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Capt. James Culbertson with the Ventnor City Fire Department in New Jersey offered a well-written response, panning a new bill that would require sprinklers in new homes.

 

Here's a point-counterpoint synopsis of both editorials:

 

Opponent argument:"The New Jersey Builders Association figures mandating sprinkler systems would add $6,000 to the cost of a new home"

 

Culbertson's response: "The editorial states home fire sprinkler systems are a considerable cost. What would considerable cost be to the six people who perished in the recent Maryland, fire?

How about all of the many civilians and firefighters injured and killed over the years?

 

The difference between a $200,000 and $206,000 home with a 30-year mortgage at five-percent interest is approximately $1 per day. Many of us spend more than this for a cup of coffee each day."

 

Opponent argument:"There are also possible downsides to sprinkler systems, which can cause water damage out of proportion to a fire's threat. A sprinkler valve froze and burst recently at the Pathmark in Ventnor Heights."

 

Culbertson's response:"The pipe that broke was located in an unheated, uninsulated entry foyer. If sufficient heat, insulation, or sprinkler equipment designed for temperatures below freezing are in place, it's doubtful this would have occurred.

 

Opponent argument: "Homeowners should be allowed to decide if they want sprinklers or not."

 

Culbertson's response: "Government overreach as well as the interests of those with economic priorities are certainly factors in the discussion. However, everyone should understand that the interest of the fire service is purely civilian and fire safety and property loss control. Legislators, government officials, and homeowners should make it a point to talk with someone in the fire service before making decisions."

The Connecticut General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee held a public hearing recently in West Hartford on a new bill that would require sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. NFPA joined an army of sprinkler advocates to testify in support of the measure.

 

What surprised NFPA Regional Director Bob Duval, who offered statistical data on the impact of fire at the committee hearing, was the level of support for this bill from the state's politicians at the meeting. "State Rep. Stephen Dargan who chairs the committee said in the meeting's opening statements that he was in support of the bill," Duval tells NFPA. "He attended a side-by-side demonstration by the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

 

It was a very strong visual. He said the time for this requirement is now. Duval adds that West Hartford's mayor, Scott Slifka, was also in attendance and voiced his support for the bill.

 

Also at the hearing was the Connecticut Fire Marshals Association, Connecticut Fire Chief's Association, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, sprinkler fitters, plumbers, and Keith Flood, chair of the Connecticut coalition. Adding poignancy to the hearing was a woman who lost her home in a house fire. "Her husband's a firefighter, and neither one of them were home when the place caught fire,"says Duval. "When she returned home, she felt so hopeless while watching it burn."

 

A Norwalk firefighter also testified, noting how he cost effectively sprinklered his home."As for sprinkler opponents, Duval says they offered the same rhetoric heard across North America." They said older construction is where the fires occur, new homes don't burn."(Research by NFPA and others counters this statement.) A video of the hearing is available for viewing.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07f83ceb970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07f83ceb970d-320wi|alt=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07f83ceb970d img-responsive!The Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition is giving you the chance to get acquainted with key experts and allies in the home fire sprinkler arena. Register today for the coalition's first sprinkler summit, March 10 in Columbia, Missouri. You'll hear from:


Longtime sprinkler advocate Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board

Peg Paul from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

    1. Local fire service experts discussing key fires in Missouri, firefighter safety, and the importance of sprinklers

    2. NFPA sprinkler specialists


...and many more. 


 

Attendees can earn continuing education units for Fire Inspector Certification through the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. Discounted registration is available before March 6. For all details, visit the summit's registration page.


!http://i.zemanta.com/325157112_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/325157112_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

Following a devastating, residential fire in New Jersey that spotlighted the dangers of lightweight construction

when it displaced more than 1,000 people, the developer plans to include sprinklers and other fire protection systems in its future developments.

 

Per an article in the Times of Trenton, AvalonBay, which built the 408-unit complex in Edgewater, will include more sprinklers and other safety features in its future housing developments in Maplewood and Princeton, New Jersey. "I've said all along that this is in their best interest to go above and beyond the current code, given what happened in Edgewater, so I do think this is a positive development," Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert told the paper.

 

If one legislator gets his way, homes across the Garden State will be protected by these safety measures, particularly home fire sprinklers. As a recent guest columnist for The Star-Ledger, New Jersey State Assemblyman John Wisniewski defended his decision to reintroduce the New Home Fire Safety Act, which would require sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. Last legislative session, the bill passed the New Jersey Assembly and Senate, but Gov. Chris Christie refused to sign the bill.

 

"The images of the Edgewater fire raging and the building collapsing in on itself are haunting," Wisniewski states in the opinion piece. "What's more haunting is to think what could have happened if everyone wasn't able to escape.&

 

"We all need to educate ourselves about fire safety ... and the benefits of residential fire sprinkler systems. And if you agree with me and support the New Home Fire Safety Act, contact your elected officials. This time, let the Edgewater fire be a catalyst for change. Let's not wait for another tragedy where lives may be lost."

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0da6bef970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0da6bef970c-320wi|alt=Fire hose|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire hose|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0da6bef970c img-responsive!As the size of today's homes continues to grow, so do the number of fire-safety risks associated with these dwellings.


 

Highlighted in a recent story in North Carolina's +The Herald Weekly,+ the state's fire service has been strategizing how best to protect these large homes if catastrophe occurs. Among the common concernslarger open floor plans and how fire reacts to lightweight construction materials, to name a feware limited water supplies and low water pressure. 


"While all houses pose fire threats, larger homes have a different set of challenges," states the article. "For one, simply by how many gallons of water are needed per minute to contain it. The rule of thumb is length times width divided by three. That’s a disadvantage from the onset because of narrow streets with restricted access for many fire trucks, limited water supplies through small waterlines, and hydrants offering low gallons per minute not built for the needed flow. They were installed when the area had smaller vacation homes that may have only needed 1,000 gallons at a time as compared to the 10,000-30,000-square-foot homes now built in the same place."


 

A simple solution, the article notes, is sprinklers. These devices can significantly slash the amount of water needed to fight a fire. Read the full article for additional information, and check out the interactive tool created by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition that compares water typically used by a fire hose vs. sprinklers.


!http://i.zemanta.com/326140795_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/326140795_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Registration now open for noteworthy sprinkler summit in Missouri

!http://i.zemanta.com/325157112_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/325157112_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0d9bbed970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0d9bbed970c-320wi|alt=Sprinkler infographic|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sprinkler infographic|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0d9bbed970c img-responsive!You might be aware of the importance of home fire sprinklers, but how do you go about convincing others?


 

Complementing the array of free resources available on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site is the new, full-color infographic, an eye-catching advocacy tool that tells others the right points to hit on when making a case for home fire sprinklers. There's information on the U.S. home fire problem, false claims about the safety of new homes, installation cost, dispelling myths, and more.


 

Download a free copy of the infographic today, and let us know how you'll be using it!


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_58_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_58_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Meet burn survivor Jeff Jordan, an important voice in the push for home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_128_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_128_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!A frank conversation with Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, chair of America's newest sprinkler coalition

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07f299b3970d-800wi.jpg

I won't spend too much time describing the following video, since I don't want to take away from its powerful message. What I will say is that we have another important sprinkler advocate on our side.

Jeff Jordan is the newest member of Common Voices, an advocate's coalition determined to create a fire-safe America. A crucial component of the group's advocacy work is underscoring home fire sprinklers. (Pam Elliott, another Common Voices member, spoke at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit last year.) Jeff has turned his tragedy into a moving call to action. Please share his story.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74edfbb970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74edfbb970b-320wi|alt=Firefighter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Firefighter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74edfbb970b img-responsive!"This smoke detector could have prevented this fire death," said past fire chiefs as they held up the fire safety device for reporters. When fire officials make such powerful statements immediately following a major fire, especially if an occupant suffered a burn injury or was killed, they get the full attention of the public.  


 

Of course, the important role smoke detectors play in notifying people of a growing fire is a well-used message in the fire service’s public education efforts. (Per NFPA, working smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a reported fire by half. ) But imagine the impact if fire officials also held up a fire sprinkler and stated, “When smoke detectors are combined with sprinklers, the risk of dying in a home fire decreases by 80 percent.”


 

One may think that the fire service is very aware of the life-saving benefits of fire sprinklers.  As a popular TV commercial for an insurance company states, “Everybody knows that.” But is that the case?  In my humble estimation, not by a long shot. Fire sprinkler advocates need to continuously educate firefighters and other fire officials while educating the public and elected officials. 


 

That’s not to say that there have not already been continuous efforts made in the last decade or two. First there was Operation Life Safety, then the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the International Residential Coalition, and now NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative. All are working hard to disseminate the fire sprinkler concept.


 

NFPA is fully committed to fire safety; the statistics, documents, reports, and programs are all in place. All that is needed is the initiative by fire sprinkler advocates to increase public education in their communities. To do this, each and every fire official needs to be ready with a fire sprinkler and a smoke alarm in their turnout gear pocket at all times.


 

Whether at a fire scene or a public education presentation, fire officials can customize the statement any way they choose, but the comments should be based on NFPA-researched facts and documented reports. The media will take it from there. The use of the props usually results in a photograph or video to accompany the quote, which helps the public associate an image with the facts.


 

When I have been interviewed following high-rise fires in Chicago, I’ve always carried a couple of fire sprinklers with me, along with a copy of NFPA 101, +Life Safety Code+®+.+ The TV segment showed the props, and photographers used the images for newspapers and accompanying websites. It helped start the conversation about sprinklers.


 

Every fire, though an unfortunate situation, is an opportunity to get the undivided attention of the public, the media, and decision-makers. Fire officials who believe in the model codes and the importance of Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #15 should not miss the educational opportunity presented by each fire. The media should be presented with a home fire sprinkler and smoke alarm. It takes two — both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers — to save lives and get the message across.   


 

If you need a fire sprinkler, I’ll be glad to send one. Email me.  


 

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/noimg_47_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_47_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Advocacy alert: Tell New York code council to support home fire sprinklers

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74ca075970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74ca075970b-320wi|alt=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74ca075970b img-responsive!We've recently reported that New Jersey legislators have been busy filing fire safety bills, including one that would require home fire sprinklers, after a devastating fire displaced more than 1,000 people. 


 

Pro-sprinkler sentiment appears to be spreading beyond New Jersey's borders, as Connecticut politicians recently filed their own bill requiring sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for February 19. 


 

Announcing its formation to the public last year, the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition invited state Rep. Stephen Dargan to speak at its inaugural event. Dargan chairs the Public Safety and Security Committee, which introduced the sprinkler bill.


 

In a recent article for the +New Haven Register,+ coalition Chair Keith Flood praised the bill, noting that requiring protection of this caliber in Connecticut homes is long overdue. 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. "Let's stop killing individuals, let's stop killing firefighters," he told the publication.


 Watch Flood narrate a sprinkler activation in the following video:


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_59_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_59_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Massive New Jersey fire places home fire sprinkler bill on fast track

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_126_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_126_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Sprinklers kept fire in check at Washington State apartment complex

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07ef6841970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07ef6841970d-320wi|alt=California Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=California Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07ef6841970d img-responsive!Julie Frasure, co-chair of the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition, forwarded us a great sprinkler save that showcases the power of these devices (and a post-holiday reminder that dried-out Christmas trees are a significant fire hazard).


Last month, the Santa Monica Fire Department made entry into a residence with a reported fire via its second-story balcony. Several factors caused the fire, including a dry, non-watered tree and a possible short in the string of decorative lights, according to a news release by the fire department. A resident suffered second-degree burns while attempting to move the burning tree to the building's exterior.


What limited structural damage, per the release, was an "aggressive attack" by firefighters and the residence's fire sprinklers. "This fire represents the need and exemplary use of fire sprinklers as they controlled the fire until firefighters arrived," stated the release. No firefighters were injured during their response. 


 

Looking for additional examples of sprinklers in action? Download NFPA's popular report "Sprinkler Successes in One- and Two-Family Homes and Apartments."


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_28_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_28_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Maryland house fire claiming grandparents and four children brings sprinklers to the forefront

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_80_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_80_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!A frank conversation with Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, chair of America's newest sprinkler coalition

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74a553a970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74a553a970b-320wi|alt=NJ Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=NJ Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74a553a970b img-responsive!The danger of lightweight construction under fire was placed in the national spotlight last month when a residential complex in Edgewater, New Jersey, constructed with this material went up in flames. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities, but more than 1,000 people were displaced, per the Associated Press. The residence's sprinklers operated as intended and were crucial in getting occupants to safety in ample time.


Following this event, New Jersey legislators have been busy drafting legislation to better safeguard homes and occupants from fire. A Republican assemblyman, for instance, has drafted a bill that would freeze permits on multi-family buildings made with lightweight construction, states the AP news story. Noting the enormous popularity of this engineered wood material, another assemblyman is calling for what he believes is a more feasible approach.


"The horse is out of the barn on lightweight construction; it's the state of the art in building today," Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who chairs the New Jersey Fire Safety Commission, told the AP. "It would be impossible to mandate construction with non-lightweight material at this point in time. But we have the necessary augmentation to lightweight construction, and that is sprinkler systems."


 

A NJ.com article states that a bill sponsored by Wisniewski to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes has been approved by the state's Senate Budget Committee. There has been no action on the bill since it passed the Assembly in June, but the recent Edgewater fire "fast tracked" the bill to the budget committee, its final destination before a Senate vote, states the article. A similar bill in 2013 passed the state Assembly and Senate, but was pocket vetoed by Governor Chris Christie in 2014.


 

"I have found throughout the years of my trying to get residential sprinkler systems in homes that this has become a political issue," Richard Silva, president of the New Jersey State Fire and Protection Association and a member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition, told NJ.com. "And it upsets me terribly. Because we're losing 50 to 60 residents every year to residential structure fires."


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_103_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_103_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://i.zemanta.com/noimg_48_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_48_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Deadly finale to 2014 in South Carolina prompts rallying cry for home fire sprinkler requirements

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c749a292970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c749a292970b-800wi|alt=Home fire sprinklers|title=Home fire sprinklers|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c749a292970b image-full img-responsive!
The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council is considering the adoption of the 2015 +International Residential Code (IRC), +including the provision to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes. In advance of their vote, the New York State Builders Association sent out an email to its membership, which included the following: 


"Homebuilders will always support stringent fire safety code changes when they make sense, such as hard-wired, battery operated, smoke alarms. However, as a society, we cannot afford to deny needed housing for the sake of new requirements without proven benefits. While they should remain an option for homeowners who choose them, fire sprinklers in single-family homes are expensive to install, can be difficult to maintain, and do not represent a cost-effective safety improvement over smoke alarm systems."


 

Setting the record straight about sprinklers, the Build Safe New York Alliance, a group consisting of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, and others are urging the Code Council to adopt the 2015 IRC in its entirety, including the sprinkler requirement. The alliance has set up an online call to action for emergency responders and other fire safety advocates to show their support for the sprinkler requirement.


Here are some points to share with the Code Council or other sprinkler opponents in New York or your state:


The "proven benefits" of sprinklers that the New York State Builders Association questions can be verified by NFPA; sprinklers, for instance, cut the risk of dying in home fires by 80 percent. 

As for the claim that sprinklers are "difficult to maintain," the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition's (HFSC) "Living With Sprinklers" page notes that home fire sprinkler maintenance couldn't be easier.

    1. Yes, the builder's association is correct in stating that smoke alarm code requirements make sense, but these devices don't have the power to extinguish a fire. Sprinklers are the only technology that rapidly responds to fire, giving occupants ample time to escape a blaze.

While sprinkler costs vary from state to state, the general consensus is that sprinkler installation is a mere one percent of the cost of a new home. In communities and states that have taken action to require sprinklers, installation costs have decreased over time, per NFPA's 2013 sprinkler cost study.  

Sprinkler opponents also claim that home fire sprinklers aren't a desirable option for homeowners, yet a recent study conducted on behalf of HFSC (don't forget to download the related infographic) notes that most homeowners said they're more likely to buy a home with sprinklers than without them. 


 

Let NFPA help you bust the myths associated with home fire sprinklers via its Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources. And show your support for sprinklers in New York by telling the Code Council that sprinklers make sense.

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_101_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_101_80_80.jpg|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/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

Idaho Habitat For HumanityWant to convince the next generation of homebuilders that sprinklers are a vital component to their creations? Here's an ingenious idea out of Idaho. 

Three high schools in the city of Nampa are participating in a construction management program that teach young participants homebuilding basics. A crucial piece to this program is home fire sprinklers, linking tomorrow's builders with vital information and hands-on installation.

NFPA chatted with Reggie Edwards, deputy fire marshal with the Nampa Fire Department and member of the Idaho Fire Sprinkler Coalition, about the program and the beneficial consequences of replicating something similar for youth across North America. 

What's the crux of this program? 

The students in this program have aspirations of working in the trades. Many express that they want to become building contractors. The instructor, Bret Miller, is a licensed building contractor. Through his partnership with Habitat For Humanity, students build a home from start to finish. They learn about acquiring the property, drawing and designing the plans, the permit process, and every step along the way up to handing over the keys to the new homeowners. 

How were home fire sprinklers incorporated into this program?

About five years ago during a brainstorming session at a monthly Idaho Fire Sprinkler Coalition meeting, we brought up the question: How are we going to change the hearts and minds of building contractors and their perception of residential fire sprinklers? The Idaho Building Contractors Association has historically been very opposed to residential fire sprinklers and are a very powerful lobby at our legislature.

A light bulb eventually went off. Pro-tech students are a very focused group of youth that want to be building contractors. Let's educate and train them [on sprinklers], dispel the myths, let them be a part of the installation that very well may save the lives of the occupants. When they become adults, they will embrace residential fire sprinklers, encourage adoption in local codes, and most likely install them in all the homes they build.

If we were to do this nationwide, the culture will change. Residential fire sprinklers will be the norm and accepted just as smoke detectors are today.

Idaho Fire Sprinkler CoalitionWhat followed your "light bulb" moment?

I visited local fire sprinkler companies, explained the program to them, and asked for their support. The support was overwhelming. Sprinkler companies were clamoring to be involved and donated parts, pipefitters, designs, and plans. I then approached the school district and asked for permission to place fire sprinklers into the construction management curriculum. It was immediately approved. With help from the Nampa Fire Prevention Bureau, I developed and delivered classroom presentations on all types of fire sprinklers systems. I was initially concerned about how it would be received by the students, but the students provided great questions and displayed great interest.

Coincidentally, a local fire sprinkler company has two employees whose family was a recipient of a local Habitat for Humanity home. It was an immediate partnership. Companies are already calling me because they want to be first in line to donate parts or services for the next house.

On installation day, the students are very hands-on. Their involvement and enthusiasm has been awesome. Every year, at the end of the school calendar year, the Nampa Fire Prevention Bureau and the Idaho Fire Protection Forum host a fire sprinkler demonstration at our drill grounds. The construction management students are the honored guests at this event. They get to meet and greet industry leaders, local politicians, and authorities having jurisdiction from throughout the region. They get to see the benefits of their work. 

How's the program going?

It's really taken off. We've worked on four Habitat For Humanity homes thus far. 

Maybe we will change the way the next generation of homebuilders thinks. I’m really encouraged. I just wish more local fire departments would partner with their school's pro-tech programs. It takes time, effort, and someone with the passion. But the long-term benefits are worth it.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e87334970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e87334970d-320wi|alt=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e87334970d img-responsive!The Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition will host its first Missouri Sprinkler Summit on March 10 in Columbia, Missouri. The daylong program will be beneficial to anyone having a stake in the issue of fire sprinklers in Missouri, and will be especially beneficial at educating fire service personnel on the subject.


Summit highlights include:


    • overview of the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition

overview of sprinkler standards, including NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes

    1. the homebuilders' perspective on home fire sprinklers

    2. building partnerships and coalitions to promote sprinklers

    3. education and advocacy

    4. firefighter tactics, firefighter safety, and home fire sprinklers

    5. side-by-side live burn/sprinkler demonstration


 

Early registration for the summit is $40 (plus applicable processing fees) if purchased online before March 6. Registration will be $50 on the day of the event for those not registered in advance. To register, visit the coalition's website.


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_44_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_44_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://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_72_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e7a673970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e7a673970d-320wi|alt=Silver sprinkler angle|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Silver sprinkler angle|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e7a673970d img-responsive!Amid the number of products displayed at the recent International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, a theme had emerged: protecting homes from all types of disasters is becoming easier and more affordable. 


 

"It's like a perfect storm" of better consumer information ... and a growing supply of products, Leslie Chapman-Henderson with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc., told +The Wall Street Journal.+ The alliance is a nonprofit aimed at strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters via partnerships with the public and private sector.


 

Sprinklers are a crucial component of a "disaster-ready" home, noted the article. These devices were on display at the show, where companies and advocates highlighted their aesthetic appeal and necessity in new homes composed of today's lightweight construction materials, which have a dangerous reaction to fire. Representatives from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition were also on hand to educate attendees on why sprinklers make sense in new homes. 


 

Similar to emergency generators and "safe rooms" that withstand hurricane-force winds, sprinkler technology is readily available and can significantly mitigate loss from one of North America's most prevalent disasters. Read the complete article for more information.


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_48_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_48_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Deadly finale to 2014 in South Carolina prompts rallying cry for home fire sprinkler requirements

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_98_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_98_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

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