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The Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit winds down this afternoon, after a full day of providing sprinkler advocates with the latest information and inside scoop on home fire sprinklers.

Bob Eugene
Bob Eugene, senior regulatory engineer from UL, LLC, Building and Life Safety, discusses the fire challenges in modern residences.

Also see: In a recent post on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog, we outlined several reasons why newer homes may pose a higher risk to occupant and firefighter safety in the event of a fire:

  • 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.

Gary Honold
Gary Honold, NFPA's regional director for the Northwest region of the United States, introduces members of a sprinkler panel discussion at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom, public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, for providing photos from the summit.

A dramatic demonstration of how quickly fire sprinklers can extinguish a home fire was featured at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit in Vancouver, WA.

The side-by-side burn demonstration showed the difference between fires in two identically equipped rooms: one fitted with automatic sprinklers, the other with no sprinklers. These types of demonstrations bring home the facts about how quickly a fire in an unsprinklered home can spread -- and how little time there is for residents to escape.

The demonstration was narrated by Shawn Olson, chair of the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

Shawn Olson at burn demo

Jeff LaFlam at burn demo
Jeff LaFlam, chair of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, was interviewed about the sprinkler demonstration by an Oregon TV station.

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has developed a tool kit to help fire departments – large and small – build a side-by-side burn demonstration unit for their communities. The kit includes a video, printed instructions with easy-to follow photographs, itemized materials and tools lists, guidance for educational outreach, materials to help you gain local sponsors, and much more.

See videos of other sprinkler demonstrations hosted in local communities.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom, public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, for providing photos from the summit.

Curtis Ryan

Curtis Ryun, RN, of the Legacy Oregon Burn Center, shared the hidden human stories and cost associated with burn injuries -- and the impact that home fire sprinklers could have on this incidents.

Speaking at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit in Vancouver, sponsored in part by the Washington and Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalitions, Curtis said the cost of a typical home fire sprinkler system is equal to the cost of spending two days in a burn unit. (In a national survey completed in 2013, NFPA found that the average cost for the installation of home fire sprinklers is $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.) He added that the average burn patient spends 13 days in the burn unit at Legacy.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom, public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, for providing photos from the summit.

Tom Lia
Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, spoke at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit about local residential sprinkler adoptions in his state.

Illinois has nearly 100 communities that have adopted sprinkler ordinances in accordance with NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. Free online access to NFPA 13D.

Tom Lia is a shining example of an individual who understands the effectiveness of sprinkler advocacy, and works in conjunction with fire service and life safety officials to underscore the necessity of sprinkler requirements.

Tom writes a regularly about fire sprinkler advocacy for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative. See his posts.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom, public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, for providing photos from the summit.

Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford serves as master of ceremonies at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit.

A "who's who" of local and national sprinkler experts were on tap this morning at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit in Vancouver, WA. The event, sponsored in part by the Washington and Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalitions, was kicked off with remarks from long-time home fire sprinkler advocate Jim Crawford, retired fire marshal in Vancouver, and current chair of Vision 20/20.

Next up was Jeff LaFlam, Fire Marshal of the Northshore Fire Department, and chair of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Jeff provided an overview of Washington's fire sprinkler efforts, experiences, and successes. The Coalition remains active addressing issues from the Residential Fire Sprinkler Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report for HB 2575-2008, participating in the State Building Code Council, coordinating activities for sprinkler initiatives, and providing outreach to others about home fire sprinklers.

Jeff LaFlam
Also see:
At NFPA's 2012 Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, Jeff LaFlam spoke about the steps taken to adopt a residential fire sprinkler ordinance in Kenmore, WA. See his steps to success.

Following Jeff's presentation, attendees heard from Shawn Olson, Fire Inspector, Clackamas (OR) Fire District #1, and chair of the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition. The Coalition actively works to educate stakeholder groups on residential fire sprinklers and collaborates with key state fire service organizations to address and overcome barriers to residential fire sprinkler requirements.

Shawn Olsen
Shawn Olson, Jeff LaFlam, and Jim Crawford spoke at today's fire sprinkler summit in Vancouver, WA.

John Corso
John Corso of the National Fire Sprinkler Association provided a brief history of fire sprinklers and the current state of home fire sprinkler protection.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom, public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, for providing photos from the summit.

Making Connections at the summit
One of the best things about events like today's Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit, being held in Vancouver, WA, is the opportunity to meet with colleagues, fellow sprinkler advocates, and some of the nation's most respected experts on home fire sprinklers, coalition building, and making things happen.

Nanette Tatom, a public information officer with the Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One, is on the ground in Vancouver today - and sending along photos of the summit for this blog. She reports that attendees wasted no time this morning during registration to introduce themselves to other attendees and make important professional connections. "It looks like it will standing room only today," she says.

Making Connections at the summit2
Today's keynote address, "The California Experience", will be delivered by Tonya Hoover, California State Fire Marshal. California and Maryland are the two states in the nation that currently require the installation of fire sprinklers in all new construction of one- and two-family homes.

In a recent interview with NFPA, Fire Marshal Hoover said she hopes other states will use portions of California’s efforts as a model for establishing their own requirements for home fire sprinklers. The California Building Standards Commission voted to adopt the 2009 International Residential Code, including its requirements for automatic fire sprinkler systems in new one- and two- family dwellings, with an effective date of January 1, 2011.

See more about the California experience and the ongoing efforts of the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

Summit registration 1

Participants arrive at Heathman Lodge for the first-ever Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit.

The Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit, being held today at Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA, is providing sprinkler advocates with the latest information and inside scoop on home fire sprinklers.

As readers of this blog know, if you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present, so summits like this are important tools to help spread the news about the life-saving potential of sprinklers...and help advocates make strides in ensuring the safety and well-being of their communities.

Summit registration 2
Today's summit, sponsored in part by the Washington and Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalitions, is connecting sprinkler advocates with the information they need about water needs, political realities, code requirements, and so much more.

Nanette TatomA full slate of sprinkler experts - both local and from across the United States - are on hand to share their knowledge and best practices.

Stay tuned to this blog for coverage of this event, courtesy of Nanette Tatom, a public information officer for Gig Harbor (WA) Fire & Medic One.

Sponsors of the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit include the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

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