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The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has published a report documenting the outcomes of a workshop held in late 2012 “to explore how changing building construction methods, materials and building contents are affecting the way fires grow and develop in today’s homes.”

The expected outcomes, as stated by USFA, of the workshop were to:

• Enhance the awareness of fire service and life safety officials of the changing and emerging fire and products of combustion risks to residential building occupants;

• Produce a document that clearly identifies contributing factors to the marked increase in the speed of fire spread experienced in interior residential fires;

• Identify potential solutions to mitigate if not prevent those risks; and

• Determine which organizations or agencies are interested in further studying and ultimately developing implementation strategies.

The program focused on “emerging changes in home design, construction and contents and their potential impacts on occupant and firefighter safety,” and the development of firefighting tactics in response to these changes.

USFA adds; “The overall goal of the program was to share our new understanding of these effects, gained through a recent body of research funded by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies, and to consider how we should respond as a community.”

[Read the workshop report |]and its recommendations; which include the need to "improve support to implementation of residential sprinklers..."

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!U.S. Fire Administration: Residential Fire Fatalities in the News

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!USFA launches program, includes home fire sprinkler video

Ocala fireFire Engineering reports an apartment fire starting in the kitchen at a building mostly occupied by older adults was “held in check by a fire sprinkler system that activated until firefighters arrived on scene five minutes later.”

The fire started on the fourth floor of the four-story building and “firefighters quickly extinguished  the remaining fire and stopped the flow of water from the sprinkler system.”

Consider the alternative outcome if this building had not been protected by fire sprinklers. Fire death risk increases with age and is exacerbated by disability factors. At age 75, people are three times as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. Several residents of the building where this fire occurred “were handicapped and in wheelchairs,” said acting Battalion Chief Scott Bolton, according to the report.

The incident displaced 72 senior citizens as firefighters cleared smoke from the building. The majority of the residents were able to occupy their homes a little over an hour after the fire.


!|src=|alt=Family and burning house|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Family and burning house|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019103cfddd2970c!Citing experts who call today’s home construction methods and contents a “fire crisis” features an article about new methods of construction, architectural features in new homes and larger square footage are “making it harder and more dangerous for firefighters to safely extinguish house blazes and for occupants to safely escape them.” Fire sprinklers would offset these dangers.


As reported on, “the lightweight construction materials are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly, but they allow fires to spread much more rapidly, reducing the time homeowners have to escape a fire -- and the time firefighters have to safely extinguish it.”

The article quotes Russell Fleming, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association: "It's estimated that most homes built within the past 20 years contain these dangerous lightweight materials, which are designed to carry a greater load with less material by using prefabricated components."

Also included in the report is Underwriters Laboratories’ test of two rooms; one furnished with legacy furniture from the '50s to '70s and one with modern furniture. As seen in the video that follows the legacy furniture room reached flashover in 29.25 minutes; the room with modern furnishings took 3.40 minutes. Flashover is the most dangerous ocurrence in a fire. Everything in the room bursts in flames. No one survives flashover.


Reaching out to consumers with this information is vital. It is so important to bring in all stakeholders into the debate so that consumers are educated on the dangers of new homes when exposed to fire, and counteract an opposition intent on protecting profits over life safety.


Visit our website’s Tools and Resources firefighter section to learn more about the dangers of lightweight construction and request a free presentation .

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Lightweight construction and the need for home fire sprinklers

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Fire sprinkler battle highlights massive house fire featured in Faces of Fire

Jim Shannon
"As most deaths occur in the home, why would we not want to take proven technology and apply that?"
On the international news front, NFPA President Jim Shannon recently participated in a home fire sprinkler debate, held in London, England, by the Worshipful Company of Firefighters. The battle for the installation of fire sprinklers in all new homes is also raging across the pond.

A motion presented to delegates read: “This house supports the case for the installation of sprinklers in all new homes.” Mr. Shannon spoke for the motion; speaking against was Jonathon O'Neill, Managing Director of the U.K.'s Fire Protection Association.

Excerpts from the debate were published by the U.K. Fire Protection Association's publication Fire Magazine; some of which follow:

"The case for sprinklers in all new homes is so compelling it is beyond dispute for reasonable people," said Mr Shannon. "This last generation has seen great progress in fire prevention. In 1978, 9,000 people died in fires," he reported. "We have worked assiduously to reduce that to 2,500-3,000 people a year. But is that good enough? Should we continue doing what we've done or should we create new strategies? As most deaths occur in the home, why would we not want to take proven technology and apply that?"

Mr. Shannon sought to dispel home fire sprinkler myths and concluded with the rallying cry: "The time for us to do the right thing is now!"

Download the Fire Magazine article

The Fire Sprinkler Initiative was present promoting home fire sprinklers at the New England Fire Chiefs 91st Annual Conference and Exposition with a booth, staffed by NFPA’s Tim Travers and Bob Duval.

New England Fire Chiefs

The event, held last week at the Sheraton Springfield hotel and the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts is fully sponsored by the New England Association of Fire Chiefs, Inc., and co-hosted with the New England Division of the IAFC, and the New England Fire Apparatus Maintenance Association, with grateful assistance from the New England Fire Equipment Exhibitors Association.

Contact Tim Travers to get involved with advocacy efforts in New England.


ABC News Charleston reported on a live burn, side-by-side demonstration, illustrating the importance of fire sprinklers in the home. According to the report, firefighters from across the state attended the demonstration at the Fire Museum in North Charleston.

Two makeshift rooms, one with sprinklers and one without, were set on fire. In no time, the room without sprinklers started to burn rather quickly and after just three minutes, the room was completely engulfed in flames, as reported by ABC News.

A second room, equipped with sprinklers, was then set on fire. In just under two minutes the sprinklers turned on, preventing the fire from spreading.


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"At no point did that room become 'un-survivable' at any space," said Chief Jonathan Jones, a Clarendon County firefighter and recently elected president of the SC State Firefighters Association


The report also featured burn survivor Princella Lee Bridges, who suffered burns over 49% of her body and has had to endure life long health effects. Princella is an advocate of home fire sprinklers and is working to retrofit her home with the system.

ABC News informed that Chief Jones recently installed sprinklers in his own home. "It was inexpensive; it was painless," Jones said. "It ended up costing us about $1.75 a square foot." Firefighter Jones added for the report; “it's small price to pay for peace of mind.”

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Free webinar: Fire sprinklers are green? Who says?

Dr. Flatolli During a recent interview  with Grassroots Change , an organization created to “to empower grassroots leaders to build and sustain effective public health movements at the local, state, and national levels, Shannon Frattaroli, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Injury Research and Policy, offers her insight on the success of the grassroots movement for residential fire sprinklers.

Dr. Frattaroli has studied the residential fire sprinkler movement and tells Grassroots Change that “this is a fantastic, energetic grassroots movement that’s been going on for the past 30 or 40 years in this country."

Preliminary lessons include:

•     The power of organizing and what a small, committed group of people can do to make their communities better for all.

•     It shows the power of particular agencies, life the fire service, which is not often thought of as companions in public health. Their contribution to the residential fire sprinkler issue shows how much public health there is in the fire service.

•     We’re recognizing that public health is something that has a lot of potential for partnerships outside of our traditional sphere.

What Dr. Frattaroli found, first and foremost, is “the energy and commitment of individuals who make up the grassroots” and are willing to take action to make change. Secondarily, she finds "there’s an important technical expertise that can elevate a grassroots movement from a collection of people who want to do good and who are organized, effective, and achieving real change.”

She recognizes how preemptive residential sprinkler prohibition laws have been counterproductive to the goals of public health and devastating to grassroots. “When the federal or state government says to the states or local government that you cannot legislate on a particular issue, that’s just debilitating” says Dr. Frattoli.

Despite the setbacks of preemption Dr. Frattaroli says “we can look back on the history of public health and see how we’ve won tremendous victories through grassroots movement building, and as we look ahead to what public health is going to look like in the future, movement building and the grassroots has to be a part of that if we’re going to be effective on the policy front.”

Read the whole interview


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NFPA is soliciting session proposals for the 2014 NFPA Conference & Expo, to be held June 9-12, in Las Vegas. The NFPA Conference & Expo is widely regarded as the most comprehensive event in the industry. With approximately 5,000 attendees, it is the year's largest and most important event for the fire protection, life safety, and electrical industries.


!|src=|alt=Edsession|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Edsession|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019103972ce1970c!If you'd like to share your knowledge and best practices, we invite you to send us your session proposals in any of the following topic areas:

    • Electrical

    • Fire Protection Engineering

    • Fire and Emergency Services

    • Emergency Preparedness/Business Continuity

    • Building and Life Safety

    • Loss Control/Prevention

    • Detection and Notification

    • Fire Suppression

    • Green Initiatives

    • Public Education

    • Research


Deadline: Monday, September 16<br />All proposals must be submitted online .

This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise, increase your exposure and visibility in your industry, add to your resume and your list of achievements, and meet valuable contacts and resources for your professional network. In addition, all speakers will receive a complimentary registration to the NFPA Conference & Expo.

For assistance or questions regarding:


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Green Builder Media (GBM) will be hosting a free webinar  on the environmental benefits of home fire sprinklers. This webinar is part of GBM’s Impact Series  and will feature interviews with Benjamin Ditch,

Senior Research Engineer at FM Global, and Gary Keith, Vice President of Engineering Standards at FM Global.

GBM asserts “the debate about fire sprinklers has been mainly focused on cost, and considerations about the environmental impact of fire sprinklers have been neglected.”


During the interview, Ditch and Keith will present the results of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition/FM Global study on "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers,"the first report to focus on the environmental benefits of installing fire sprinklers in new homes.



*Date and Time:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

11 PDT/2 EST

*Register Now


For more information about the Impact Series, email

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New research reveals opportunity to educate consumers on green value of fire sprinklers

Mackenzie_secondary_rendering_jpg_size_medium2_promoAccording to, Vaughan, Ontario developer Tony Guglietti, president of Townwood Homes has been including innovative features in an estimated 10,000 homes he has built during the past 40 years; but after he watched his 26 year old house burn to the ground, he decided to install fire sprinkler systems in all of his new projects.

Recently unveiled McKenzie Ridge Terraces will include 136 executive townhomes and six semi-detached single family homes. They are the first production (spec) home project to include fire sprinklers as a standard feature in Ontario. The homebuilder added that the fire sprinklers did not increase the sale price of the homes.

The article quotes Mr. Guglietti: “I was so shocked at what an overwhelming feeling it is to see your home destroyed by fire. I knew right then that I was going to include a sprinkler system in my own new home.” He has also decided to make fire safety history by being the first production home developer to protect his home buyers with fire sprinklers.

A press conference to make the announcement, covered by Global News included a side-by-side live burn demonstration to show the life safety and property protection benefits of home fire sprinklers.

Co-operators Insurance will offer buyers of McKenzie Ridge Terraces a minimum ten-percent discount on their insurance policies because of the fire sprinkler system.

An investigative report by NBC Chicago highlights a battle raging in Illinois as State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis is working to update the state fire code, unchanged for the past twelve years. According to the report “the one he's proposing is a big one: a first-ever requirement for fire sprinklers in all new single-family homes, including those built in Chicago.”

 "As far as I'm concerned, everyone in Illinois deserves safe housing," Matkaitis told NBC Chicago. "Every state fire marshal in the country is trying to do the same thing that I am, for the same reason."

The report also focused on the “testy relationship between Matkaitis and the City of Chicago” because the city insists, under home rule authority, it doesn't have to follow the state fire code at all. The largest sticking point: retrofitting residential high-rises with fire sprinkler systems.

"The statute applies all over the State of Illinois, whether it's Chicago or Cairo," Matkaitis said. "I want cooperation from everybody to save lives and property. Remember that. Save lives and property. That's the only thing that I do."

Interviewed for the report was NFPA President James Shannon who said; "There's no question that residential high-rises should have sprinklers…where sprinklers are involved, the chance that somebody's going to die in a fire in one of those buildings goes down dramatically."

The Illinois Fire Chief's Association has documented its support for the state fire marshals' effort to require fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.


GALA-left_smThe Faces of Fire public service announcement (PSA) featuring Princella Lee-Bridges was nominated for a regional EMMY® award. The winners were announced last week, and although our entry did not win, it was definitely an honor to have been selected for nomination among hundreds of other entries. It also provided the opportunity to bring the home fire sprinkler message to a large and diverse audience.

The Southeast EMMY® awards celebrate excellence in media at the local and regional level. The Faces of Fire PSA was nominated for television spot announcements excellence in the community/PSA campaign category. Our PSA was one of six finalists.


Princella and Steve pose at the EMMY awards event

Present at the gala to receive the award was the “star” of the PSA Princella Lee-Bridges and Steven Minichiello, the producer who said, “We did not win. But the happiness that Princella showed was over the top.....she said it was the highlight of her life since the fire.” In that sense, we were most definitely winners.

!|src=|alt=Smoke alarm|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Smoke alarm|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01901d586894970b!During a presentation at the 2013 NFPA Conference and Expo in Chicago, Ron Farr, lead regulatory engineer for UL, emphasized the need to consider smoke alarms as a vital component of life safety; together with fire sprinklers and home escape plans.

Mr. Farr discussed the characteristics of new home construction and several UL studies, emphasizing the importance of having the “right” smoke alarm to provide early warning. Mr. Farr said; “Alerting people to the fire and giving them enough time to escape become important. It is an educational issue…homeowners need to be aware of the dangers and the importance of maintaining smoke alarms.” 


Codes and standards of smoke alarms

UL 217 is the listing standard for smoke alarms and is in the process of being revised in response to new technology. UL 268 is the listing standard for smoke detectors.

[NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code |] covers “the application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems” and other detection and signaling components; including home smoke alarms.


Smoke alarm technology

Mr. Farr discussed the two types of smoke alarm technology:

    • Photoelectric, most effective in sensing large and lighter colored smoke particles associated with smoldering fires that operate by the scattering or obscuration of light caused by smoke particulates.

    • Ionization: Most effective in sensing small (invisible) smoke particles associated with flaming fires that operate by monitoring a small current created by ionized air between electrically charged plates.

The types of smoke alarms/detectors available in today’s market:

    1. Ionization

    2. Photoelectric

    3. Dual chamber – Ionization/photoelectric

    4. Other Combination – Ionization/carbon monoxide

    5. Other Combination – Photoelectric/carbon monoxide

    6. Hearing impaired alarms

    7. Wireless interconnected alarms

    8. Heat detectors

    9. Carbon monoxide

He provided the results of a UL research project involving two structures: a one story, eight room 1,200 sq. ft. home; and a two story, open floor plan, 3,200 sq. ft. home. Several fire scenarios were used to test smoke alarm response as follows:

    1. Kitchen fires - toast, bacon, coffee maker

    2. Living room fires - heating elements and open flame/candle on sofa/chair

    3. Bedroom fires – heating element on mattress, pillow

The tests underscored the value of sleeping with the bedroom door closed to keep out fire and smoke.

Finally, he indicated that the tests revealed results similar to conclusions drawn by task forces in California, Ohio and Maryland; “that multiple alarms with multiple technologies work best to provide early warning in the majority of situations.”


Visit the NFPA conference blogfor additional information and to download the presentation.</p>


The non-profit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) reports on its blog that more than 200 members of the homebuilding industry have evaluated its online 3D interactive homebuilder education program.

HFSC updated the series with grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Fire Prevention & Safety Grant award program.

HFSC’s evaluation showed strong interest from homebuilders and favorable response:

  • 88% said the program was worth watching;
  • 85% said it improved their knowledge about home fire sprinklers;
  • and nearly three-quarters said they are more likely to recommend fire sprinklers after seeing the program.

HFCS informs that Anthony Palladino, Building Designer CGP at Golden Rule Builders in Catlett, Virginia, was one of those who participated and said, “HFSC is my go-to resource for educational materials,” Palladino says. “The way the information is centered on educating the consumer with basic facts about home fire sprinklers is very important to me as a builder.”

HFSC continues to excel, providing free educational pieces. Field advocates can now point to this much needed tool when engaging builders in their communities.

View the new 3D program or order free educational materials.

StateFarmAs reported by Fire Engineering, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), has issued a commendation to State Farm Insurance “for reminding its homeowner policy holders that fire sprinkler systems are the only proactive form of fire protection,” noting that “State Farm is one of the few insurance providers that are helping to educate homeowners on the life and property saving benefits of home fire sprinklers.”

A recent article on State Farms' website titled "8 Reasons to Install a Home Fire Sprinkler System," provides its policy holders with the facts on home fire sprinklers.

"State Farm's decision to educate their customers on residential fire sprinkler systems and the protection to both life and property they provide is extremely commendable," said Russell Fleming, President of the NFSA.

State Farm is a great supporter and advocate for home fire sprinklers as a member of the board of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a non-profit organization that provides free educational materials for consumers, builders, fire service personell, water purveyors and other home fire sprinkler stakeholders.

Loudon fire
Massive fire at Meadowood Ct. in Loudon, VA changed four firefighters' lives forever
CBS-DC recently ran a story about the raging home fire sprinkler debate between the contractors who build the homes and firefighters who say they (new homes) are akin to living in a matchbox. the “extensive urban sprawl” where “homes are being constructed at a blinding pace to keep up with the increasing number of people moving into the D.C. region,” the report highlights the threats of lightweight construction as a major safety hazard, and features a massive 2008 fire on Meadowood Court in Loudon County “as a prime example of the dangers lurking behind the walls of these homes.” fire was featured in one of our Faces of Fire stories, told by the fire’s commander Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. “When the mayday was called, I was approximately seven to eight miles out, and my heart stopped,” Brower says. “It literally froze me. It was chilling.”


A video released by Loudon County documents the fire minute by minute. Three minutes after firefighters arrived, Capt. Micah Kiger led his men into the burning home and up the stairs to the fire. Just three minutes later, a flashover occurred. This fire changed their lives forever. “(It) actually trapped us,” said Kiger. “It was basically your worst nightmare hearing the other people scream that were burning up.”


Video: Investigative Report into the Meadowood Court Fire, Loudoun County, VA


Bill Kirkpatrick* *is an Engineering Manager at East Bay Municipal Water District in California (EBMUD), a public utility company that supplies water to 1.3 million people in 20 cities in northern California. During the&#0160;"Bringing Safety Home" fire sprinkler summit in Chicago, Mr. Kirkpatrick presented a water purveyor’s perspective on home fire sprinklers, taking into account the balance between water supplier reliability issues and the issues of service, cost and liability.



Video: Bill Kirkpatrick says that most communities in the United States would not need to upgrade their water infrastructure systems because of home fire sprinkler requirements.



Video: Bill Kirkpatrick says that when a community has home fire sprinklers installed, it benefits the community and water purveyors alike.


!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!MA state representative: how I got involved in the fight for home fire sprinklers

Eileen Byrne, a burn nurse, offered a unique perspective on the effect that residential sprinklers can have on burn injuries and deaths at NFPA's "Bringing Safety Home" fire sprinkler summit in Chicago "You don't want to be where I work," she told summit attendees.

Ms Byrnea registered nurse for more than 16 years, has spent the past five years as Burn Community Educator for the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, and is  a member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition.


Ms Byrne says; “From the medical perspective, we don’t understand why this (requirements for sprinkler installations in all new homes) hasn’t been taken care of already. We didn’t realize how difficult this effort was. In fact, a lot of us assumed there were already sprinklers in homes.”


Ms. Byrne said that she knows accidents will happen. “But when we see patients whose burns were preventable, we must never rest until something is done.”

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