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SprinklerThe Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) announced that the Village of Westchester has updated its building code, which included a requirement for fire sprinkler systems in new construction single-family homes.

According to NIFSAB, “with the passage, Westchester is now one of 91 Illinois communities with home fire sprinkler requirements, resulting in safer homes for residents and responding firefighters alike.”

Tom Lia, Executive Director of NIFSAB notes that “the decision to require home fire sprinklers not only makes sense in terms of life safety, but also financially for residents and communities.”.

Visit the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition site for more information about advocacy in the state.

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!|src=|alt=Fire sprinkler|width=163|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire sprinkler|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01a66ded970c|height=140!As reported on, a sprinkler system at Pineview Apartments in Waterloo is being credited for keeping a fire from spreading to other apartments.

The fire was reported around 2:30 p.m. Fire officials said no one was inside at the time and believe the fire started on a couch in the apartment.

The fire was contained to one room on the second floor, thanks to the building's sprinkler system.


Residential fire sprinklers save lives and propertyand protect the environment,as evidenced by the following side-by-side live burn demonstration:



  !|src=|alt=FSI newsletter|width=384|style=width: 387px; height: 83px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;|title=FSI newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01a6e74e970b|height=84!Subscribe for free today

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Apartment fire kept in check by fire sprinkler system

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Fire sprinkler system stops Portsmouth, NH apartment fire

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Kitchen fire quickly extinguished by fire sprinkler

!|src=|alt=Modern home fire 2|title=Modern home fire 2|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111684e0291970c019b0199b186970d!

"There's not a fire department in the world that can respond to your home and rescue you in that time,"


The threats of lightweight construction and modern home contents have been highlighted here for some time. Extensive coverage of the issue has now piqued the curiosity of the media, and they are asking questions.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via e-mail by Deputy Chief Borry of the Manheim Township Fire Department in Pennsylvania who wrote, “our department has been asked to provide an interview to our local newspaper on the hazards of lightweight construction…”


He asked for a copy of the free presentationprovided by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and what follows is an excerpt of an article - underscoring the challenges facing the fire service - that appeared November 17 in Lancaster online:


A few generations ago, homes were built with sturdy lumber and furnished with natural fabrics and wood. These days, almost everything's made of petroleum-based fibers, plastics and glue — and while modern materials might be more affordable, there's a price to pay for progress. Fire.

"With today's fire, by the time we arrive the building could be in a flashover state," says city Fire Marshal Dave Amico. Flashover, Amico says, is the hottest point of a fire — and it's the most dangerous moment for occupants and firefighters alike. "Everything in the room has reached a temperature where everything begins to burn," he says. "Violently."


Modern materials burn more quickly, generate more heat and emit black, toxic smoke, Amico explains. That means less time for occupants to evacuate a burning home.  Similarly, according to Don Forry, director of code compliance for Manheim Township, homes used to seat floors on sturdy 2-by-10-inch or 2-by-12-inch lumber. Now, pre-engineered trusses — often built from a composite of nonwood materials — may burn more quickly. The trusses use glues and resins that can melt at high temperatures and allow longer gaps between supports, all of which means floors are quicker to collapse in a fire.

Testing*...has shown that a traditional lumber construction will give firefighters a good 18 minutes before a burning floor is likely to give way, Forry says. Pre-engineered trusses last about 6 minutes. "There have been several documented deaths and injuries attributed to those pre-engineered trusses," he says.

Are you making sure the media in your area is informed about these threats? 


Get the free presentation

*The studies on the threats of lightweight/engineered lumber and modern contents were carried out by by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC),not NFPA.</p>

Sprinklers2State Representative Ruth Balser has filed bill H2121, that would allow municipalities to adopt regulations requiring the installation of sprinklers in new residential buildings with two or more units and in buildings that are “substantially rehabilitated.”

WWLP News reports that Massachusetts firefighters are supporting the legislation and lawmakers heard emotional testimony  from fire survivors who wondered how their lives might have been different if sprinklers had protected them.

“There’s no doubt that sprinklers are a safer option to help firefighters suppress fires and hold them in check until we can get there,” said Mario Orangio, former president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts.

The opposition testified, inflating system prices and presenting usual myths, such as; fire sprinkler mandates impact housing cost, and the systems don’t protect people, only property.

For additional information visit the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition or contact NFPA’s Tim Travers.

Partnering for preventionEducating consumers about home fire sprinklers is difficult, despite all the free educational materials available from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Reaching out to diverse communities with the message requires special skill, and obtaining “buy-in” from these members of your community may be the key to winning the battle for home fire sprinkler requirements.

Diverse communityPartnering For Prevention™, a free online training program has become available. The online training was developed in partnership with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), the International Association of Fire Marshals (IFMA), Vision 20/20, and Renton Fire & Emergency Services Department. The program was funded through a FEMA Fire Prevention Grant.

The program teaches fire and emergency services personnel (career and volunteer) how to more effectively engage their multicultural communities.

Partnering For Prevention™ is based on findings from two national research studies completed by FIRE 20/20. Training content includes and features strategies and tactics from fire service experts across the U.S., as well as interviews with leaders from 12 multicultural and high-risk communities including: Hispanic, African American, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Ukrainian, and Sikh, senior, deaf, hard of hearing and homeless.

To register and log into the Partnering For Prevention online training, go to the FireRescue1 Academy.  For more information about the program contact Odessa Kawai, FIRE 20/20 Interim Executive Director

The National League of Cities recently held its annual Congress of Cities and Exposition at the Seattle Convention Center and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative (FSI) participated as an exhibitor. The participation of FSI at these conferences helps us reach a large, diverse number of public officials with the home fire sprinkler message.

The information disseminated by FSI during this exhibit will enable decision makers to go back to their jurisdictions with the information needed to adopt home fire sprinkler requirements in new one- and two-family home construction in their communities.

Mesa, AZ councilman Scott Somers, a great supporter of home fire sprinklers, stopped by the FSI booth and is pictured below with NFPA's Jeff Hudson and Maria Figueroa


Fire sprinklerThe City of Bothell Fire and E.M.S. informs that at approximately 3 a.m. on November 3rd, firefighters responded to an automatic fire alarm in a single family home.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the fire sprinkler system had activated and extinguished the fire while homeowners were away.

The homeowners accidently left a candle burning when they left the home. Fire sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading.

The fire code for this development required residential sprinklers and the residence would have likely sustained extensive fire damage if the sprinkler system was not installed.

The City of Bothell Fire and E.M.S. strongly urges everyone to survey their homes for hazardous conditions prior to leaving the residence unoccupied, to practice home escape routes frequently and to protect your home with properly installed and functioning smoke detectors.

Putting the heat
Kudos to Allstate for recommending home fire sprinklers on its website. The information provided by the fourth largest property and casualty insurance company leaves no doubt that it promotes residential sprinklers as a way to reduce damage during a fire.

Citing the U.S. fire problem and stating that home fire sprinklers are “tough on fires and smart about water damage” Allstate advices homeowners to consider fire sprinklers as one of three fire safety devices and tools for fire damage prevention.

The site states; “Even though most homes have at least one smoke alarm, homeowners may be surprised to learn that smoke alarms are just one part of a state-of-the-art fire protection system.” Allstate also informs that, “since residential sprinklers discharge water at low rate, water damage to your home is also minimized.”

Allstate also tells readers, “one more important thing to keep in mind: installing or building with an automatic sprinkler system can help you save up to 15% on homeowners insurance.




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SC_FSI2 Citing concern “with the need to provide ample fire protection to the citizens and their property” the City of Hartsville, South Carolina has passed a resolution providing incentives to homeowners who install fire sprinklers.

The city will be waiving permit fees for newly constructed homes, with a cap of $1,200, and other incentives to subdivisions installing automatic fire sprinklers.

With this resolution the mayor and council authorize the city manager to implement a policy to waive permit fees “for those homes not required under current code to install automatic fire sprinkler systems.”

The resolution was passed during a meeting on October 8th, and became effective immediately.

Bryan Crowley, Fire Marshal of the City of Hartsville Fire Department thanked the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition for its help. A community information meeting held in mid-September was presented by Kyle Minick, Deputy Fire Chief of the North Charleston Fire Department and chair of the coalition.

Visit the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition website or contact NFPA’s Tim Travers for more information.

Download City of Hartsville SC_Residential Sprinkler Resolution 2013

On Friday, November 8, 2013 Massachusetts state and local officials gathered at the Brockton (MA) Fairgrounds to witness a residential fire sprinkler demonstration arranged by the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Brockton Fire Department. 


The event was attended by members of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including; Senator Thomas Kennedy and Representatives Michael Brady, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety; Geoffrey Diehl, Angelo L. D’Emilia and Ruth B. Balser, sponsor of HB 2121 – a bill to require fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings – and many other public officials.

The live burn side-by-side demonstration is the best method to raise awareness of the life safety, and other benefits, of home fire sprinklers. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition makes available a free kit to build the prop.

Contact NFPA's Tim Travers if you would like more information or to get involved advocating for home fire sprinklers in Massachusetts.


!|src=|alt=US Firefighter injuries|width=450|style=margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;|title=US Firefighter injuries|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111684e0291970c019b00d5f7f5970b!
NFPA released the latest edition of its Firefighter Injuries in the United States report, highlighting statistics on line-of-duty firefighter injuries in 2012 from NFPA’s survey of fire departments – including non-incident-related injuries, trends, and brief narratives on selected incidents.

NFPA estimates that 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2012. An estimated 31,490 (45.4%) of all the firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations.


Based on 2006-2010 structure fires reported to U.S. municipal fire departments, when compared to structure fires in homes with no automatic extinguishing equipment present, analysis of home structure fires with wet-pipe sprinklers present showed a 65% reduction in firefighter injuries at the fireground per 1,000 home structure fires.


Download the 2012 firefighter injury report

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA report: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New report analyses volunteer firefighter injuries

Babyface EdmondsTMZ reports that legendary singer/songwriter Babyface’s Los Angeles mansion caught fire last weekend. Fire sprinklers were responsible for keeping the fire from growing and destroying the home.

As reported, the fire started in one of the mansion’s bathrooms. The fire sprinkler system quickly extinguished the flames before firefighters arrived.

A representative for the Grammy Award winner couldn’t confirm or deny if Babyface was in the house at the time of the blaze, but there were people inside the home when the fire started. The cause of fire has not been determined.

Babyface is fortunate to live in the State of California with an extended history of home fire protection. Starting with San Clemente in 1979, approximately 150 communities in the state required fire sprinklers in homes before California adopted the provision statewide in 2011.

All national model building, fire and safety codes require fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family dwelling construction.

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The Smithfield Fire Silver fire sprinklerDepartment in Rhode Island responded to structure fires in townhouse style apartments located on the Bryant University campus on three occasions starting in April of 2010. This post will document the different outcomes of these fires to highlight the benefits of residential fire sprinklers.

The first fire was in a unit with residential sprinklers occurring at 6 p.m. The home’s occupant heated vegetable oil to boiling in a covered pot. When the cover was removed, the vapors caused a flash that ignited grease in the residential hood. Fire damage was confined to the kitchen cabinets and stove hood as a single quick response sprinkler head activated and extinguished most of the fire with the fire department completing extinguishment of the hood and under cabinet areas. Water was removed and rugs and other items dried with power fans. There were no injuries. The cost to repair this unit was approximately $21,000, and it was reoccupied within a week.

The second fire occurred in the main hall of the lower level of a unit with no sprinklers at approximately 2 a.m. Although undetermined, it is believed to have been started by carelessly discarded smoking materials. There was extensive fire and smoke damage throughout the entire unit. The lone occupant, asleep on the upper floor, was able to escape due to the fire alarm activation. This fire caused more than $150,000 worth of damage. The unit was unoccupied for six months.

The third fire occurred in the lower level bathroom of a unit with sprinkler protection at 4 a.m. This fire was caused by a butane lighter in the bathroom igniting the plastic shower curtain. This fire was contained to the bathroom by a single quick response sprinkler head which fully extinguished the fire. Fire damage was contained to the curtain with some smoke damage in and around the bathroom and hallway on the lower level. Water was removed and rugs and other items dried with power fans. There were no injuries. The cost to repair this unit was approximately $11,000, and it was reoccupied within a week.

These three fires make evident that residential fire sprinkler protect property the property; on top of the life safety benefits they provide.

NFPA statistics reveal that direct property damage is reduced by 68% when sprinklers are present. The HFSC/FM Global report found that automatic fire sprinklers reduce fire damage by up to 97% and reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90%. The unprotected property was vacant for six months resulting in additional indirect cost impact.

A special thanks to NFPA’s Marty Ahrens and Captain James A. Waterman II, Assistant Deputy State Fire Marshal, and Smithfield Fire Marshal for providing the information for this post.

Do you have similar stories you would like to share? Please, contact us


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Subscribe for free today home fireWhen we discuss the problems with modern methods of construction, mainly lightweight/engineered wood components, we usually think about the site-built homes. In a Fire Engineering article Chief Kevin Gallagher of the Acushnet (MA) Fire & EMS Department considers the problems of modular homes, which are factory-built and then towed in sections to be installed at a permanent location, and range from “simple capes to multibox McMansions.”

The chief recounts a fire in a two-story, prefabricated/modular residence in 2008 and says; “Despite our department’s best efforts, the structure was a complete loss…we never had a chance to save it. Fox Boston covered the fire incident in a previous report. He tells us that research to learn about the methods of construction used by the modular industry has been the subject of several other Fire Engineering articles. He says very serious concerns were discovered; mainly:”large void spaces between levels of habitation, the use of flammable adhesives as the sole means of attaching gypsum to wood ceiling joists, and the presence of holes used to assist in lifting modular boxes onto the foundation, which can create an easy pathway for fire spread.” He adds; “Our goal has been two-fold. First, we identify the flaws with the construction methods used. Second, we fight for change through the code development process. Third, we spread the word to any and all fire service members of these hazards and the tactical changes the hazards require.”

The problem was documented in a Fox Boston report.

Chief Gallagher concludes; “Do we have a problem? My answer, since the moment I pulled up on a fire in a modular structure, is an emphatic YES! My sense is that those firefighters who have dealt with fires in these types of buildings would agree.” He says he will “dig deeper, share valuable information and, hopefully, provide you with an awareness and appreciation for the hazards within modular construction” in the following months.

Although Chief Gallagher does not talk about fire sprinklers as a way to offset the problem in this particular issue, it should be a major consideration for home fire sprinkler advocates.

For a free copy of the dangers of lightweight construction presentation visit the fire service section of this site.



!|src=|alt=Rescue|width=206|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Rescue|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b008a7480970d|height=140!Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department reports that firefighters responded to a kitchen fire at the Cross Creek at Victory Station Apartments just before 7:30 Tuesday evening.

When crews arrived at the apartment complex, they found the fire had been extinguished by the residential sprinkler system. Two families were displaced due to water damage, but did not require assistance from the Red Cross.

According to Captain/Shift Inspector Mark McCluskey, the fire, which appeared to have started in the kitchen was held in check by a residential fire sprinkler system before units arrived. “The sprinkler system kept fire damage to a minimum,” McCluskey said. No one was injured during this incident.


The Murfreesboro Fire &amp; Rescue Department ,&#0160;under the leadership of&#0160;Fire Chief Cumbey Gaines has been very active in promoting the life safety, and other benefits of residential fire sprinklers.


The TN Fire Sprinkler Coalition , guided by&#0160;its chairman,&#0160;Knoxville Fire Department Assistant Chief Danny Beeler has been working on the issue, lending support to communities in TN that want to highlight the importance of residential fire sprinklers, and efforts to adopt the fire sprinkler requirement in all new homes.


For more information about activities in TN, contact NFPA Fire Sprinkler Specialist Tim Travers .&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Fire sprinkler saves apartment complex

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Apartment fire in Charleston, SC extinguished by fire sprinklers

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Kitchen fire quickly extinguished by fire sprinkler

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Fire sprinkler saves lives and home during early morning fire

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Successful fire sprinkler activation saves Tucson home

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