SC Chief Jonathan Jones talks about leadership and home fire sprinklers

Blog Post created by RYAN QUINN Employee on Aug 6, 2013

Chief Jones
"We should be doing our best to install them in our own homes. We have to practice what we preach; there is power in that."
Chief Jonathan Jones says that he has been around the fire service all of his life.  His father is a retired fire chief and his mother became the first female firefighter in the county where he lives. He officially joined the fire service as a volunteer firefighter in 1994. He is currently a deputy chief in the Clarendon County Fire Department, where he lives, and is president of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association (SCSFA). In this blog, Chief Jones shares his outlook on leadership and residential fire sprinklers; and his experience retrofitting his own home with fire sprinklers.

I knew about home fire sprinklers for many years and when efforts began to adopt codes requiring residential fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes I developed a passion for, and got involved in the initiative. I have testified numerous times before the South Carolina Building Codes Council, in support of requiring residential fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings.

My commitment to this effort is personal, as well as professional; as I just finished a complete retrofit installation of an NFPA 13D residential fire sprinkler system in my home. After my wife had the chance to attend a side-by-side burn, sponsored by the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition, she was also convinced that we would install fire sprinklers in our upcoming house renovation. Fire Sprinklers were the top priority in our renovation, and cost less than our granite countertops.

I believe in leading by example.  It's hard to preach about residential sprinklers - especially to those that may be opposed to them - when you do not have them in your own home. In the past, when I stood before the codes council I was asked if I had fire sprinklers in my own home.  Now the answer is an enthusiastic; "Yes, I do."

My family documented the install every step of the way and plan to make our story available to anyone who will listen. I am thankful that my family has never personally experienced a fire in our own home. But on a daily basis, my life intersects with people who have experienced the loss of all their worldly goods; and, unfortunately, sometimes the loss of a loved one, due to a residential fire. I rest well at night, knowing that my family is sound asleep under these life-saving devices.

I trust in the abilities and competencies of my brother and sister firefighters to do their job when the bell tolls. However, I know that my residential fire sprinkler system will not only protect my family from the tragedy of fire, but also keep our firefighters safe and return them home to their families.

The SCSFA, in partnership with the NFPA and other stakeholders, formed the South Carolina Sprinkler Coalition. This group supports the NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative through educating the fire service and our citizens on the benefits of residential fire sprinklers.

As fire service leaders, must first make it personal. We should be doing our best to install them in our own homes. We have to practice what we preach; there is power in that. It can be done!  It is affordable!  It will save lives!”