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Oregon Fire Sprinkler CoalitionA kitchen fire at an Oregon apartment could have turned into something more disastrous had it not been for a working sprinkler system.

According to a recent news report, an electrical short in a faulty blender was believed to have started the fire that quickly spread to the countertop. The apartment's sprinkler system activated and doused the flames before it spread to the walls. By the time firefighters from Ashland Fire & Rescue responded, the fire had been contained.

"This was an eight-unit residential facility," said Ashland Fire Chief John Karns. "We could have had a fire that damaged all eight units. It's exactly why we're trying to promote residential sprinklers."

Karns isn't the only Oregonian who's pro-sprinkler. The Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition joins key stakeholders to address and overcome barriers to residential sprinkler requirements while educating the public on its benefits. Check out NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site for an array of tools and resources that showcase sprinkler system benefits.

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Left to right: Tom Lia, executive director, NIFSAB; Larry Matkaitis, Illinois State Fire Marshal; Russ Sanders, regional director, NFPA; Bob Morris, executive director, Illinois Fire Inspectors Association; and Bob Tinucci, regional manager, National Fire Sprinkler Association




Since Illinois enacted its first home fire sprinkler requirement nearly 26 years ago, more than 90 other communities have followed suit. Illinois fire and building officials met this month to celebrate this success and discuss how to keep this momentum going.


 

In attendance was state Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis, who revealed that of the nearly 120 fire deaths in Illinois in the past 13 months, all but one died in residential occupancies. NFPA's regional director Russ Sanders noted at the meeting that what has occurred in Illinois somewhat reflects efforts in California and Maryland, where statewide sprinkler requirements are in effect.


“This event was an important opportunity for fire and building officials to strengthen their commitments to the fire safety of their communities by sharing and exchanging vital information about home fire sprinkler education and advocacy,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). “In order for Illinois to continue to advance and ensure the fire safety of its residents, it is up to local communities to continue passing local home fire sprinkler ordinances that prevent future injuries and deaths.”


 

For more information on the meeting, read the story on NIFSAB&#39;s site.</p>

Fred DursoAllow me to introduce myself: I'm Fred Durso, and if you're an avid reader of NFPA Journal, you may have seen my byline a few times. After serving as Journal's head writer for four years, I'm delighted to be taking on the new role of communications manager for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative. I'll be joining a team of stellar NFPA staff members in promoting residential sprinklers while helping to convince key community and state decision-makers and advocates of its benefits.

As you're well aware, sprinkler opponents have orchestrated a tough battle against sprinkler requirements. But NFPA and its array of national and statewide partners across the U.S. refuse to back down. The successes--statewide sprinkler mandates on the books in California and Maryland, for instance--show that it's possible to convince the powers that be that sprinklers are an important lifesaving tool. I'll make a point to highlight all of the relevant sprinkler news via this blog and FSI's monthly e-newsletter. Please take advantage of the numerous resources on the FSI site, and expect some new additions in 2014. Continue to use this information for your own personal edification, or share it with your fellow sprinkler comrades via social media. Spread the word. Keep the momentum going. Let's show the sprinkler opponents that we're in this fight together.

Knowledge is truly power. I promise to keep you as informed as possible with news you can use. If you have something to share that might be worth highlighting, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always open to suggestions or feedback. (Or even a brief "hello.")


Looking forward to a safe 2014 and beyond,

Fred

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A screenshot from one of the new HFSC videos.




Looking for a fun and free way to get the word out about all of the benefits of home fire sprinklers? Check out all of the new content from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), including an interactive video guide offering a plethora of information on home fire sprinklers. Users can click through direct links of videos that answer common questions consumers might have about operation, installation, maintenance, and water usage, among other topics.


 

The new guide aims to increase the awareness and acceptance of fire sprinklers by U.S. homeowners. A&#0160; survey commissioned by HFSC shows that nearly 70 percent of homeowners say sprinklers increase a home&#39;s value. Nearly half of respondents referred to a sprinklered home as &quot;desirable.&quot;


"If there's one thing we hear over and over again from consumers, it's that they'd wish they'd known they could have asked their homebuilder for home fire sprinklers," says Lorraine Carli, HFSC's president and NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Consumers in every community need access to the facts about home fire dangers as well as the many benefits of sprinkler protection. We are hopeful this new guide will help more consumers end up living in a fire-safe dream home."

 

George EsbensenA parent's worst nightmare was realized earlier this month, when a fire at a Minneapolis duplex killed five children, ranging in age from 18 months to 8. The children's father and two of his other children escaped the fire.

In an op-ed for the Duluth News Tribune, George Esbensen, a Minnesota fire chief, weighs in on the tragedy and the U.S. home fire problem. "The very sad truth in America is that the most dangerous place to be, in terms of fire safety, is at home," he says. "Even more frustrating is that keeping people safe in their homes is not a new puzzle to be pieced together. The solutions are known and well-tested. Having working smoke alarms and fire sprinklers in place along with a practiced emergency exit strategy is nearly 100 percent effective in saving lives."

Esbensen commends recent efforts by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), which is updating its residential building code to include requirements for home fire sprinklers in new homes amid backlash from residential construction stakeholders. An administrative law judge recently concluded that DLI has the authority to adopt the proposals.

Despite DLI's efforts, Esbensen warns that sprinkler opponents will likely push for new legislation banning new requirements. "Join me in urging our elected officials to support the rulemaking process ... and allow safer construction of homes to be mandated so we can put a stop to the senseless deaths taking place right in our own homes."

Check out the NFPA Journal story highlighting DLI's sprinkler efforts in Minnesota.

Sam Davis

Sam Davis (center) works at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition booth during the 2013 International Builders Show. Photo: Sprinkler Age

Sam Davis, president of Island Harbor Construction in Cape Coral, FL, and Alan Carter, fire marshal of Cape Coral Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, were recently honored by the Florida Chapter of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) for their support of home fire sprinklers.

According to an article in the new issue of AFSA’s Sprinkler Age, while so many in the home building industry spend time fighting against home fire sprinklers, Mr. Davis offers fire sprinklers as a standard feature in the homes he builds. Mr. Davis is also featured in the “Faces of Fire” campaign on NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative website, part of an educational campaign created to show the impact of home fire sprinklers.

 

Mr. Davis credits Chief Carter with his vision and support for the installation of home fire sprinklers in Cape Coral, saying the award he received “…would never had happened without the determination to see this through from a professional like Alan.” 

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Firefighters and police unfurl a tarp during recovery efforts on January 25, 2014, at the scene of the fatal Residence du Havre seniors home fire in L'Isle-Verte, Qc. Saturday January 25, 2014. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

Here's a sobering reminder of why NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative works so hard to educate our lawmakers and communities about the life-saving potential of sprinklers. In this editorial from the Montreal Gazette, Christie Blatchford of Postmedia News pulls no punches while taking politicians to task for not getting serious about sprinkler requirements. And while her focus is on the tragic fire at a senior residence that killed more than 30 people last month, the theme of her argument is very similar to our efforts to get sprinklers installed in all new one- and two-family homes in the United States.

'The way Quebec politicians and others are carrying on, you’d think that the automatic sprinkler system was an untried, still slightly sketchy, cutting-edge technology and not one proven up the yin-yang in the 142 years since it was invented.

“It’s not a simple problem,” Quebec Health Minister Rejean Hebert told reporters Monday at L’Isle-Verte. “If it would have been simple, it would have been done.”

If the answer was simple? It couldn’t be more simple: Order all care occupancies housing those incapable of self-preservation — vulnerable by dint of age or physical or mental disability — to be retrofitted with sprinklers.

Or take what Premier Pauline Marois, who this weekend visited the site of the horrific fire that killed 32 vulnerable old people last Thursday, said. “If only we were able to stop this from ever happening again, this type of thing.”

If only we were able to stop such fires?

Automatic sprinklers do precisely that. They stop fires in their tracks, contain them and contain the spread of poisonous deadly smoke.'

Read the entire editorial from the Montreal Gazette.

HFSC at home builders show in Las Vegas
We’re here in Las Vegas at the International Builders Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where an estimated 75,000 builders, dealers, and suppliers are getting a look at the latest home construction products and services.

Attendees are also getting a chance to get up-to-speed on home fire sprinklers. While sprinklers are not a new idea (they’ve been around for more than a century), the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is here to spread the message that installing sprinklers during the construction of new one- and two-family homes has the potential to save your life and property in the event of a fire.

Folks who visit the HFSC booth are being invited to play a fast-paced sprinkler game, hosted by actor Tom Clark, that features questions from HFSC’s new, free interactive video guide, designed to provide easy-to-understand information in an entertaining way. After answering a question about sprinklers, attendees got a chance to spin the wheels on a Vegas-style slot machine for a chance to win hats, tools, or even an iPad Mini.

HFSC booth at builder show in Las Vegas

 

HFSC booth at builder show in Las Vegas

HFSC booth at builder show in Las Vegas

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