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One myth perpetuated by home fire sprinkler opponents is that water damage from the activation of a home fire sprinkler system is greater than fire damage. Information that follows will provide facts to refute this myth.

Home fire sprinklers designed and installed to NFPA 13D standard are intended to "prevent flashover (total involvement) in the room of origin and improve the chance for occupants to escape or be evacuated." Based on ten minutes of two sprinklers flowing the total water to put out the fire may be 260 gallons. When firefighters respond to find an uncontrolled fire they use approximately 250 gpm, or ten times more than a fire sprinkler, as an animation by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition clearly illustrates.

According to the Scottsdale Report, a fire sprinkler uses, on average, 341 gallons of water to control a fire. Firefighters, on average, use 2,935. A water usage study conducted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation reveals the amount of water used by responding fire services at home fires without sprinkler systems average 3,524 gallons per fire. Another study by FM Global on the environmental impact of automatic fire sprinklers found that these systems reduce water usage by upwards of 90%.


The FM Global study also found that automatic fire sprinklers reduce fire damage by up to 97% per fire. The US Experience with Sprinklers report, (NFPA 2012) reveals that the rate of property damage was lower by 69%.

As found by the studies cited here, water and fire damage is considerably less when sprinklers are present and activate to control a home fire. Most importantly, they save lives.

Visit our Research/Report section to view more studies, and a section to learn how to dispel other myths

As reported by State Gazette the Dyersburg Fire Department will perform a side-by-side burn demonstration in front of a live audience on Saturday, July 28.

A side-by-side burn demonstration is the most effective way to demonstrate the difference that a home fire sprinkler makes. On the unprotected side viewers can see the power of fire, experience flashover, and understand how little time occupants have to escape an unsprinklered home. The side protected by a single fire sprinkler underscores the efficacy of these systems that respond quickly to control and often extinguish the fire, preventing flashover, reducing the amount of toxic gases and smoke; providing occupants with the needed time to escape, and protecting responding fire crews.

If you would like to conduct a side-by-side burn demonstration visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to obtain a complete guide to building and using this tool to educate your community. the TN Fire Sprinkler Coalition web page to join in its efforts to increase the use of fire sprinkler systems in new home construction reported by San Ramon’s fire chief's home caught fire Tuesday morning while an electrician was working on a problem the chief had discovered the night before. The fire sprinkler piping running through the attic controlled the fire, reducing property damage. No one was hurt.

According to the fire marshal quoted in the article, the night before, Fire Chief Richard Price noticed the breaker tripped at his home and wouldn't reset. He called an electrician out to make repairs the following morning, and while the electrician was working, some electrical wiring started a fire in the attic. The fire burned a hole in a sprinkler pipe running through the attic, spraying water directly onto the flames.

Some people have expressed concern about a fire melting the plastic piping approved for used on these systems. This example may serve to allay this particular concern. The NFPA 13D system operated outside of its purpose; the sprinkler pipe burst and controlled the fire. The fire did not reach deadly conditions, protecting the occupants. The fire scene remained safe for the responding firefighters.

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Maryland State Fire Marshal Bill Barnard is the recipient of the 2012 Bringing Safety Home Award. Every year, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative®: Bringing Safety Home (FSI) jointly recognize the efforts of fire chiefs who use HFSC's educational materials and FSI resources to advocate for home fire sprinkler requirements in one- and two-family dwellings.

“As State Fire Marshal and a member of Maryland's Residential Sprinkler Initiative Committee, Bill spent countless hours educating key stakeholders and attending hearings. His efforts played a major role in passing legislation that requires the installation of home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes along with a law that eliminates the option to opt out of the requirement” says Gary Keith, Vice President of NFPA’s Field Operations and Chair of HFSC.

The award will be presented during the International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC) Fire-Rescue International (FRI) 2012 at the Fire and Life Safety Section meeting on August 2nd.

FSI newsletterThe July issue of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter looks at the fire safety problem with lightweight construction, and in particular, a tragedy that saddened an entire New York community, and reignited a debate about the fire safety of new homes built with lightweight construction materials. We also provide an update on 2012 sprinkler legislation, an effort to help dispel Hollywood movie myths about sprinklers, a new video that helps homeowners understand fire sprinklers and an effort in Illinois to require home fire sprinklers in all new homes. 

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.

RecessedAlarm PR reports on a two-pronged initiative in Illinois to require fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings, currently under way. The project is led by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) working with numerous fire service organizations and advocates. Tom Lia, Executive Director of NIFSAB explains that the emphasis is on assisting communities achieve individual adoptions through its residential building code, and State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis’ effort to adopt the 2012 edition of NFPA 101: Life Safety Code® statewide, which includes the requirement.

The latest community to adopt, as reported in an earlier post, is the Village of Gurnee, joins 77 other communities in IL that have adopted the requirement. NFPA was instrumental in assisting NIFSAB and field advocates make the case for the fire sprinkler requirement.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, NIFSAB is using Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition educational materials, and ready to use advocacy tools available here.

Contact Tom Lia  of Russ Sanders, NFPA Regional Director for additional information on the initiative under way in IL.

Maria Figueroa

Sprinkler activationKTSP Eyewitness News reports that when Brooklyn Park firefighters were called to a home kitchen fire at 3:15 a.m. Monday, they found that the fire was out. The firefighting had already been done for them by the home’s fire sprinkler system. Osseo firefighters also responded to the scene.

NFPA statistics reveal that cooking caused 44% of reported home fires, 16% of home fire deaths, 40% of home fire injuries, and 15% of the direct property damage in 2010. According KTSP the MN State Fire Marshal's Office reports that 49% of fires in 2010 were caused by cooking.

Without the presence of the fire sprinkler this early morning fire could have resulted in death or severe injuries to the occupants. According to NFPA, more than one of every three (36%) of fatal fire victims never wake up before being injured. The occupants of this home were able to evacuate safety and suffered no injuries.

Learn how to prevent kitchen fires

Maria Figueroa

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to provide education about home fire sprinklers to firefighters attending National Fire Academy (NFA) classes.

USFA is embarking on this project because "providing educational resources on residential fire sprinklers is one way to help reduce the loss of life and the economic impact of fire."

The project will improve firefighter understanding of life saving value of residential fire sprinklers, with hands on training and instructional videos on residential fire sprinklers, which will be located at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Visit HFSC to access free educational materials provided by this non-profit organization.

The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association of Illinois recently hosted an event that “created a forum for fire service leaders to bring fire and emergency service issues front and center with state and national legislators and staffers.” Over 100 leaders of the Illinois fire service converged upon Wheeling, Illinois, for Illinois Fire Service Home Day, an annual fire service event.

The event featured educational presentations that included a fire sprinkler trailer demonstration conducted by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). The demonstration illustrated the dramatic, fast-moving action of fire as well as the quick response of fire sprinklers to control and extinguish fires, preventing it from spreading and eliminating the intense heat and toxic smoke. Fire sprinklers provide additional time necessary for occupants to safely escape their homes. "It's important that our legislators are aware that fire sprinklers provide a proven solution to the residential fire problem and are backed by our State's fire service leaders," says NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia.

TomLiaLegislatorTom Lia (right), of NIFSAB, discusses fire sprinkler technology with IL Representative Sidney Mathias

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis discussed the Illinois fire service's effort to update the state's code with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (2012) which requires fire sprinklers in one- and two- family dwellings, nightclubs and other assemblies that have a higher occupant load level, as well as older highrise buildings. The update will ensure that Illinois' structures will be better protected from fires in the future, safeguarding the people of Illinois.

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