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2015

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An electrical failure exacerbated by a dried-out Christmas tree was the likely culprit for a house fire on January 19 that reached untenable conditions, killing two grandparents and four children ranging in age from six to eight years old.

The Washington Post reports that a faulty electrical outlet supplying power to lights on the 15-foot tree likely sparked the blaze in the home. “This fire was the result of a tragic accident that occurred at the absolutely worst possible time: while [Don and Sandra Pyle] and their grandchildren were sleeping,” Bill McMullan, who heads the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives office in Baltimore, told the paper. According to NFPA's latest "Fire Loss in the United States" report, electrical distribution or lighting equipment is the fourth leading cause of home fires. Moreover, one out of every 40 reported home fires that begin with a Christmas tree result in death, per NFPA.

In a statement to the press, the victims' family offered these words: "Our hope is that our loss will raise awareness that this tragic event could happen to any family."

The tragedy is also shining a light on home fire sprinklers. The unsprinklered home was built four years before a sprinkler ordinance for new residences took effect in Anne Arundel County in 2009. Fire safety officials who offered comments to The Washington Post and other news outlets said they're convinced sprinklers would have likely thwarted or lessened the losses. 

“We can rebuild your house. We can’t rebuild your family," Ron Siarnick, former fire chief for Prince George's County, told Maryland news station WTOP. Prince George's is the first county in Maryland to enact a sprinkler ordinance for new homes, and has seen life-saving successes from this requirement. "That’s what sprinklers do — give you the time as the fire accelerates to hold it in check to get you out.” 

January 2015 Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterCheck out the new look of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. The publication now gives you more of the news stories you crave while better linking you to online resources (all of which are free) that will help you champion for home fire sprinklers. In the latest issue, find information on: 

  • new materials by NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition underscoring what homebuilders need to know about home fire sprinklers
  • a sprinkler law that recently took effect in Minnesota
  • an elected official who initiated a sprinkler ordinance after hearing a perfect pitch

As always, the newsletter is free. Sign up today and start receiving the publication directly to your inbox once a month. 

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c740a74e970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c740a74e970b-320wi|alt=Minnesota|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Minnesota|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c740a74e970b img-responsive!Days after a new law went into effect in Minnesota that requires sprinklers in new homes of a certain size, the opposition has responded.


 

[News reports | http://kstp.com/news/stories/S3687118.shtml?cat=1] are filtering in that the Builders Association of the Twin Cities has asked a court to delay implementation, citing exorbitant installation costs. The association's action comes at a time when fires are wreaking havoc in Minnesota; according to an ABC affiliate, there have already been five fire deaths in the state during January.


 

The battle for sprinklers in new homes has been raging on for years in Minnesota. More recently, fire service officials and safety advocates have publicly backed the decision of the state's Department of Labor and Industry to sprinkler homes larger than 4,500 square feet. The builders association states that the sprinkler requirement will ward off homebuyers, but that goes against a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) that notes the majority of homeowners surveyed said they are more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than without them.


 

Check this blog for updates to this story. In the meantime, use these new tools created by HFSC and NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative to convince builders that sprinklers make sense.


!http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New home sprinkler requirement in Minnesota takes effect this month

!http://i.zemanta.com/322348751_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322348751_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!"Homes are burning so darn fast:" Fire chiefs make convincing argument for home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/324005416_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/324005416_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Introducing Audrey Goldstein, the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger

 

+* !http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73d84da970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73d84da970b-320wi|alt=Audrey-Goldstein|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Audrey-Goldstein|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73d84da970b img-responsive!Joining the growing list of writers for this blog is newcomer Audrey Goldstein. She is an associate fire protection engineer with NFPA, responsible for responding to technical questions on NFPA 13D,  *Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes*, and other water-based suppression documents. *+


 

We've brought Audrey on board to address topics related to NFPA 13D as well as other technical aspects of home fire sprinklers. If there are any topics you'd like Audrey to address, comment on this blog or send us an email.


 

Audrey proudly hails from Maryland, one of only two states with requirements for residential sprinklers in all of its counties. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative team is pleased to have her contributing to the cause. Enjoy her inaugural post:


Sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D are designed to provide homeowners with a cost-effective system that will provide a suitable level of life safety. To meet this goal, sprinklers are permitted to be omitted from select locations that historically have not threatened life safety. One such location is from unheated projections from a house. This section was originally written to apply to spaces such as mudrooms, transitory spaces that are not intended for continual occupancy. As these building projections are unheated, sprinkler installation in these areas could drive up the cost, necessitating dry sprinkler heads cut to custom lengths or another means of freeze protection in the space.


Recently there has been a rise in popularity in lanai or “California rooms”, which are covered patios open to the exterior on one or two sides. These fully furnished spaces often feature a bar or kitchenette area. Designed for entertaining in milder climates, these unheated projections from the home pose the oft-asked question: can sprinklers be omitted?


The sprinkler omission was not originally intended to apply to spaces of living purposes. A space furnished with comfortable couches, however, is clearly intended for living purposes. Authorities having jurisdiction differ on whether the use of the space necessitates sprinklers. Some argue it does while others permit their omission. There is merit in both arguments for and against sprinkler protection in this type of space.


Although California rooms are more common in temperate climates, some may be subject to freezing temperatures and cannot be provided with a wet-pipe sprinkler system. While trying to keep home fire sprinkler system costs down we must weigh the life safety aim of an NFPA 13D sprinkler system. Until the Technical Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems addresses these spaces and indicates either that sprinklers are or are not required, each jurisdiction must determine this balance for themselves. 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/322107167_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322107167_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Home fire sprinkler ordinance the result of fire chief's vocal support and educational efforts

!http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief: Homebuilders "misinformed" about home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/323527853_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/323527853_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New Jersey advocate's plea for sprinklers hits home following a near-tragic event

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73c64cf970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73c64cf970b-320wi|alt=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73c64cf970b img-responsive!Building awareness of home fire sprinklers is the aim for a growing number of safety advocates in Missouri.


 

To accomplish this goal, the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition will host its first sprinkler summit on March 10, 2015, at the Holiday Inn East in Columbia, Missouri. The event will bring together key residential sprinkler advocates from across the state and U.S. for the purposes of networking and sharing best practices. Attendees will learn how to educate the public on the benefits of sprinklers, convince code-making officials and legislators that sprinkler requirements save lives, and discover the free resources available for sprinkler advocates.


 

Registration details are coming soon. Please save the date, and check this blog and the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition site for updates. And stay on top of fire and sprinkler news in the Show Me State by "liking" the coalition's Facebook page.  


!http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Deadly blaze underscores Connecticut's home fire problem and growing group of safety advocates working towards a solution

!http://i.zemanta.com/319782725_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319782725_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Here's the top 10 sprinkler news stories that got your attention in 2014

!http://i.zemanta.com/319220176_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319220176_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights decline of fire deaths in a state requiring home fire sprinklers

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07df87c7970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07df87c7970d-320wi|alt=New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07df87c7970d img-responsive!Earlier this month, a number of publications picked up an opinion piece by David Kurasz, executive director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Similar to trends that have occurred in other states (Alabama, for example), New Jersey saw an unfortunate uptick in fire fatalities in 2014. More specifically, there was nearly a 30-percent increase in fire deaths in 2014 when compared with 2013 totals.


 

"I urge people to never leave space heaters unattended. Clean chimney flues before use, check all smoke detectors, and consider installing residential fire sprinklers," pleaded Kurasz in his op-ed. "Sprinkler systems are the answer to reducing fire-related fatalities, protecting New Jersey residents and first responders from the horrors of fire."


Kurasz was right. Days after his op-ed was published, a fire started inside a Toms River, New Jersey, residence. A potentially disastrous outcome was thwarted thanks to a sprinkler activation inside a bedroom, the place where officials believe the fire had originated. Only one sprinkler head activated, resulting in minimal heat, smoke, and water damage. The structure remained intact.


 

"A properly designed and maintained fire sprinkler system combined with properly installed, maintained, and tested smoke alarms are essential elements in fire and life safety," James Mercready, director of the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention, told Toms River Patch.


 

Learn how other sprinklers advocates are spreading the good word in New Jersey by visiting the state's Fire Sprinkler Coalition site.   


!http://i.zemanta.com/319075763_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319075763_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief: Homebuilders "misinformed" about home fire sprinklers

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73b1161970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73b1161970b-800wi|alt=Ruth Balser|title=Ruth Balser|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73b1161970b image-full img-responsive!
A key ally in the push for home sprinkler requirements, Massachusetts Rep. Ruth Balser has once again filed a bill calling for the installation of these devices in newly constructed one- and two-family homes in her state. The bill is currently co-sponsored by state Sen. Ken Donnelly. 


Filed this month, the act states that "in any city or town which accepts the provisions ... every newly constructed building, designed or used for residential occupancy and containing no more than two dwelling units, shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers."


 

At NFPA's recent Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Durham, North Carolina, Balser called sprinklering residential homes "the next frontier." She's developed a close relationship with the state fire marshal and other members of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who have informed her of the alarming number of home fire deaths in her state and elsewhere.  Balser has filed previous legislation to increase sprinkler requirements but admits "it's very tough to fight an argument around something that people feel will hurt business and the economy," she told summit attendees. "At the end of the day, sprinklers cost something, but how do you put a price tag on a human life? If we as policymakers can do something to save lives, we need to do it."


 

Balser and Donnelly are encouraging Massachusetts residents to contact their legislators and have them co-sponsor and support the bill. Use this "find my legislator" feature to find their contact information. 


 

 Related articles


!http://i.zemanta.com/320885422_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/320885422_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Here's a New Year's resolution worth keeping: urge your legislators to support sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/321873446_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/321873446_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New York firefighters throw support behind building code adoption that could require sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New home sprinkler requirement in Minnesota takes effect this month

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0c0a801970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0c0a801970c-800wi|alt=Canada|title=Canada|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0c0a801970c image-full img-responsive!
Mirroring the position of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Cynthia Ross Tustin says the time for mandatory installation of home fire sprinklers is now. "You need a home escape plan, you need working smoke alarms, and you need home sprinklers," says the fire chief for the Essa Township Fire Department in Ontario, Canada, who was interviewed by a Canadian news publication. "It's not one or the other."


 

Delaying the issue of requiring sprinklers, she says, makes no sense, especially since cities like Vancouver have seen life-saving successes in implementing a sprinkler ordinance. The story also cites Scottsdale, Arizona, which has required sprinklers in new homes since the mid 1980s. (A report by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition highlights data following the adoption of this ordinance.)


 

For the cost of installation, a homeowner could forego a similar expense for luxury upgrades to their home and instead opt for sprinklers, says Ross Tustin. "I'd rather have the faux granite countertop than not have a life-saving device," she says. "We need sprinklers because people just can't get out of their homes as fast as they used to, because just burn so darn fast." (Information from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative confirms her statements about the fire concerns of today's lightweight building materials.) 


A key player supporting Ross Tustin's push for sprinklers is Jim Wilson, a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario who has "asked the province to get behind it as well," states the story.


 

Another Canadian fire chief making headlines this month is Kevin Foster, another vocal advocate calling for mandatory sprinkler installation. Read how Foster is joining Ross Tustin in fighting for sprinkler requirements. 


!http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Deadly blaze underscores Connecticut's home fire problem and growing group of safety advocates working towards a solution

!http://i.zemanta.com/319421354_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319421354_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights decline of fire deaths in a state requiring home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Mayor hears convincing pitch for home fire sprinklers from fire chief, initiates local ordinance

!http://i.zemanta.com/322107167_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322107167_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Home fire sprinkler ordinance the result of fire chief's vocal support and educational efforts

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73667af970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73667af970b-320wi|alt=Fire Chief Dean Maggos|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Chief Dean Maggos|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c73667af970b img-responsive!Fire Chief Dean Maggos helped develop one of Chicagoland’s first side-by-side fire and sprinkler demonstrations, and it’s evident his passion for home fire sprinklers has only intensified over the years.


 

As fire chief and building department director for the Village of La Grange Park in Illinois, Maggos has presided over the completion of 61 teardown-and-rebuild projects and single-family-home retrofits featuring installation in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+ With Maggos at the helm, the La Grange Park Fire Department has also conducted live fire/sprinkler demonstrations at its annual open house every year since 2001.


This education has paid off; in 2003, La Grange Park became the 13th community in Illinois to pass a sprinkler ordinance. (One-hundred communities in Illinois now have sprinkler ordinances.) The ordinance ensures that LaGrange has greatly increased the safety of both residents and firefighters.


 

Maggos has become a vocal sprinkler advocate, sharing his knowledge and experience with other fire officials through written articles and participation in Illinois fire service organizations. (In addition to his 13-year tenure with the La Grange Park Fire Department, Maggos has served as a fire investigator/inspector, deputy chief, and fire marshal with three other fire departments over the course of 28 years.) In 2009, Maggos worked with the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board  and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to conduct a live TV sprinkler demonstration for the CBS Early Show. A local home that was scheduled for fire training and demolition was used to showcase fire sprinkler protection. In contrast, prerecorded footage from a home in Brentwood, Tennessee, showed a flashover scenario. Maggos spoke with home improvement expert Danny Lipford on air (click on the link, and scroll down to the bottom of the page for this video) about the benefits of fire sprinklers as they stood in a room where a Christmas tree fire was simulated and the sprinkler system had activated.


Moreover, Maggos has developed a good rapport with Chicagoland’s building department associations while serving as LaGrange Park’s building department director. There have been fruitful fire safety discussions and ideas exchanged within these groups.  


As for advice, Maggos offers these pearls of wisdom: “In addition to working to get codes passed and fire sprinklers installed in new buildings, the fire service should take steps to salvage and reduce water damage. Make sure your basic equipment includes a variety of sprinkler flow stoppers. Make sure firefighters are trained in the most appropriate methods to stop or reduce water flow depending upon the type of system, such as using local control valves, shutting down fire pumps if necessary, and using a main or auxiliary drain to reduce pressure and flow from an activated sprinkler or damaged piping.”


 

Chief Maggos should be commended for using HFSC and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources, sprinkler demonstration trailers, side-by-side demos, and homes showcasing sprinkler operation. His concern for the people he serves is ingrained, and that concern is reflected in his ability to use every means possible to support and defend the hard-fought residential ordinance.


 

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.  


!http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief: Homebuilders "misinformed" about home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/315810934_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/315810934_80_80.jpg|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

!http://i.zemanta.com/317464557_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317464557_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Mayor hears convincing pitch for home fire sprinklers from fire chief, initiates local ordinance

 

+* !http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0be2ebc970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0be2ebc970c-320wi|alt=South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0be2ebc970c img-responsive!The South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition crafted the following call to action after a deadly series of house fires in late 2014. For readers looking to join the coalition, contact coalition chair Jonathan Jones. *+


During the week of Christmas, South Carolina lost a horrendous number of lives to residential fires. Eleven persons lost their lives in places that did not have the highest level of protection available, given current model code standards. Nine of these deaths occurred in one day, and five of the lives lost were under the age of 18. This heartbreaking loss of life makes the week of Christmas 2014 the deadliest week for fire fatalities in South Carolina in eight years. 


Whether living in multi- or single family dwellings, occupants deserve the highest standard of protection that can be provided. This level of safety is only accomplished by an unwritten partnership between the occupants, owners, builders, and the local fire service. This partnership ensures that the occupant employs best and safe practices in operating supplemental heating devices and ensures proper maintenance and operation of smoke detection devices; the owners ensure that, where appropriate, detection and alarm devices are installed and maintained; that buildings are built to the most modern minimal code; and that local fire departments strive to educate citizens of the dangers of fire.


In existing homes, it is even more important that these components be present, since age and condition play heavily on the life safety of a home. In new construction, adherence to minimal codes is a must if we are to prevent this type of tragedy from continually striking our state.


A code requirement that is omitted in South Carolina is the installation of home fire sprinkler suppression systems in new, one- and two-family dwellings. Had the occupancies involved in the December tragedies been equipped with fire suppression systems, the lives lost could have likely been prevented. 


Prices of these systems in South Carolina for new construction start at around $1 dollar per square foot.  For less than $2,000 in the construction of a typical South Carolina ranch-style home, a system can be installed that could have prevented these tragedies.


[NFPA research | http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/research.aspx] confirms that homes with fire sprinklers can significantly reduce home fire deaths by 80 percent and direct property damage by 70 percent. The device’s life-saving capability is the reason why all U.S. model building codes require fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family dwellings.


Smoke detectors let you know there is a problem.  Fire sprinklers deal with the problem, buying you precious time to get out. Smoke detectors, alone, are not enough. 


 

As an occupant, demand that fire suppression sprinkler systems be installed in your living spaces or exercise your right to choose a home that has fire sprinklers.  As an owner, research the application of these systems to prevent horrible losses. As a builder, become educated about the installation of these systems and ensure the customer is offered the cost-effective option.  As a fire department, educate the public on the operation and costs of these life saving systems.


!http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Mayor hears convincing pitch for home fire sprinklers from fire chief, initiates local ordinance

The sights and sounds of progress filled two homes in Hanover, Massachusetts, this week. Power saws sliced into wood, paint was slathered onto walls, nails pierced drywall. NFPA staffers were the muscle behind these activities that took place inside the homes. Another interior feature was what lured these volunteers to the homes in the first place.


 

The South Shore Habitat for Humanity, the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and other sprinkler advocates collaborated to fully sprinkler the homes in an effort to showcase installation ease and cost. Following the late 2014 installation, NFPA staff set foot on the site this week to begin the process of transforming the homes into livable spaces. By the end of the day, many were covered in wood dust, paint, and sweat--all signs of a hard day's work.


Watch the new video highlighting the team's work at the site:


 


For more details about this sprinkler build, check out this video:


 


  


!http://i.zemanta.com/316035164_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/316035164_80_80.jpg|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

!http://i.zemanta.com/316539419_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/316539419_80_80.jpg|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

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07d49d8d970d-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07d49d8d970d-800wi|alt=State legislators|title=State legislators|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07d49d8d970d image-full img-responsive!
New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan is looking to make 2015 the Year of the Sprinkler. 


 

In a recent op-ed for +The Berlin Daily Sun,+ Degnan encourages readers to make some New Year's resolutions that keep fire safety in mind. If building a new home, he states, demand sprinklers from your contractor. And take a more vocal stance in support of sprinkler requirements in whatever state you reside in. 


 

"We are constructing homes with more flammable materials and then filling them with more combustible contents and open space than ever before," states Degnan. "Resolve that you will write to your congressional delegation in 2015 and ask them to strengthen the fire safety requirements for consumer and building products. Resolve to work with your local legislators to strengthen your building and fire codes, including a requirement for residential fire sprinklers in all new construction."


 

Need some assistance fulfilling Degnan's request? Use one of NFPA's templates to craft convincing, fact-based pitches for sprinklers to elected officials. 


!http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317924240_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Deadly blaze underscores Connecticut's home fire problem and growing group of safety advocates working towards a solution

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c72fccee970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c72fccee970b-320wi|alt=Kevin Gallagher|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Kevin Gallagher|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c72fccee970b img-responsive!There's a push in Massachusetts to preserve and strengthen the state's sprinkler requirements, and advocates there once again have an important player working on their side. 


 

During his final days in office, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reappointed Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher to the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), an 11-member group that adopts building regulations and administers provisions of the state building code. Gallagher, who represents the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts on the BBRS and is fire chief with the Acushnet Fire and EMS Department, is a staunch supporter of home fire sprinklers; he and the members of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition  have fought against the adoption of a draft white paper produced by the BBRS that considers reducing fire protection measures in new residences. 


Moreover, Gallagher voiced his concerns with the BBRS when it was considering changing the definition of a nightclub. Fire officials worried that altering the definition could create a loophole that could allow some clubs to sidestep sprinkler provisions.


"Chief Gallagher always makes decisions based upon the fire safety of building occupants and for the firefighters who may be required to respond to those buildings," says Tim Travers, residential fire sprinkler specialist with NFPA. "He continues, against vocal opposition, to advocate for residential sprinklers at the state and local level.  His reappointment to the Board will help maintain that strong fire service presence."  


 

Gallagher isn't the only fire safety voice on the BBRS; Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, who was recently featured in +NFPA Journal+ for his tireless support for sprinklers, is also a member. 


 

Keep tabs on additional sprinkler news from the Bay State by visiting the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition page.           


!http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/320274086_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New home sprinkler requirement in Minnesota takes effect this month

!http://i.zemanta.com/319739128_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319739128_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Texas fire in unsprinklered building claims five lives

!http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/317428628_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Mayor hears convincing pitch for home fire sprinklers from fire chief, initiates local ordinance

!http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/319084048_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief: Homebuilders "misinformed" about home fire sprinklers

Minnesota StateStrong, public support for home fire sprinklers by Minnesota fire service officials and the state's governor has paid off. A mandatory provision to sprinkler all of the state's new homes larger than 4,500 square feet takes effect this month.

For years, sprinkler opponents have attempted to thwart such requirements through the Minnesota State Legislature, which passed bills in 2011 and 2012 prohibiting new sprinkler mandates in the state's building code. Governor Mark Dayton, however, vetoed both bills. 

The state's Department of Labor and Industry has been looking to incorporate more stringent sprinkler provisions in the code, which already requires sprinklers in two-family dwellings and townhomes of a certain size. When interviewed by NFPA Journal in 2013, Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson addressed concerns posed by the state's homebuilding industry. "I’m not sure about their point asserting that newer homes are less prone to fires than older homes," he said. "I haven’t seen strong data on that. In terms of cost, the cost of sprinkler installation has come down. Costs are important and we don’t want to trivialize them. But in larger homes, I don’t think the cost [of installing sprinklers] is that significant to discourage someone from purchasing a home, particularly when you weigh that against the potential threat to life and property." According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the average cost for installation in Minnesota is $1.51 per square foot. 

In a recent news story highlighting the new requirement, Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen cited an August 2014 house fire where sprinklers could have altered the outcome. Since nobody was in the home, 911 wasn't called. Firefighters finally arrived to the scene, at which point the home was fully engulfed in flames. "The sprinkler would have held that fire in check," said Esbensen.

The sprinkler requirement takes effect on January 24. For more information, download this fact sheet produced by the Department of Labor and Industry.

Top 10 sprinkler stories in 2014For your viewing pleasure, here's a David Letterman-inspired countdown.

We've determined the most popular posts from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog in 2014. Many thanks to our regular readers, commenters, and social media mavens who have made this blog a popular destination for sprinkler news. Expect to see more of what interests you in 2015!

And remember: we're always looking for new news to highlight. If anything sprinkler-related crosses your desk or catches your eye, feel free to send it my way so I can highlight it for the good of our growing army of online sprinkler advocates. 

Without further ado, here's the list. Drumroll please:

10. Fiery display in Detroit showcases importance of home fire sprinklers

9. Addressing freeze protection in NFPA 13D 

8. Father and daughter's tragic fire death prompt Washington sprinkler advocates to action

7. Study: Residential sprinklers crucial for preventing death and property damage no matter the building material

6. Powerful op-ed on child fire deaths also makes a poignant plea for sprinklers

5. Thesis combats arguments made by home fire sprinkler opponents

4. A tale of two house fires, one involving sprinklers and one without

3. Fire chief: Homebuilders are "misinformed" about home fire sprinklers

2. Fire chief's stance on home fire sprinklers leads to sprinkler ordinance

1. Get ready for the (sprinklered) home of the future

Texas Fire Sprinkler CoalitionA fire at a senior housing complex that killed five people has recharged discussions on the need for the adoption of current building codes and automatic fire sprinklers.

According to Firehouse.com, the December incident occurred in a high-rise, senior living apartment complex in Castle Hills, Texas. The fire in the unsprinklered building killed five people. (The report adds that a sixth person who was living in the building has also died, but a city manager did not attribute the 71-year-old woman's death to the fire.) 

Sprinkler advocates across North America are underscoring this tragedy to demand sprinkler requirements in all settings, including one- and two-family homes. "Our hope is that this event will help Texas policymakers understand the important role that codes play in keeping citizens safe," says Vickie Pritchett, director of Public Fire Protection for the National Fire Sprinkler Association and facilitator for Common Voices, an advocacy coalition whose members have all been directly impacted by fire. "It's time for local communities to be able to adopt code requirements that include fire sprinklers. The lives of Texans are depending on it." According to NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site, local jurisdictions in Texas may not enforce sprinkler provisions unless they have had sprinkler ordinances in place on January 1, 2009.

Justina Page, a member of Common Voices from Texas and one of NFPA's Faces of Fire, is familiar with the pain and loss associated with fire; she lost her 22-month-old soon and was injured in a 1999 house fire. "These events are preventable," says Page. "Technology exists and current codes should be in place to make sure people don't die and that they aren't scared for their life." 

Pritchett notes that the Castle Hills fire is the second deadly fire in Texas in December involving senior living apartments. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 160 residential fire deaths in Texas were reported by the media in 2014. 

Take a stance in support of home fire sprinklers; join the Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition or one in your state today.

Watch the following video of Justina Page describing the fire that changed her life: 

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