal® feature about Mr. Pound.

“I think builders face a lot of obstacles today in that some of the information they are given regarding residential fire sprinklers isn’t completely accurate” says Mr. Pound. “They start to realize sprinklers are not as costly as they thought, and are not as hard to install as they thought, and people do actually want them when asked.”

During NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, Mr. Pound talked about his journey to becoming an advocate for home fire sprinklers.

"I knew about sprinklers for years," he said. "I had talked with my local fire chief, local building officials, and the chief from another town. My father and I are business partners, so I called him up and said, 'Hey dad, what do you think about fire sprinklers?' He started hitting me with a barrage of myths, the same myths that he'd been fed by my industry - they're too expensive, they they take too much time, customers don't want them, they don't work, they'll freeze - all the arguments you've heard before. But you know what? That was my dad, and you believe what your dad says, so we went on building houses without sprinklers."

In this video, Mr. Pound describes an event that changed his mind about home fire sprinklers.

 

A kitchen fire in an apartment in Parker, CO, was extinguished by a fire sprinkler system, saving the life of the occupant who had slept through the smoke alarm.

ParkerAptKitchen

As reported by http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0168e749c08c970c-pihttp://www.southmetro.org/South Metro Fire Rescue Authority, firefighters responded to the Stone Canyon apartments at 6:26 a.m. on February 10th, to find that a single fire sprinkler had activated in the kitchen. The fire was completely out when they arrived, and the occupant and a cat were rescued from the smoky apartment. The victim was transported non-emergent to the hospital for evaluation. South Metro Fire Rescue Authority spokesperson Andy Lyon stated: “Given that the resident slept through the smoke alarm, the sprinkler made a life or death difference in this fire.”

Smoke alarms are effective in providing early warning and they need to be maintained in all homes. The smoke alarm sounded as it should when this fire started. However, other factors may affect a person’s ability to escape. Fire poses a higher risk of death to young childrenolder adults and people wih disabilities.

Consider this:

Fire sprinklers will control or extinguish the fire; providing occupants with additional time to escape, or to be rescued by firefighters, before the fire becomes deadly.

Fire Sprinklers Save Lives!

Read more…

Maria Figueroa

Jeff LaFlam

Jeff LaFlam, Fire Marshal for the Northshore (WA) Fire Department, spoke about the process of adopting a residential fire sprinkler ordinance, as was accomplished in Kenmore, WA. Speaking at NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago earlier this week, Jeff outlined the 5 steps he says are essential for success, including education of key stakeholders and the public as well as buy-in from fire service leaders. Read Jeff's case study on the adoption process in Kenmore.

- Mike Hazell

With the passage of HB366, sponsored by Delegate James Malone, MD legislators have taken the lead prohibiting a local jurisdiction, with a specified exception, from adopting local amendments to the Maryland Building Performance Standards if the local amendments weaken specified automatic fire and sprinkler systems provisions contained in the Standards. The bill previously cleared the House and moved to the Senate. By a vote of 34-10 in the Senate, the bill carried the day in this chamber and now moves to the governor for his signature. All indications are that he will sign the bill and it will become law.

The fire service and other home fire sprinkler advocates are celebrating this victory; one that they worked very hard for according to Chief Jeffrey Thompson, President of the MD Fire Chiefs Association.  In an e-mail announcing the passage of the bill, he added; “It is truly rewarding to finally see this come together. Many of us had said it was just a matter of when this was going to be accomplished and that day has come.”

This action by the State of MD is in stark contrast to what has occurred in other states, where home fire sprinkler opponents have pushed legislation to prohibit statewide adoption of the requirement. Sprinkler opponents’ arguments have not gone far in MD, a state with a long history of fire sprinkler requirements at the community level. Before the state adopted the 2009 IRC, including the requirement, 31 communities had previously adopted it by ordinance. In fact, a study comparing the housing cost and supply impacts of sprinkler ordinances, between counties in MD and VA, revealed there is absolutely no impact; and in one of the counties studied with a fire sprinkler requirement in place, there was an increase in building permits, compared to the neighboring county without the requirement. 

Tim Travers, NFPA Fire Sprinkler Specialist for the Mid-Atlantic region congratulated the MD advocates adding: “I wish we could replicate your good work across the country!”

Learn more about home fire sprinkler adoption/legislation.

Maria Figueroa

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, who is marking his 34th year in the fire service, provided an overview of the home fire sprinkler fight in the Commonwealth.

He said that with the adoption of the International Residential Code (IRC), which establishes minimum regulations for one- and two-family dwellings and includes sprinkler requirements, “we all thought that the battle for sprinklers was won”. However, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) promulgated the code and omitted the provision to require home fire sprinklers.

A statewide coalition, coordinated by NFPA and with representation by every major fire service organization in the state, worked for months, protesting the amended building code. But despite a state-wide effort, including rallies, side-by-side sprinkler demonstrations, and an advertising campaign, the BBRS rejected the stretch code proposal in February 2012.

“It’s ironic that the Massachusetts building code has been enhanced to cover earthquake, hurricane, and energy issues, but not fire safety,” said Marshal Coan, pointing to a recent wind-whipped fire that destroyed four homes in the oceanfront community of Scituate. “It is quite clear that the real and present danger here is fire, not hurricanes or earthquakes, yet our building officials will not move to protect one -and two-family homes,” he said.

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan

Marshal Coan said that the state has had limited success in requiring residential sprinklers through special permits by local zoning boards. He referenced a December 2011 fire in Lunenburg, MA in a condo protected by sprinklers installed through that special permit process. The fire, which involved a live Christmas tree, was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system, resulting in no injuries and so little damage that the family living in the unit was not displaced.

What are the next steps for Massachusetts? Fire Marshal Coan said advocates need to develop consistent, strong messaging that connect with the public, lawmakers, and code officials. “We also need to reshape the attitudes and beliefs that many home builders have about sprinklers,” he said, adding that it’s essential that advocates actively rebut the misperceptions that have been created by sprinkler opponents.

Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Communications, said, “We may have lost the battle in Massachusetts, but raising the visibility of fire issue in the state was a huge step forward for us, and we will continue to work with fire officials in the state to make home fire sprinklers a reality.”

Chief Bruce Kline of the Lady's Island Saint Helena's Fire District spoke at today's home fire sprinkler summit about the status of requirements for home sprinklers in South Carolina. The South Carolina Building Code Council had adopted the 2009 IRC with an effective date of January 1, 2011, but that requirement was subsequently delayed until 2014 by legislative action. Chief Kline says that in hindsight, the delay was beneficial to his state's sprinkler efforts. 

 

Tonya Hoover

State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover talked about the home fire sprinkler issue in California during NFPA's home fire sprinkler summit in Chicaog. The California Building Standards Commission adopted the 2009 International Residential Code, including its requirements for automatic fire sprinkler systems in new one- and two- family dwellings. The legislation became effective on January 1, 2011.

In her presentation at NFPA's home fire sprinkler summit today in Chicago, Chief Hoover stressed the importance of inclusion of all stakeholders in the sprinkler requirement process.

 

Her advice for other states and communities working for fire sprinkler requirements? “Don't give up! There will always be bumps in the road, but remember that they are just a test of your endurance," she said.

Princella Lee Bridges

Princella Lee Bridges of Greenville, South Carolina, is a  former operating room nurse and Desert Storm war veteran who was burned on 49% of her body in a home fire in 1992. 

Because of the severity of her burns, Princella spent two-and-a-half months in a medically-induced coma and underwent numerous painful and time-consuming surgeries. She wondered whether the ongoing process was worth it as she saw the toll it began to take on every aspect of her life. But through it all, Princella remained determined to ensure what happened to her didn't happen to other people.

"America, we’ve got to wake up," said Princella at today's home fire sprinkler summit in Chicago. "My quest is to make it very clear that what I’ve had to go through as a burn survivor does not happen to the people and the little children that continue to get burned in home fires today. I’m also speaking for the voices you can’t hear, those who have lost their lives in home fires. They can’t speak any more. I have to speak for them because I got a second chance. It’s no longer about me; it’s about doing the right thing."

Princella Lee Bridges
Princella has become an advocate for burn survivors through Bridges from Augusta Inc., a nonprofit organization she founded to help individuals and families who have suffered burn injuries and trauma as they transition back into the community. She is also an outspoken supporter for home fire sprinklers. 

"When I learned how long sprinklers have been available, it made me mad," she said. "This is 2012 and there is no reason we need to continue building substandard homes. To build new homes without sprinklers and to allow someone to live there is unethical. We didn't do all we could do make it safe." 

Standing ovation

Princella receives a standing ovation from summit attendees.

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