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In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, NFPA President Jim Shannon talks about the importance of fire safety education. He said in 2014, NFPA will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking, as well as issues such as the misuse of candles and overtaxed electrical outlets. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers," he said. "That’s still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative."

Watch this video on YouTube.

Colorado sprinkler save

A kitchen fire started when a pot of cooking oil ignited was successfully extinguished by the home's sprinkler system. The fire, which happened on January 13, in Arapahoe County, Colorado, had started to spread up from the stove and across the microwave and cabinets above when the sprinkler activated. When firefighters arrived, the fire was extinguished.

“There were no injuries, little fire damage, and the sprinkler system was quickly put back into service,” said fire investigator Mike Kadel. “Fire sprinklers have an impressive ability to limit property damage and keep our residents and firefighters safe.”

The Colorado Fire Sprinkler Coalition is dedicated to promoting the installation of fire sprinklers in future generations of homes. The Coalition is a resource for information about home fire sprinklers and works to identify and overcome barriers to the acceptance of sprinklers.

SprinklerFire in the home poses one of the biggest threats to people and communities. Nearly 2,500 people per year, on average, die in U.S. house fires. Last year 83% of the people who died in fires did so in one and two bedroom houses. Sixty-seven percent of all firefighter deaths in residential structural fires occurred in one and two bedroom houses, according to an article on International Fire Fighter.

The article, writen by Maria Figueroa, the recently-retired communications manager for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, says NFPA launched the sprinkler initiative in 2009, answering the calls of sprinkler advocates across the U.S., including the fire service, who were asking for a coordinated effort to encourage the use of home fire sprinklers.

Starting in 2006, NFPA 1, Fire Code, NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, require fire sprinkler protection in all new one and two family dwellings. (VIew these NFPA documents for online.) In 2009, the requirement was included in the International Residential Code (IRC). In addition, all model safety codes in the United States require fire sprinklers in all new homes. 

So why should firefighters care? 

  • New methods of construction negatively impact occupant and firefighter life safety under fire conditions. Specifically, risks created by engineered lumber. Studies point to the failure of lightweight engineered wood systems used in floors and roofs when exposed to fire. Read more about the issue of lightweight construction materials.
  • The synthetic construction of today’s home furnishings also add to the increased risk by providing a greater fuel load. 
  • Larger homes, open spaces, void spaces, and changing building materials contribute to faster fire propagation, shorter time to flashover, rapid changes in fire dynamics, shorter escape time and shorter time to collapse. Fire sprinklers can offset these increased dangers and create a safer fire environment for occupants and responding fire crews. 

Read the full article on International Fire Fighter

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Damage from a kitchen fire at a Cape Coral home Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2013. / Photo: Cape Coral Fire Department


A kitchen fire in a condo in Cape Coral, FL, was extinguished by a single fire sprinkler and quick actions by local firefighters, according to a report on

The article says when firefighters responded to a fire alarm activation at a three-story, 12-unit condo complex, they discovered a kitchen fire on the third floor had been extinguished by a single sprinkler head.


“Without fire sprinklers and quick extinguishment, this could have easily been fire that could cause a very significant loss from fire, displaced twelve families, and potential loss of life," City Fire Marshal Alan Carter is quoted as saying.

Firefighters reported the resident was cooking on the stove when the pan caught fire and activated the building’s alarm system and the sprinkler head in the kitchen.


“This is a classic example of how everything worked right,” says Michael Heeder, Cape Coral Fire Department spokesman on “The fire alarm activated quickly, bringing the firefighters to the scene within moments. The sprinkler head extinguished the fire, saving thousands of dollars in property.”


Visit NFPA&#39;s Fire Sprinkler Initiative website to learn more about the life-saving potential of home fire sprinklers, and how to advocate for sprinklers in your community.</p>

If you really want to keep your home and the people and property in it as safe as possible from fire, consider a residential sprinkler system, says an article on

“While interviewing consumers, highly rated sprinkler installers and experts on fire control and prevention, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), our research staff learned that many homeowners have misconceptions about home sprinkler systems,” it reports in its January 3, 2014 edition. 

Among the misconceptions about home fire sprinklers? 

Inaccurate portrayals on TV and in movies show that in a fire, every sprinkler in the house will go off at once. “The reality, experts say, is that only the heads that detect fire will activate. Usually, one head will extinguish a blaze before it spreads,” reports

Some believe that sprinkler systems are unattractive. “The reality, experts say, is that the heads stay flush against the wall or ceiling until deployed, so they don’t greatly affect home aesthetics.” 

One of the biggest misconceptions about home fire sprinklers is cost. “According to the NFPA, the cost of a fire sprinkler system, installed, has dropped from an average $1.61 per square foot in 2008 to $1.35 in 2013,” says The reduced cost is due, in part, to government mandates, which increase the number of contractors doing the work. In some parts of California, according to the NFPA, the cost is less than $1 a square foot. 

Kathleen Almand of the Fire Protection Research Foundation provides an overview of a recent study on the cost of installing home fire sprinklers. Watch this video on YouTube.


Read more common myths about home fire sprinklers and the truth about these life- and property-saving systems.

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