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!|src=|alt=Gty_house_fire_ll_120522_wg|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Gty_house_fire_ll_120522_wg|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d3f341b72970c!In 2005-2009 about seven out of ten firefighters injured at the scene of a residential structure fire were battling one- and two-family home fires at the time, according to the NFPA report Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries (Jan. 2012)

There was an estimated annual average of 38,660 firefighter fireground injuries in the U.S. Of these, an average of 27,920 were minor, and 10,740 were moderate or severe. An estimated annual average of 5,440 injuries, or 51% of all moderate or severe injuries, occurred at structure fires during activities related to extinguishing a fire.

Residential fires accounted for about eight out of ten firefighter fireground injuries in structures.. This was in large part due to the large portion, 400,500 or 78%, of all structure fires that are residential fires. Within residential properties, the rate of firefighter injuries per 100 fires was 7.2 for one-and two-family homes, and 6.3 for apartments.

Fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-fmaily homes, not only protect home occupants, but protect firefighters. This report should serve as a "call to arms" to the fire service to increase activities highlighting the firefighter injury  problem in the home fire sprinkler debate.

SprinklerCommunity fire safety advocates often hear people say: 'It will never happen to me" This can be frustrating and discouraging, but there are proven methods to reach people and impact their perception of fire risk.

A UK study, "Understanding People's Attitudes About Fire Risk" sought the attitudes of groups vulnerable to fire risk and the impact that community safety advocates can have on these attitudes. The key lies in getting the message out there and repeat it with sufficient frequency to maintain awareness to the problem.

According to the research, "the perception of fire risk is influenced by the extent to which fire is cited in the media." A high level of media coverage may influence the perception of risk for people who have not experienced a fire.

Media coverage of real events may make it easier for people to imaginge what can happen and increases their perceived likelihood that it will happen to them. News of fatal fires increase emotional responses resulting in increased perception that it does impose a risk of death.

Tto educate the community and impact the perception of fire risk:

• Real life stories need to be publicized

• Media coverage aimed at raising awareness of risk needs to be repeated often

• Messages need to empower people to take action

If we are to influence the community to understand the need for residential fire sprinklers we need to increase media actitvities that elevate the perception of fire risk and the ability of fire sprinklers to save lives,  protect property and reduce the cost of injuries. We need to continously publicize home fires that ocurr in the community throughout the year. Stories of sucessful sprinkler activations contributing to the saving of lives and property need to be featured. The lack of a fire sprinklers system that could have made a difference needs to be included in media releases.

According to the research, fire safety advocates also need to identify key partners to work with in different sections of the community. These partners can assist in creating awareness and influencing policy makers to the need of residential fire sprinkler systems.

So it remains with us safety advocates to make sure that the perception of risk is understood by people so that they will demand fire sprinkler systems in their homes. 

Some home fire sprinkler opponents think sprinklers should be a consumer choice. But NFPA President Jim Shannon says proven, life safety technology should be required. All model codes now require fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes.

“Proven life-saving technology like seatbelts and airbags should be mandatory. When consumers choose not to put in sprinklers when building a home, they are choosing a less safe home for every future occupant. Everyone, whether they live in the home or is called to fight a fire deserves the highest level of fire safety,” says Mr. Shannon.

Citing the Faces of Fire campaign as another reason why fire sprinklers should be mandated, he adds; “If opponents are sincere when they say that safety should always be a high priority you can’t leave it to choice. Choice puts civilians and firefighters unnecessarily in harms’ way”



Citing NFPA’s statistics on the life safety and property protection benefits of fire sprinklers The Co-Operators General Insurance Company, the largest Canadian-owned insurance business in Canada, has introduced a homeowners' insurance discount for homes protected with fire sprinklers. Clients of Co-operators may be eligible for a discount of 10 per cent.

The company asserts this is part of its ongoing efforts to advocate for the installation of fire sprinklers in residences. "Fire sprinklers really should be included in all new houses as they're being built," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "We know that they make a home much safer, and that is what our discount acknowledges." The company has called on governments to make fire sprinklers mandatory in all new homes in Canada.


The company is also sponsoring a three-year study by the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Research Centre , which is investigating the consequences and health-care costs of house fires in Canada; and the potential impact sprinklers could have. The study launched with a side-by-side burn demonstration with participation from the Guelph Fire Department and narrated by NFPA’s Sean Tracey .



This holiday season it seems appropriate to provide a reminder of the Bailey family’s personal story of loss during a fire in their home that occurred in the early hours of Christmas morning, 2009.

The noise of the smoke alarm roused Irv Bailey out of bed. He was startled by flames erupting in the adjacent dining room. Disoriented, Irv’s first impulse was to fight the fire himself. But as the flames got larger and began to spread, he quickly realized this wasn’t an option. From that point, Irv recalls little but chaos as he yelled for his wife and family.

The Baileys’ two grandchildren, 12-year-old Solon and 10-year-old William lost their lives in the fire. “There was just an explosion of smoke that filled the house so quickly,” Irv says. “I would get halfway up the stairs and it was just too hot, and I couldn’t get to them.” From the outside, they could hear the boys’ desperate cries.

When the fire department arrived, they couldn’t even attempt to go upstairs. The upper floors had collapsed into the basement and the house was destroyed. Three firefighters were injured in the blaze.

The Baileys’ home smoke alarms worked and the fire department was automatically summoned by their security system. Mr. Bailey explains; “Even with our alert systems working properly, we couldn’t save the boys. The experts tell us that there would have been no loss of life if we had
fire sprinklers.”

Visit the Bailey’s Faces of Fire page to read the entire story

MA State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan
The University of Massachussets announced that all 45 residence halls at UM Amherst are now protected with fire sprinkler systems, following a massive, voluntary retrofit to protect students in one of the nation’s largest on-campus housing systems. State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan hailed the achievement as an impressive commitment to public safety.

More than 12,100 students in 7,163 rooms are now protected by sprinkler systems. State fire code requires UMass to install sprinklers in older residence halls more than 70 feet high and in new construction, but campus officials were determined to extend protection to all residence halls regardless of height. A $27.2 million voluntary retrofit program began in 2005 and was completed this year, covering 31 buildings. Funding included $4.8 million in state funds and $22.4 million financed through the University of Massachusetts Building Authority.

“I am proud of the leadership the University of Massachusetts has shown by making such a significant commitment to the safety of its students. This is an investment that will protect not only todays students but generations of students to come,” said Coan.

Read the press release

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