Firefighters in Idaho demonstrate effectiveness of home fire sprinklers

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on May 20, 2013

KTVB.com reported the Nampa and Caldwell fire departments joined forces to conduct a live side-by-side fire sprinkler burn demonstration. Modeled after the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition fire and sprinkler burn demonstration, one of the cells was equipped with one smoke alarm and one fire sprinkler, the other with just a smoke alarm.

In both, the smoke alarm activated around 20 to 30 seconds after the fire start. At 155 degrees (measured at the ceiling), the fire sprinkler went off in one cell and suppressed the fire.

The article quotes Nampa Deputy Chief Doug Strosnider:"The intention of these systems is to allow people to survive. To get you out."

In the other cell, the fire grew quickly and by a minute and a half into the fire, flames were exploding out of the cell and thick black smoke poured out. That fire reached more than 1,000 degrees before firefighters manually extinguished the fire. “Nobody's going to survive this. It's not a survivable event," Strosnider explained, standing inside the badly charred cell.

The article explains why when they built their house, Caldwell Fire Chief Mark Wendelsdorf's family became the first in town to install residential fire sprinklers in a single family home.  "We want to protect our family. We want to protect our investment in our house, and this is a simple way of doing it. Especially when you're building a new home, now is the time to do it," Wendelsdorf said.

The Caldwell Chief says Idaho's legislature has chosen to make fire sprinklers optional when building, even though national codes actually require them. He hopes that will change.

Visit the Idaho Fire Sprinkler Coalition Facebook page for more information and to join the effort to advocate for home fire sprinklers.