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2014

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Tim Travers, NFPA regional sprinkler specialist (left), and Princella Lee-Bridges promote home fire sprinkers at the National Healthy Homes Conference in Nashville.




It's nearly impossible to not get emotional when hearing Princella Lee-Bridges speak about the fire that ravaged nearly half of her body. As one of NFPA's Faces of Fire, she's now a traveling storyteller on a mission to effect change. She knows firsthand that building literal safe houses that include home fire sprinklers can combat the debilitating effects of fire.


 

Lee-Bridges' latest speaking engagement was at the National Healthy Homes Conference this week in Nashville, Tennessee. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the event included exhibitors and more than 140 education sessions dedicated to improving America's homes. Lee-Bridges joined Tim Travers, NFPA's regional sprinkler specialist, during a presentation that discussed policy and social changes needed to create fire-safe homes. Topics included fire escape planning, the inclusion of sprinkler mandates in all model building codes, and NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+


 

Watch the following video with Lee-Bridges, who discusses the fire that altered her life:


 

 

Older adultsA news story from the Taunton Daily Gazette underscores a startling statistic: of the 19 home fire deaths that occurred through April in Massachusetts, more than half were senior citizens.

The story serves as a reminder that adults over 50 face a higher risk of home fire death when compared with the overall population, per NFPA data. "It's a tough thing. It's tough for the neighbors, the friends and family, and it's not easy for firefighters, either," Concord, Massachusetts, Fire Chief Mark Cotreau told the newspaper. "I think in general what people will get from these tragedies is a reminder of the basics of how to stay safe in your house."

While the state statistic on home fire deaths affecting the elderly might seem high, the Massachusetts fire marshal's office notes that this number is unfortunately typical by this time of year, since more home fires occur during winter months. Some seniors also have mobility issues that prevent them from escaping a burning building in a timely fashion.

Home fire sprinklers can make these tragedies involving high-risk groups a thing of the past, since these systems have been proven to drastically increase a resident's chance of survival. Discover the latest data on sprinklers by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73dcc4d6f970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73dcc4d6f970d-320wi|alt=Fire Sprinkler Initiative May 2014 newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Sprinkler Initiative May 2014 newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73dcc4d6f970d img-responsive!Looking for new insights on home fire sprinkler advocacy? The May edition of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Denver, which included perspectives from a pro-sprinkler homebuilder and the California state fire marshal discussing a statewide sprinkler mandate. Also discover who was crowned NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Champion.


The newsletter also includes information on:


    • Anti-sprinkler legislation that has outraged Minnesota's governor

    • a burn survivor's harrowing past and her push for a safer future

    • a free tool to host a side-by-side burn demonstration


 

Subscribe to this *free, monthly newsletter* to stay current on all sprinkler efforts. You'll receive noteworthy updates and news directly to your inbox.


!http://i.zemanta.com/272326440_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/272326440_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Burn survivors are becoming powerful voices in the fight for home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/271458696_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/271458696_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!"We're in this for the long haul": NFPA president affirms commitment to home fire sprinklers





 


 

A news report on NBCDFW.com features video coverage of the side-by-side home fire sprinkler demonstration held in Arlington, TX, on May 21. 


 

Reporter Tim Ciesco spoke with Justina Page, a Houston woman who lost her 22-month-old son in a home fire in 1999, and has since become an advocate for sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes. 


"After all the suffering, after all the grieving, and all of the things that we had to go through - losing every single thing we had - it was time to get to work and advocate for those who still have a chance," Page says in the news report. 


The event, held as part of a week-long education program sponsored by the Building Professionals Institute, also featured Texas State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy, who told NBCDFW.com, "People in this day and age, there's no excuse for dying in a fire. We have the technology to overcome it. We've had it for many years. We just need to make sure that people understand why sprinklers are important."

 

Texas sprinkler demonstration
Braving the nearly 90-degree weather, a curious mass of more than 125 people convened on May 21 in a parking lot on the University of Texas at Arlington campus. Things were about to get hotter, though. Much hotter.

Texas sprinkler demonstration speakers
Texas building official Paul Ward (left) and Texas State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy speak at a recent live burn demonstration.

Against the backdrop of two makeshift bedrooms, Texas State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy started the event by uttering some startling statistics to the crowd. "From 2002 to 2013, 128 Texans died in nonsprinklered, mutli-family dwellings. Guess how many died in sprinklered facilities? Zero.

"In this day and time, having people die from fire is unacceptable--and fixable."

Texan Justina Page (also one of NFPA's Faces of Fire) drove Connealy's point home. The crowd remained hushed as she recounted her personal tragedy of losing one of her twin boys in a house fire. "His death could have been prevented if I had the little firemen [sprinklers] in my house," she said. "Was my son worth the cost [of installing sprinklers]? More importantly, are your children? You can't put a price on safety."

Then came the demonstration, captured by news cameras. Attendees, filming the moment themselves with their smart phones, uttered "wows" as one of the makeshift bedrooms was set on fire and reached flashover in under three minutes. Firemen then swarmed the scene and doused the flames. The other structure, equipped with a sprinkler system, extinguished the fire soon after the crowd heard the "beeps" of the room's smoke alarm.

Sprinkler-demonstrationThe event coincided with the Building Professionals Institute, a week-long program at the university offering education and training courses for building professionals. Educating this group on the importance of sprinklers is an important step in obtaining increased acceptance of these systems, said Paul Ward, chief building official with the city of Southlake, Texas, who also attended the event.

The effectiveness of side-by-side burn demonstrations was evident in Colorado this month, when the Colorado Fire Sprinkler Coalition helped stage a public event that was highlighted by the media. Local TV stations caught the live demonstration involving two structures mimicking a living room—one equipped with sprinklers, one without—that were set on fire. These events showcase a sprinkler system’s rapidity in dousing flames and the devastating aftermath that could occur in homes without these systems. Common Voices, which is a group of sprinkler advocates impacted by fire, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association assisted with the event, which was seen by more than 200,000 TV viewers. Learn how to get your free burn demonstration kit, and watch a newscast of the Colorado event:

 

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Tom Lia is executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board



 

Controlled burns are a useful tool for firefighting training and public awareness. They effectively teach the public about home fire dangers and the need for smoke alarms, escape planning, and home fire sprinkler systems.


This type of demonstration is a great example of how communities can make use of homes that are earmarked for demolition. Not only can fire departments use these homes for training and simulation, such as ventilation and rescue scenarios, but they can also use these structures for public  demonstrations about the effectiveness and importance of home fire sprinklers.


 

Here are some tips: work with the structure's owner to acquire the building for training purposes; obtain burn permits through the Environmental Protection Agency; and plan your evolutions by following the guidelines in NFPA 1403, +Live Training Evolutions.+ Here are two scenarios that have worked for us:


 

Scenario: Unprotected Room


One bedroom in the acquired structure is furnished with everyday furnishings. A fire is lit to simulate a candle fire. It is allowed to go to flashover before suppression forces move in to extinguish it according to NFPA 1403 guidelines.


 

Scenario: Sprinkler-Protected Room


 

A bedroom is furnished in the same manner as the other room, but is equipped with a sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+ A fire is lit to simulate a candle fire and allowed to freely grow until it activates the sprinkler. The training crew moves in to extinguish any remaining flames following NFPA 1403 guidelines.


The objective is to show how the needs of the fire suppression division can be met and at the same time convey the importance of sprinklers to citizens and elected leaders.


 

Check out the following video for more information:


 


 

This post was written by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and government policymakers on home fire sprinklers. This blog regularly feature&#39;s Lia&#39;s perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.</p>

Governor-Mark-DaytonMinnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has not kept silent when confronted with anti-sprinkler legislation in the past, and it seems his stance hasn't changed. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Legislature introduced an $846 million public works bonding bill. which Dayton needs to approve, that included a clause blocking a new mandate to sprinkler homes 4,500 square feet or larger. Dayton threatened to veto the entire bill if it barred sprinkler installations.

The repeal "has no business being in a bonding bill," Dayton said at a recent news conference. "I will not have something rammed down my throat."

Dayton, who has received an NFPA award for his commitment to fire safety, has twice vetoed anti-sprinkler legislation. A new version of the bonding bill omits the anti-sprinkler clause, and Dayton is expected to sign it, according to an update in the Pierce County Herald.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a511bb2195970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a511bb2195970c-320wi|alt=Amy Acton|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Amy Acton|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a511bb2195970c img-responsive!At NFPA&#39;s recent Bringing Safety Home Summit in Denver, the human impact of fire was underscored during a poignant presentation by Amy Acton, executive director of The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and member of NFPA's Board of Directors. Founded in 1977, The Phoenix Society empowers burn survivors through peer support and education and within the last decade has made use of their personal stories for sprinkler advocacy purposes.


"Burn survivors are some of the sickest people you will see in the hospital," Acton told the summit attendees. "Those involved in a house fire usually suffer from smoke inhalation injuries." 


 

Acton also referenced Robert Feeney, a survivor of The Station Nightclub Fire and sprinkler advocate. For more information on Acton&#39;s presentation and other summit presenters, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website. For additional survivor stories, check out NFPA's Faces of Fire.


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/265679317_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/265679317_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Following two catastrophic events, new homeowner views sprinklers as a "nonnegotiable"

Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler CoalitionWe've received word this week that residential sprinkler bills long supported by the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition have been attached to outside sections of the Senate Ways and Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Recommendations by Senator Stephen Brewer. (See Sections 77, 78, and 79 in the link provided for more information.)

This bill contains a “local option” portion that will move the discussion on sprinklers from the State House to city councils and town meetings to determine the acceptance of the law. The coalition is confident that there will be an amendment proposed in the near future to block these measures.

The coalition is urging its members and Massachusetts residents to contact their senators and ask them to consider the life safety aspects of sprinklers and allow each community the right to decide this issue.

Contact your local senator today and tell them you support the local option. If you're unsure of who represents you, find their contact information via the "find a legislator" search feature.

"Don't lose heat in this campaign," NFPA President James Shannon told the nearly 70 attendees at NFPA's Bringing Safety Home Summit

in Denver, Colorado. "NFPA will be in this for the long haul. This is a fight worth fighting."

 

During the event's opening reception, Shannon affirmed NFPA's commitment in supporting sprinkler advocacy efforts across North America. "This will be a grassroots effort," he said. "If we can get a toehold ... if we can demonstrate that the homebuilders aren't going to go out of business, that sprinkler installations can be done economically, then we'll get all 50 states on board. Between California and Maryland and other communities that have adopted sprinkler requirements, we're going to develop a great database on how this can be done."

 

 

 

 

During the event's opening reception, Shannon affirmed NFPA's commitment in supporting sprinkler advocacy efforts across North America. If communities and sprinkler coalitions across the U.S. continue their efforts, says Shannon, there will likely be a day when all 50 states have sprinkler mandates on the books. "This will be a grassroots effort," he says. "If we can get a toehold ... if we can demonstrate that the homebuilders aren't going to go out of business, that sprinkler installations can be done economically, then we'll get all 50 states on board. Between California and Maryland and other communities that have adopted sprinkler requirements, we're going to develop a great database on how this can be done." - See more at: http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/legislation/2014-summit/jim-shannon.aspx#sthash.UTldoHgw.dpuf

 

 

"Don't lose heat in this campaign," said NFPA President James Shannon to nearly 70 attendees at NFPA's 2014 Bringing Safety Home Summit in Denver, Colorado. "NFPA will be in this for the long haul. This is a fight worth fighting."

 

During the event's opening reception, Shannon affirmed NFPA's commitment in supporting sprinkler advocacy efforts across North America. If communities and sprinkler coalitions across the U.S. continue their efforts, says Shannon, there will likely be a day when all 50 states have sprinkler mandates on the books.


- See more at: http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/legislation/2014-summit/jim-shannon.aspx#sthash.J8S9h1cy.dpuf

Greg Rogers
NFPA President James Shannon presents Home Fire Sprinkler Champion Award to Greg Rogers (pictured right) at NFPA's Bringing Safety Home Sprinkler Summit


Greg Rogers with the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition was this year's recipient of NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Champion Award. The accolade, presented this week at NFPA's Bringing Safety Home Sprinkler Summit in Denver, Colorado, honors sprinkler advocates for their tireless commitment to adoption efforts and advocacy.

Rogers has been a driving force behind sprinkler efforts in Washington. As president of the Washington State Association of Fire Marshals, he organized a massive contingent to attend the 2008 ICC Final Action Hearing for the vote to require sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. On the local level, Rogers advocated for sprinklers through an array of unique and effective tactics. After drumming up ample support across Washington, he and other advocates attended state hearing highlighting sprinklers. In the years since, he has continued to keep sprinklers at the forefront, organizing side-by-side burn demonstrations and attending a number of speaking engagements to garner additional sprinkler support.

Learn more about Rogers by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.

As president of the Washington State Association of Fire Marshals, he organized a massive contingent to attend the 2008 ICC Final Action Hearing for the vote to require sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. On the local level, Rogers advocated for sprinklers using an array of unique and effective tactics. After drumming up ample support across Washington, he and other local advocates attended state hearings highlighting the importance of these systems. In the years since, he has continued to keep sprinklers at the forefront, organizing side-by-side burn demonstrations and attending a number of speaking engagements to garner additional sprinkler support. - See more at: http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/legislation/2014-summit/2014-home-fire-sprinkler-champion-award.aspx#sthash.vFBLw1Pf.dpuf
behind sprinkler-related efforts in Washington State. As president of the Washington State Association of Fire Marshals, he organized a massive contingent to attend the 2008 ICC Final Action Hearing for the vote to require sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. On the local level, Rogers advocated for sprinklers using an array of unique and effective tactics. After drumming up ample support across Washington, he and other local advocates attended state hearings highlighting the importance of these systems. In the years since, he has continued to keep sprinklers at the forefront, organizing side-by-side burn demonstrations and attending a number of speaking engagements to garner additional sprinkler support. - See more at: http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/legislation/2014-summit/2014-home-fire-sprinkler-champion-award.aspx#sthash.vFBLw1Pf.dpuf

Reception

Fire service representatives and other safety advocates from NFPA's Northwest, Southwest, and Central regions of the United States are gathering in Denver on May 13, 2104, for a one-day home fire sprinkler summit. The event, sponsored by NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, brings together more than 50 attendees to network, share best practices, and learn more about efforts and strategies to require the installation of fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.

Brian and Frank

Brian Whitten and Frank Conway of Ohio.

Phil Tom Kevin

Phil Zaleski, Tom Lia and Kevin Schott of Illinois.

Jeff and Mark

 Jeff Tucker of Alaska and Mark Sweaney of Kansas. 

Rich Suzanne Justin

Rich Broderick, Suzanne Mayr of Washington, and Justin Smith of Wyoming.

Rich and Gregg

Rich Miller of Michigan and Gregg Cleveland of Wisconsin. 

Sean and Greg

Shawn Olson and Greg Kleinberg of Oregon.

Joan Mike Brian

Joan Maisonneuve of Alberta, Mike O'Brian of Michigan, and Brian Whitten of Ohio.

Amy Andy

Amy Ray (Solaro) of Nevada and Andy Cater of Idaho.

Owen Rich Tim

Owen Davis of NFPA, Rich Broderick and Tim Behlings of South Dakota.

Dan and Mike

Don Fortier of Washington and Mike Dell'Orfano of Colorado.

Ray Julie Jeff

Ray Bizal of NFPA, Julie Frasure of California, and Jeff Hudson of NFPA.

Tim and Greg

Tim Travers and Greg Cade of NFPA.

Sprinkler Age magazineIn the April edition of Sprinkler Age, the magazine for the American Fire Sprinkler Association, my predecessor, Maria Figueroa, pieced together an interesting article on how countries are embracing fire sprinklers. Her story, "Fire Sprinklers: A Global Perspective," discusses the history of NFPA's sprinkler standards, including NFPA 13D: Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, while highlighting countries turning to NFPA for its expertise.

"NFPA understand the importance of having its documents available in other languages, and continues to dedicate resources to facilitate the use of its documents by governments around the world," states Figueroa. "Some of the challenges related to the use of automatic sprinkler systems in the U.S. exist elsewhere, but we are currently experiencing forward momentum in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, where there has been an increase in the installation of sprinkler systems."

Read the rest of Figueroa's article in Sprinkler Age magazine.

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Minnesota State Capitol



Upon learning that Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill blocking a sprinkler mandate set to take effect this fall, fire service officials immediately got to work.

The group, comprised mainly of Minnesota fire chiefs, rallied at the Minnesota State Capitol this week against proposed legislation that would bar the state from implementing sprinkler requirements and would prevent government entities from adopting sprinkler rules, according to a news report by an NBC affiliate. Following a ruling by an administrative law judge, Minnesota&#39;s Department of Labor and Industry can mandate sprinklers in homes more than 4,500 square feet in size. The story states that the new proposal was an &quot;11th-hour effort&quot; by the Builders Association of Minnesota to block the upcoming mandate.

"We have yet to see a Realtor or a builder come and offer their sympathies and express how safe their house was after the fire," St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler said at the press conference.

The homebuilder association argued the necessity of sprinklers, stating in the news report that modern safety systems and building materials provide enough protection. On the contrary, recent data indicates that today&#39;s lightweight materials used in construction have a dangerous reaction to fire. Moreover, today&#39;s modern furnishings play a crucial role in increasing fire propagation.

Joining the fire service officials in front of a sea of reporters was Senator Ann Rest, who criticized the bill and her colleague's efforts. "This is an abuse of our process, and I know people don't like to talk about process that much, but it really is," she said.

Check this blog often for developments to this story.

If there was ever a time to tout the benefits of home fire sprinklers, this is it. May marks Building Safety Month, an effort by the International Code Council that promotes the creation of safe and sustainable structures through the adoption of model building codes. President Barack Obama recently signed a proclamation that underscores the significance of this event.

This week's theme, "Keeping Fire in its Place," is of particular interest since it highlights residential sprinklers via a variety of statistics and safety information. Another resource is a video created by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition featuring State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover of California, which mandates  sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

Watch the following video of Hoover, one of NFPA's Faces of Fire, giving a rundown of sprinkler myths and maintenace.

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87 Linden Street in Boston's Allston neighborhood, where a deadly fire claimed the life of a Boston University student in April 2013. (Photo: Fred Durso, Jr.)




Exactly how terrifying is a house fire for the occupants involved? A recent exposé in +The Boston Globe +answers that question in painstaking detail. The first installment in the Globe&#39;s three-part series on shortfalls in off-campus safety provides a harrowing account of a Boston house fire last year that injured firefighters and residents--many of them college students, some of them having to leap from windows to survive.&#0160;


 

Tragically, the fire also claimed the life of Binland Lee, a 22-year-old Boston University student weeks away from graduation. The story cites building code violations and additional safety shortfalls that seem to plague Boston&#39;s off-campus housing community. While this report does not address home fire sprinklers, it does provide disturbing details that typically accompany house fires, which were responsible for close to 2,400 civilian deaths in 2012.


[I was on the scene as a Red Cross volunteer the day of Binland's passing, | http://nfpatoday.blog.nfpa.org/2013/04/boston_fire_college_students.html] and this fire is one memory I haven't been able to shake. My thoughts are with her family and friends this week as they mourn a life taken too soon.

 

Sprinker Trailer
Take a gander at this mobile beauty, a trailer 24 feet in length that's giving Washington residents an up-close-and-personal look at residential sprinklers. Since hitting the road five years ago, the trailer has managed to keep on trucking.

What has made this eye-catching vehicle so popular is its contents; half of the compartmentalized trailer is used for live burn and sprinkler demonstrations while the other half is filled with educational materials. For instance, in the educational compartment, there's a freestanding, 300-gallon tank and pump that's in accordance with NFPA 13D: Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, and looping videos of NFPA's Faces of Fire, a component of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative that underscores personal stories of those impacted by home fires. One of the videos on heavy rotatation is the story of Princella Lee Bridges, who received burns on nearly half her body after attempting to save her daughter from a burning building.

Sprinkler pump"There are so many different messages out there, but the one we’re trying to drive home is the effectiveness of fire sprinklers and how fire sprinklers change lives," Deputy State Fire Marshal Ken Dellsite at the Office of the Washington State Fire Marshal tells NFPA. "A little bit of water [on that house fire] could have changed Princella's whole life. That’s why we’re using the Faces of Fire videos, to connect with folks. Everyone has a story, everyone in a fire is affected by it."

Dellsite says the trailer was funded through the licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and other sources, and has gotten quite a response at a number of public events around Washington. For more information on sprinkler advocacy efforts in the Evergreen State, contact the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition. 

Sprinkler trailer side

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