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+ !|border=0|src=|alt=Call to action|title=Call to action|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c72b2cf2970b image-full img-responsive!<br />Giving a presentation that showcases home fire sprinklers? Maybe it&#39;s a live burn/sprinkler demonstration or an open house at a newly built sprinklered home. Don&#39;t let your efforts fall flat with a lackluster ending.&#0160;+


Here are some tips by Brad Phillips that will encourage your audience to take action on sprinklers once your presentation comes to a close.&#0160;

Many public speakers are reluctant to offer an overt “call to action” at the end of their speeches. For whatever reason, many speakers feel uncomfortable telling the audience precisely what they want them to do after their speeches end.


I’ve heard people tell me that they don’t want to come across as an overly-aggressive salesperson, while others insist they don’t&#0160;need&#0160;to offer a call to action, since they’re confident that the audience will be able to&#0160;infer&#0160;what they should do next.

That’s a mistake.


Some estimates suggest&#0160;that the average person is exposed to as many as 3,000 marketing messages per day. If you don’t tell people&#0160;exactly&#0160;what you want them to do, you can safely assume they won’t do it. So lose your self-consciousness about being overt. You can be assured that your competitors or opponents aren’t being shy about issuing calls to action, meaning you’ll lose if you insist upon subtlety.


Below are a few examples of calls to action. You might ask your audience to:

Sign a petition

Volunteer their time [sprinkler coalitions are popping up across North America]

    1. Visit a website

    2. Read a news article

    3. Call their legislators

    4. Visit their member of Congress

    5. Support your position

Good calls to action are framed in the context of the audience’s needs, fears, hopes, and desires – not yours.


A&#0160;bad&#0160;(speaker-focused) call to action might be:</p>


“We really need your help, or we may not be able to stop this project. Please help us by calling your state representative and telling him or her that you oppose it.”


A&#0160;good&#0160;(audience-focused) call to action might say:</p>


“This new construction project will mean that our already crowded schools will get even more crowded, that our already congested roads will get even more congested, and that our already unreliable snow removal services will get even more unreliable. I know that many of you oppose this project, but merely feeling that way isn’t enough to change anything.


If you’ve ever been reluctant to get involved, this is the perfect moment to jump in. When you get home, please email your state representative. And tomorrow morning – before lunchtime – please call your representative to follow up. We have a handout of the names and numbers of all of your local representatives in the back of the room. You have the power to defeat this project – and I hope you will do your part to stop it.”

That call to action works better because it is specific (email tonight and call tomorrow), audience-focused (you’re concerned about crowded schools, congested roads, and unreliable snow removal), and user-friendly (handouts are available in the back of the room).

If you’ve given a great presentation, your audience will want to know what to do next. So help them by giving them a clear call to action.


*Media professional Brad Phillips has worked closely with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors to help its advocates spread messages on burn injury and prevention, including the importance of home fire sprinklers. He is the author of *The Media Training Bible</strong>+* and the Mr. Media Training Blog. *+

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Upon learning benefits of home fire sprinklers, insurance agent prompts company discount
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire fatalities surpass last year's in a state grappling with home fires

December Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterMaryland's fire service remains "cautiously optimistic" after experiencing a decline in fire deaths in 2014. Complementing this good news is that there hasn't been a single fire death in any of Maryland's sprinklered homes. 

Learn more by reading the December issue of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. Other highlights from the issue include:

  • Homebuilder learns the facts behind the popular myth that “sprinklers are too costly”
  • New video highlights growing movement in support of home fire sprinklers
  • NFPA blogger initiates discussion on whether or not the fire service has fully embraced home fire sprinklers

Not getting the free, monthly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox? Sign up today to stay on top of sprinkler news from across North America.


The number of fire fatalities in Alabama this year has exceeded 2013 totals, and the state's fire officials aren't taking the news lightly. Joining others in vocalizing their frustration with these deaths is Chief Alan Martin with the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service. In a recent op-ed published in The Anniston Star, he counters comments made by a staffer from the Home Builders Association of Alabama, who labeled home fire sprinklers as "property protectors" with minimal life-saving advantages.

"The life-safety benefits of residential sprinklers are undisputed," states Martin. "While they do eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss, the primary purpose is to save lives."

Learn more by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Faces of Fire
Christmas Eve for Irv and Cathy Bailey went according to plan. The night started with a nice dinner with their two sons, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, Solon and Liam, 10. Then there was a reading of the "The Night Before Christmas" and even a brief piano recital by Solon, 12, before the boys were tucked into bed. 

During the early morning hours, first came the "beep" of the smoke alarm, then the sight of flames, then a full-blown fire. The children were trapped upstairs. 

The Bailey's made a tireless effort to save their family, but there was loss. The incident has transformed the couple, two of NFPA's Faces of Fire, into vocal advocates in support of home fire sprinklers. This heartbreaking video highlight's the couple's experience with fire and their full support for sprinklers:

No, this isn't NFPA staff
Sick and tired of singing or hearing "Jingle Bells" for the umpteenth time this year? Don't fret: the ingenious minds at NFPA have placed its stamp on the holiday classic. For those looking to add something new to the family's holiday singalong, or if you're simply looking to impress Aunt Edna, try the following song on for size. 

Sung in the same fashion as "Jingle Bells," NFPA's version, "Sprinkler Save," adds a little levity to a proven, life-saving device. And for those wondering: "Who the heck is Dude the Cat?" Read this. 

Kudos to NFPA's Marty Ahrens for crafting the lyrics.


Dinner’s on the stove

Fried chicken on its way

Kids get in a row;

It’s just another day

I go back around

To break up their darn fight

When the smoke alarm starts to sound

The flaming pan’s a sight.


Oh, sprinklers save, sprinklers save

Sprinklers save the day

Sprinklers keep the fire small

While help is on the way, Hey!

Sprinklers save, sprinklers save

Sprinklers save the day

Sprinklers keep the fire small

While help is on the way.


Apartment fire call

Smoke and screams inside

Firefighters kick in door

Search for those who cried 

Couch had been on fire

Sprinkler on it rained

Dude the cat was good and mad

But the fire was contained.


Oh, sprinklers save, sprinklers save

Sprinklers save the day

Sprinklers keep the fire small

While help is on the way, Hey!

Sprinklers save, sprinklers save

Sprinklers save the day

Sprinklers keep the fire small

While help is on the way!


Happy Holidays from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team! Here's to a safer 2015! 

Connecticut Fire Sprinkler CoalitionAn early-morning fire on December 19 ripped through a partial residence in Bristol, Connecticut, killing two people. Fire safety advocates across the state have joined forces to highlight the frequency of these tragedies and a device that can significantly reduce home fire deaths.

Launched this year, the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition includes local fire service officials, NFPA, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, and others that are championing for increased education and installation of home fire sprinklers in new, one- and two-family dwellings. The coalition’s formation is in response to the state’s alarming number of home fires; there were more than 8,600 reported residential fires collectively in 2011 and 2012.

Additional statistics on fire deaths provide a grimmer picture. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the number of 2014, media-reported residential fire deaths in Connecticut exceeded similar fire deaths in 2013 by more than 50 percent.

The coalition is advocating for the inclusion of these sprinkler requirements in the state building code and is furthering education on sprinkler installation and cost-effectiveness via public outreach efforts. “The coalition is showcasing a growing movement in Connecticut in support of home fire sprinklers,” says Keith Flood, coalition chair and fire marshal with the West Haven Fire Department. “Too often we are seeing devastating tragedies that could have been easily been prevented had sprinklers been installed in homes.”

Watch the following video of Flood narrating a live burn demonstration during the coalition's launch event: 


!|src=|alt=Mayor Lawrence Jackson|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Mayor Lawrence Jackson|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0ac87e9970c img-responsive!The Village of Riverdale, Illinois, recently became one of nearly 100 fire-safe communities in Illinois where fire sprinklers are required in new, single-family homes. Along with Blue Island, which passed a home fire sprinkler requirement in 2012, Riverdale is among the first communities in Chicago’s inner ring of southern suburbs to recognize the importance of protecting residents in their homes.

Mayor Lawrence Jackson is dedicated to the safety of the people he serves and trusts the expertise of the code development process and fire officials. “Having updated codes protects the residents, and up-to-date code enforcement is one of the priorities of my administration in order to maintain a safe community,” states Jackson.

Upon Jackson taking office in 2013, he was approached by Fire Chief Robert Scharnhorst about adopting a home fire sprinkler requirement. Although he was not familiar with home fire sprinklers at the time, Jackson got educated on the subject by Scharnhorst during the village board’s building code renewal process. Scharnhorst also helped to educate the community at large with educational documents and presentations.

“We all have a responsibility to become educated about fire safety. Fortunately for Riverdale, our fire chief is very proactive in addressing any problems,” says Jackson. “My fire chief’s passion for community safety and his diligence in making sure we have effective building and fire codes led me to endorse his initiatives,” Jackson says.

The ordinance passed with a unanimous 6-0 affirmative vote.


“I think as more people become educated about home fire sprinklers, you will continue to see more municipalities adopt codes and ordinances,” adds Jackson.


The first family to benefit from the new sprinkler requirement recently lost their home in a house fire. The rebuild permit includes a sprinkler system designed in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+ In order to assist the family and to help educate the village’s department leaders, inspection staff, elected officials, and residents, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) is coordinating a donation of the fire sprinkler system.


An educational open house will occur before the installation of the home’s drywall and will include a sprinkler show and tell, curbside fire sprinkler trailer demonstration, and presentation of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s “Living with Sprinklers” kit to the family.


Further recognizing Mayor Jackson and the village board, NIFSAB is placing an educational advertisement in the Illinois Municipal Review&#0160;to promote the village’s achievement in adopting sprinkler requirements.


One by one, we hope to continue moving communities forward with code adoptions while also supporting elected officials like Mayor Jackson, who support their fire officials over anti-sprinkler misinformation and choose to provide safer communities for their residents.


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. Lia regularly offers his perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Homebuilder gets schooled on home sprinkler costs in a town requiring installation

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Hear the home fire sprinkler commercials hitting the airwaves

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Upon learning benefits of home fire sprinklers, insurance agent prompts company discount


!|src=|alt=Utah Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Utah Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c722ecfb970b img-responsive!Earlier this month, an unattended candle was the catalyst for a house fire in Utah that was deemed a total loss by the North Tooele&#0160;County Fire District.


Per a report by a Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City, a man, woman, and dog were able to escape the blaze, initiated by a candle inside a master closet that ignited nearby clothing.The end result was the loss of their home, with the damage estimated to be $300,000.


Ten days later, fire service members in the not-too-distant town of Layton arrived to the scene of a house fire and witnessed the tenantsa mother and her three children in front of their home, wet from a sprinkler activation. A single sprinkler head contained a stove top grease fire. &quot;Although devastating for this mother and her children, they can reoccupy with no significant fire damage spread,&quot; said Doug Bitton, spokesperson for the Layton City Fire Department.&#0160;&quot;Seeing what happened and how successful the suppression went ... there&#39;s no question at all that fire sprinklers save lives.&quot;


Layton Fire Marshal Dean Hunt, who also chairs the Utah Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also deemed the event a &quot;great save.&quot;

"The contractor who was doing the cleanup afterwards was the same one who cleaned up another fire a few months ago in another part of our city, and he expressed to me the stark difference in damage," Hunt tells NFPA.


Looking for other examples of sprinkler saves? Download NFPA&#39;s widely popular report, "Sprinkler Successes in One- and Two-Family Homes and Apartments."


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Upon learning benefits of home fire sprinklers, insurance agent prompts company discount


!|border=0|src=|alt=Pam Elliott|title=Pam Elliott|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c72126dd970b image-full img-responsive!
Pam Elliott doesn't recall the flames or smoke from the house fire that enveloped her 55 years ago. She does remember a Good Samaritan who quickly entered her home and whisked her to safety. The damage was done, however; Elliott received burns on 50 percent of her body. She was only five years old.


These injuries haven&#39;t slowed down this North Carolina firecracker. She&#39;s had a successful career as a burn nurse, and makes a passionate plea for home fire sprinklers whenever&#0160;she can. (Elliott was one of the speakers at NFPA's recent Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit.) &quot;I&#39;m here to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and those most vulnerable in house fires: infants, children, the elderly, and the disabled,” said Elliott, who was recently profiled in +NFPA Journal+ along with three other sprinkler advocates making waves across North America.


Elliott joins an army of other burn survivors that are promoting devices that could have prevented their tragedies had they been installed in their homes. Using advocacy training conducted by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, these advocates are lending their voices to promote sprinkler requirements across North America through their work with state sprinkler coalitions. And the impact they&#39;re having is priceless.&#0160;

Watch the following video highlighting how and why burn survivors are championing for home fire sprinklers: 



&#0160;Related articles

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Burn survivor Pam Elliott brings summit attendees to their feet with passionate plea for continued sprinkler efforts

Earlier this month, the death of an 88-year-old man brought Alabama's fire death total to 83, surpassing last year's total of 81. Per a recent news story, the state ranks fourth in deadly fires this year, with the majority of the incidents occurring at home.

"We're not having fatalities in commercial buildings," Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk told "It's a crying shame that [fire deaths] are above last year."

These fatalities are in line with national trends outlined in NFPA's "Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2013" report; older adults are dying in these fires, which are predominantly being initiated by unattended cooking and alternate heating sources.

Citing tips from local fire officials, the story underscores smoke alarms and sprinklers, tasking residents who are building their homes to seriously consider installing the latter. "Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive," states the article.  

Research proves that home fire sprinklers dramatically reduce the risk of dying from a fire. For example, in Maryland, which has residential sprinkler requirements in all of its counties, fire deaths saw a decline in 2014 over the year prior. Prince George's County has required sprinklers since 1992, and hasn't recorded a single fire death in its sprinklered homes.

Watch the following case study from Massachusetts underscoring the ease and affordability of home fire sprinkler installation: 

Wyoming Fire Sprinkler CoalitionJack Swanson proudly displays his " Fire Sprinklers Save Lives" sticker inside his company office in Casper, Wyoming. But the insurance agent with Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company wasn't always a full-time sprinkler supporter. In fact, when his client Justin Smith, chair of the Wyoming Fire Sprinkler Coalition, initially asked him to join the group that's focused on home fire sprinkler education, he begrudgingly agreed to attend the first meeting.

"When he first asked me to come, I told him I was pretty busy," Swanson says with a laugh. "But I went and since then I’ve gotten on board with the entire thing. I truly believe in it. Sometimes you surprise yourself when you get so involved in something you didn't expect." Swanson's colleaugue, Gene Kessner, the company's district claims manager, has also joined the coalition.

Swanson's involvement with the coalition became an enlightening experience. Watching a live burn/sprinkler demonstration and discovering the facts about sprinklers, he gradually understood the incredible role these devices play in safeguarding property. "After attending the coalition meetings, I made a few phone calls and sent a couple emails," Swanson tells NFPA. "There was another insurance company giving a [home fire] sprinkler discount ... and I thought that completely made sense."

Swanson admits that his company had given thought to insurance discounts for homes with sprinklers, but his powers of persuasion convinced his company to officially offer a five-to-10-percent premium discount, which took effect last year. 

Calling sprinklers a crucial safety feature, Swanson also notes that the devices take into account an insurance company's bottom line. "A fire could end up being a complete loss on an entire structure--all of the contents, everything. With sprinklers, you might have some water damage instead of a half-million dollars in damage or more. The bottom-line dollar savings [sprinklers] can provide is the main way the insurance company looks at this issue."

Since more and more homeowners are preferring sprinklered homes, per a recent study conducted on behalf of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, Swanson foresees insurance companies addressing this trend. "Here’s the thing with insurance companies--everyone wants to be on the cutting edge, but we’re always looking at other companies' policies, and other companies are always looking at ours. There’s no patents on coverage. If someone has a good idea, other companies will follow suit. In that regard, I’d suspect somewhere down the road, I’d say this will be a common discount on most policies." 

!|src=|alt=Bill McNaughton|title=Bill McNaughton|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c71d6627970b img-responsive!

Bill McNaughton and family

The community of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, has been requiring home fire sprinklers since 2000. Since then, custom homebuilder Bill McNaughton has equipped new homes in this town with sprinklers, and is understanding that installation costs aren't as exorbitant as sprinkler opponents make them out to be. 

&quot;The installation cost is not significant when factored into a mortgage, and the system results in reduced insurance premiums as well,&quot; says McNaughton, who is so supportive of sprinklers that he decided to sprinkler his family&#39;s home, per a news story crafted by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). &quot;The peace of mind of having fire sprinklers outweighs the costs of the installation.&quot; (NFPA has placed the average cost per sprinklered square foot at $1.35. )

McNaughton also emphasized the importance of sprinkler education for both consumers and homebuilders as well as disseminating accurate information on sprinkler cost. &quot;It&#39;s important that the consumer is getting the actual facts and completely accurate information, especially in regard to cost.&quot;&#0160;Read NIFSAB's story for more details about McNaughton and his sprinklered home.&#0160;


The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has an array of free tools aimed at convincing homebuilders that sprinklers are good for business. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site includes testimonials of pro-sprinkler homebuilders&#0160;who have affordably included sprinklers in new construction.&#0160;Spread the word.</p>


!|border=0|src=|alt=State sprinkler coalitions|title=State sprinkler coalitions|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07c102b9970d image-full img-responsive!
A rising tide of support for home fire sprinklers is making its way across North America. Shore to shore, from California to New Jersey, advocates are gathering on a grassroots level and forming coalitions that are initiating change. Various stakeholdersfire service members, burn survivors, and water purveyors, to name a fewknow they can be more effective if they coalesce with other like-minded sprinkler supporters to counter sprinkler oppositionand mythsthat&#39;s also prominant throughout the U.S. and Canada.


NFPA&#39;s two regional sprinkler specialists, who are assisting and cultivating these coalitions, have witnessed the fruits of this labor. In the following video, Jeffery Hudson and Tim Travers discuss why coalitions work and the successes of these groups. (Looking to join a coalition, or want to start one in your state? Contact us. )


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA Journal highlights the work of four passionate home-sprinkler advocates

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA President Jim Pauley rallies safety advocates at NFPA sprinkler summit

MA state fire marshal
“I have responded to hundreds of fatal fires in my state, and it’s hard to rationalize how decisions [on mandatory home fire sprinkler installations] can be based strictly on cost while not recognizing the effect fire has on our society,” says Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, who has headed the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services since its creation in 1995.

For years, Coan has been a tireless force in the push for statewide sprinkler requirements. His department has a seat on the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), which adopts building regulations and administers provisions of the state building code. Though he's urged the BBRS to adopt sprinkler requirements, the board has voted against these endeavors on numerous occasions.

These setbacks have not deterred Coan. As he explains in the latest issue of NFPA Journal, he refuses to stop advocating for something as life-saving as home fire sprinklers. "Public my view trumps what I think is a reasonable cost to enhance current and future generations," says Coan, a member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

Read Coan's profile in the November/December edition of NFPA Journal, or visit the Massachusetts coalition page to download a PDF of the article.

Kingsport Tennessee sprinklered home
Last month, the town of Kingsport, Tennessee, unveiled a home crafted specifically for disabled residents and gave the community an up-close look at sprinkler protection at its best.  

The one-story, three-bedroom dwelling is one of two sprinklered homes developed by the Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development, the nonprofit arm of the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, per a news story by the Times News. The new homes are a safer alternative for the three residents that will reside there, said Linda Henry, division director for Frontier Health, a behavioral and mental health services provider, which assists the women. The homes, she added, are "accessible housing that's affordable."

Complementing the home's accessibility features are sprinklers, which will give the residents ample time to escape a fire. The home isn't the town's introduction to sprinklered residences--a new condominium complex also includes this protection. 

"Home fire sprinklers are like having a firefighter in every room of your home," Barry Brickey, Kingsport Fire Department's public information officer, told the paper. "The quick response of the home fire sprinkler will normally put out a fire before firefighter arrives."

Showcasing Brickey's point that fire sprinklers mimic firefighters, watch this gem of an advocacy video created by NFPA's advocacy partners, one of many videos on the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site:

!|border=0|src=|alt=Illinois Sprinkler Advocates|title=Illinois Sprinkler Advocates|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb07bd43d3970d image-full img-responsive!

Illinois sprinkler advocates at work


It’s been 10 years since the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation published its 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives as part of its Everyone Goes Home Program. Following these initiatives, the U.S. Fire Administration set a national goal of reducing line-of-duty firefighter deaths by 50 percent within the decade.&#0160;&#0160;


The 16 initiatives have been a vital rallying call to unite the fire service. Every preventable death is a success, but we have more work to do. There were 104 on-duty firefighter deaths reported in the U.S. in 2004, according to NFPA. Over the next nine years, the numbers of fatalities were down in most years. There were 97 on-duty deaths in 2013.

In Illinois, firefighter deaths have declined to four in 2013 from highs of eight or nine in 2006, 2008, and 2009. How much of this improvement is due to firefighters embracing, or even understanding, Initiative #15, which states, “Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers?”

Too often, discussion of these important Initiatives, including #15, elicits blank stares among firefighters. We need to improve both awareness and understanding of each initiative. Why is this important to home fire sprinkler advocacy?  If we let another 10 years go by with only some firefighters learning about all of these Initiatives, especially #15, we risk losing firefighter lives in structures that could have been sprinklered. Furthermore, we lose another 10 years of opportunities for firefighters to use their daily interactions with the public to underscore the need for adopting model codes and sprinklering in new homes. 

The public needs basic facts about home fires and sprinklers. We know that not every community in Illinois has been able to provide that basic information. The sad truth is that in those communities where new homes are built without fire sprinklers, the resulting homes are substandard. By embracing Initiative #15, firefighters can help Illinois communities build safer homes that protect residents and firefighters.


!|src=|alt=IL Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=IL Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07bd4400970d img-responsive!The Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition has developed a 10-minute drill and a half-day drill based on a two-page descriptive flyer that includes messaging on Initiative #15.&#0160;These options allow for a quick or long lesson, depending on your needs and capabilities. If conducting these drills, make it meaningful and memorable by incorporating props, such as an&#0160;NFPA 13D simulator, mobile fire sprinkler demo trailer, or materials from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.&#0160; These can be supplemented by sharing educational videos by HFSC and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.&#0160;

These drill are crucial since confusion and misinformation exist about home fire sprinklers. This is compounded by powerful, anti-sprinkler code activity that impacts code adoptions as well as voluntary installation of sprinklers in new homes. If firefighters aren't aware of the importance of home fire sprinklers, how can we expect the public to understand?

We can’t. The public needs strong advocates in every community. Firefighters can level the playing field when they articulate both the dangers of home fires and the unparalleled life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers.


Firefighters need to have a broad base of understanding and support of the model code process. We can achieve this through more formal education and through more coalition activities. Coalitions are all about grassroots outreach, but we need to be fully educated before we can all move forward. When we commit to making a concerted effort to start at the bottom and solidify the base of firefighter support, we stand a good chance of educating and empowering the upcoming generation to ask for home fire sprinklers.

Let's make the next 10 years the decade of the home fire sprinkler. 


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. Lia regularly offers his perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA Journal highlights the work of four passionate home-sprinkler advocates

Minnesota StatePer a new law, all new homes in Minnesota larger than 4,500 square feet must include sprinklers. Upon learning that sprinklers reduce the risk of dying in home fires by 80 percent, the town of Edina has initiated an online discussion to gauge whether all of its new homes should be sprinklered. 

According to the city's website, Edina isn't looking to alter local law at this time. The online forum is to merely obtain feedback on home fire sprinklers, which will be sent to Edina's city council. 

The online forum is broken up into three topics: Required For All, Cost/Benefit, and Edina's Fire Calls. The forum cites NFPA's sprinkler research before letting audiences offer their opinions. 

It's worth checking out the forum when you have time. Many commenters offer a passionate plea for sprinklers. Says one contributor, "For an informed discussion, you need to look at death and injury rates (for residents and firefighters) in homes with and without sprinkler, because what happens to people is more important than cost benefits just based on expenditures vs. property losses. I would put a very high value on preventing a death or person sustaining major burns, which is likely to cost hundreds of thousands in medical bills and a lifetime of suffering."

Commenting on Edina's forum has closed, but please offer your own two cents by commenting on this blog post. We'd love to read them. 


!|src=|alt=November Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=November Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07bb99ea970d img-responsive!Following the deaths of a 10 year old and her father from a house fire, Washington State sprinkler advocates convinced the surviving homeowner to rebuild with sprinklers. What they didn&#39;t expect was that the homeowner was initially dissuaded to install sprinklers by a key group.


Get the details by reading NFPA&#39;s latest Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. The November edition also includes information on:

    • NFPA's recent sprinkler summit, which has energized advocates across North America

    • a spike in home fire deaths in 2013

    • initiating meaningful dialogue with homebuilders


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&#0160;Related articles

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Washington sprinkler coalition launches sprinkler education challenge
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The Boston Globe underscores need for home fire sprinklers

A fire quickly contained by home fire sprinklers inside a Maryland home in November resulted in only minimal damage and no injuries. 


The Delmarva Daily Times reports that upon entering his home, the occupant heard the smoke alarms and saw the sprinkler activation. Investigators concluded that an electrical failure in an HVAC system caused the fire, which ignited the living room wall and nearby combustibles. One sprinkler head (in most cases, only one head activates during house fires) kept the fire tenable. The Salisbury Fire Department quickly finished the job.&#0160;

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office also noted that sprinklers played a role in significantly reducing the home's damage from the fire. Only minor repairs were needed before the occupant could return home. 


Made evident by this sprinkler save, sprinklers do not all activate at once during a fire. Looking for an informative and entertaining way to showcase this point? Share the following video created by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition:&#0160;


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire deaths on the decline in a state requiring home fire sprinklers


!|border=0|src=|alt=Tom Lia|title=Tom Lia|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d09eb65c970c image-full img-responsive!
Tom Lia is one busy man. He&#39;s a constant presence at the number of live burn/sprinkler demonstrations taking place monthly in Illinois. He knows how to work the media to promote home fire sprinklers. He&#39;s assisted other safety advocates in conducting sprinkler-specific open houses. LIa is an educational powerhouse, and knows education will lead Illinois to a safer future. &#0160;


His efforts are already paying off; close to 100 Illinois communities have adopted sprinkler requirements. A humble Lia, however, deflects any credit for these successes. &#0160;“It’s due to the dedication and motivation of the fire and building officials who believe in the sprinkler concept,” says Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, a nonprofit promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and government policymakers on home fire sprinklers. (He’s also a regular contributor to this blog.) “We’re just giving them the tools to support their efforts.”


In the latest issue of +NFPA Journal,+ Lia, a member of theIllinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and three other sprinkler advocates, discuss successful ways they&#39;ve educated and advocated for home fire sprinklers. Read and download Lia's profile by visiting the Illinois coalition page. &#0160;&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA Journal highlights the work of four passionate home-sprinkler advocates

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