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2015

Jeff Bolsinger
I met Jeff Bolsinger during an NFPA video shoot in February. Mild-mannered and friendly, Bolsinger willingly participated in a case study on the new Homestead at Hartness development in Greenville, South Carolina, where all 140 of its homes are fully sprinklered. He admitted he wasn’t knowledgeable about fire sprinklers before becoming a Homestead resident last August, but was slowly understanding why they’re backed by his local fire department.

A couple months later, I emailed Jeff to thank him for his contribution and to alert him of the completed case study. That’s when he opened up about his family tragedy. About 20 years ago, his wife, Terri, lost her father, grandmother, and teenaged brother from a fire in their Florida home. Investigators speculate that an unattended cigarette was the culprit of the fire, which quickly trapped them in the house. There was no exiting the front door or side door,” Jeff told me during a recent phone interview. “The back door wasn’t accessible. The fire had blocked the exits. They couldn’t get out of the windows. They were trapped. By the time the fire trucks were there, it was over.”

Following the tragedy, Jeff and his family grappled with the fragility of human life. “Losing family members not from health issues is hard,” he says. “You think about what you should have done and could have done.”

Even though Jeff, his wife, and two teenaged children live in a sprinklered home, he can’t help but wonder how a fire might affect them if they didn't have this protection. “We have one stairwell,” he said. “Now, I think about a fire evacuation. There’s no easy way to exit the upstairs [if the stairway is compromised] unless you jump [from the windows].

“I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want them in your home. I’m an advocate now. When I build a house, I’m going to install them. If people aren’t going to think about how to protect themselves in this fashion, maybe the government should take a closer look at mandating it.”

As for the sprinklers in his home, Jeff has given them a nickname: His family’s “guardian angels.”

Act-Now-small

Watch the video case study including Jeff, which underscores how developers can cost-effectively sprinkler new homes:

Sprinkler advocates
Through its Bringing Safety Home Grant Program, NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative awarded sprinkler advocates across North America up to $10,000 apiece for advocacy and educational efforts.

The recipients are highlighted in the latest issue of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. Also underscored in this issue are stories on:

  • a recent radio program that tackled the topic of home fire sprinkler costs
  • a father's emotional push for sprinkler laws following his daughter's death
  • a town making history by sprinklering its first home


Act-Now-small
Subscribe today to receive the monthly newsletter directly to your inbox. This free publication keeps you up-to-date on sprinkler news from across North America. Already a subscriber? Please forward the subscribe link and make sure others are they're getting their monthly dose of important sprinkler news.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a49f23970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a49f23970b-800wi|alt=Sprinkler demo|title=Sprinkler demo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a49f23970b image-full img-responsive!
Looking for an effective approach to home fire sprinkler advocacy? Pay close attention to the efforts made by the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition. 


 

Coalition members turned out in droves to a recent public hearing on a sprinkler bill introduced by state Rep. Ruth Balser and Sen. Kenneth Donnelly and another sponsored by state Rep. Michael Brady. Balser, who spoke at the public hearing and at summits initiated by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, has been a vocal ally in the push for sprinkler requirements in Massachusetts. 


 

Joining Balser at the hearing were staff from NFPA and the National Fire Sprinkler Asssociation, staunch sprinkler supporter State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, state fire service organizations, and the burn survivor community, including Paul Machado, the newest member of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's Faces of Fire Campaign. Machado was injured while responding to a 2013 home fire in Fall River, Massachusetts.


!http://a3.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a49ee3970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://a3.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a49ee3970b-800wi|alt=Sprinkler bill hearing|title=Sprinkler bill hearing|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a49ee3970b image-full img-responsive!

Members of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition testified in support of home fire sprinkler bills during a recent legislative hearing.



Advocates were rallying behind the Balser/Donnelly bill, which gives towns the option to require sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes, and Brady's bill, which would require sprinklers in these settings statewide. The rallying didn't stop there.


 

Grabbing the attention of other legislators, the coalition initiated a live burn/sprinkler demonstration on June 23 in Boston, giving about 100 lawmakers and attendees an alarming glimpse of the brevity of fire spread. Narrating the event was NFPA Regional Sprinkler Specialist Tim Travers. "New homes and new home furnishings are burning faster than ever before," Travers told +The Boston Globe+ and other news outlets attending the event. 


Here are other photos from the event:


!http://a0.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb0848b2a8970d-800wi|border=0|src=http://a0.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb0848b2a8970d-800wi|alt=Tim Travers|title=Tim Travers|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb0848b2a8970d image-full img-responsive!

NFPA's Tim Travers narrates the live burn/sprinkler demonstration.



 


!http://a1.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b8d12e10c9970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://a1.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b8d12e10c9970c-800wi|alt=Sprinkler activation|title=Sprinkler activation|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b8d12e10c9970c image-full img-responsive!

Firefighters use minimal water to extinguish what is left of a fire inside a sprinklered structure.



!http://i.zemanta.com/342168566_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/342168566_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Firefighter, home fire sprinkler advocate Paul Machado tells tale of survival

!http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA president joins Massachusetts state fire marshal in lauding national sprinkler efforts

!http://i.zemanta.com/346746368_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/346746368_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA team interviewed by radio program to set the record straight about home fire sprinklers

Presenters From Worcester Polytechnic Institute
An engaged audience heard from two graduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) who developed a project underscoring the damaging effects of fire on the environment.

Initiated by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the project reviewed more than 100 pieces of literature to underscore previous studies on this issue and any research gaps. The Foundation's research report, "The Environmental Impact on Fire," summarizes these findings.

During an education session at NFPA's Conference and Expo, WPI graduate students Drew Martin and Mai Tomida highlighted a few high-profile fires, including the Kuwaiti oil fires that resulted from Iraq's invasion into Kuwait in 1990, and the environmental damage from these events. Findings from this project also underscore the effectiveness of sprinklers in significantly reducing an array of environmental pollutants.

Martin noted the landmark study developed by FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) that determined home fire sprinklers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98 percent and significantly cut water pollution released into the environment.

The presenters also identified research gaps, including difficulty in understanding the true impact of building contents during a fire and the lack of a standardized system to record environmental data globally. One idea they had to bolster this data was a "fire department risk-assessment tool to help departments assess risk with a clear instruction about intervention techniques ... that take the environment into consideration," said Martin.

Following the presentation, audience members were curious about the possibility of a follow-up research project. Moderating the session was Amanda Kimball, the Foundation's research project manager, who said the Foundation is currently discussing the scope of a new study. Researchers were also keen on incorporating the human impact of fire into additional research.

Watch the following video detailing the FM Global/HFSC environmental study:

!http://a2.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2d712970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://a2.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2d712970b-800wi|alt=Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition|title=Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2d712970b image-full img-responsive!

NFPA President Jim Pauley presents a $10,000 check to the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who received one of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative grants.




More than 100 members of the Illinois fire and building community attended a special event at NFPA's Conference and Expo in Chicago, linking them with important information on the national push for home fire sprinklers.  


 

The home fire sprinkler component of the event, named Illinois Fire and Building Officials Day, began with a special appearance by NFPA President Jim Pauley, who congratulated members of theIllinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition on their efforts in obtaining sprinkler ordinances in close to 100 communities. He also presented a ceremonial $10,000 check to the coalition, one of the recipients of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Grant. "I came here to say thank you," said Pauley. "Your advocacy work does not go unrecognized by NFPA."


 

Also honored at the event were more than 10 local communities who have recently adopted a sprinkler ordinance in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+


 

Furthering Illinois' commitment to the cause, Peg Paul with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) told attendees that 185 Illinois fire departmentsthe highest number in any stateare Built For Life Fire Departments. This program encourages all U.S. fire departments to focus on home fire sprinklers during community outreach. What's also needed is encouraging sprinkler acceptance early on in a firefighter's career, said Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and Fire Sprinkler Initiative blogger, who hosted the event. 


!http://a0.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2da70970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://a0.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2da70970b-800wi|alt=Illinois-sprinkler-adoption|title=Illinois-sprinkler-adoption|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c7a2da70970b image-full img-responsive!

Illinois officials who had a hand in passing a sprinkler ordinance were honored at the event



 

Lia also distributed sprinkler heads to the group, urging fire service officials to showcase these devices along with smoke alarms following home fires and during public educational outings. Using free resources from America's partnering organizations avoids reinventing the wheel, he added. "We need to be taking advantage of everything from NFPA, HFSC, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA)."


 

Highlighting the latter, NFSA's Vickie Pritchett underscored the importance of utilizing the burn survivor community for advocacy efforts. A founding member of Common Voices, an advocacy coalition dedicated to a fire-safe America, Pritchett highlighted a video of new member Jeff Jordan, who was burned in a home fire when only weeks old. 


 

Giving a broader outlook of home fire sprinkler acceptance outside of Illinois was NFPA Regional Sprinkler Specialist Jeff Hudson, who underscored the25 U.S. state sprinkler coalitions. This movement, he said, underscores a rising tide of support for these devices.


!http://i.zemanta.com/347915583_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/347915583_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!How does the insurance industry view 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%;!Indiana home showcases future of residential fire protection

!http://i.zemanta.com/346927263_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/346927263_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Two prominent fire service groups join the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_127_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_127_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Have a favorite movie that gets fire sprinklers all wrong? Tell us

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a167f3970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a167f3970b-320wi|alt=Jeff Hudson|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Jeff Hudson|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7a167f3970b img-responsive!Curious about advocating for home fire sprinklers in your state or region, but don't know where to start? Or, would you like to learn how sprinklers can dramatically reduce the risk of dying in fires at home, the place where most fire deaths in America continue to occur?


 

Swing by the NFPA booth during NFPA's Conference and Expo and chat with NFPA's Regional Sprinkler Specialist, Jeff Hudson, who will be on hand to answer questions about your state's sprinkler requirements, free resources available through NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, and ways you can start advocating for home fire sprinklers via some easy steps.


The Expo hours are:


    • Monday, June 22, 4-8 p.m.

    • Tuesday, June 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

    • Wednesday, June 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Swing by and say hello to Jeff when you get the chance.


!http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights essay receiving national attention for its strong stance on home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/347277847_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/347277847_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA announces recipients of its Fire Sprinkler Initiative Grant Program
!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert
!http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Effective advocacy tips from assistant fire chief who has spent years promoting home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/347915583_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/347915583_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!How does the insurance industry view home fire sprinklers?

Connecticut Fire Sprinkler CoalitionKeeping a safe distance from a structure filled with today's home furnishings, sprinkler advocates in West Hartford, Connecticut, set it ablaze to make a powerful statement. Based on the audience's reaction, they got their point across. 

When a TV reporter asked a spectator on the scene of a recent live burn/sprinkler demonstration whether she has ever witnessed a fire of this caliber, she replied, "Not personally, luckily. But I never want to after seeing [the demonstration] today. I'm in favor of sprinkler systems now."

Joining the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition at this demonstration was the city's fire chief and town manager--all of whom gave interesting perspectives on why sprinklers "are the future of fire protection in America" and why the state should take measures to adopt sprinkler requirements. 

Act-Now-small

Watch the following video of the event, and use this free resource to create your own live burn/sprinkler demo in your area:

Deemed the largest property casualty writer in the U.S., State Farm offers up to a 10-percent insurance discount for homes equipped with these devices. "State Farm's approach has been to incentivize safe behavior," David Tideman, counsel in the Corporate Law Department of State Farm Insurance Companies, told attendees at Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Boston. (State Farm is also a member of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.)

 

While his company supports home fire sprinklers, Tideman noted that support from competitors is uneven. "There's been a lack of enthusiasm because of water concerns," he said. "If State Farm is giving a 10-percent discount, do you think it would do so for something that causes more water damage in your home than the fire damage it'll prevent?"

 

Tideman also tackled the issue of making sprinklers a customer choice. "It's nice to say, 'Let people choose.' That has not been a formula for success. Safety measures usually require a law. Sprinklers enhances State Farm's political capital because we're promoting safety."

 

He tasked the group with highlighting the firefighter-safety aspect of sprinklers and continue advocating and educating on the issue. Together, he said, these tactics will bring about societal change.

 

 

 

 

 

Counter the popular myth around sprinkler water damage by using these responses from the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

 

+Fire Protection Contractor Magazine+ (FPC) is currently asking its readers to submit titles of movies that perpetuate the longstanding myth that if one fire sprinkler activates, the rest follow. The fact is that these scenes, while trying to up the cinematic drama, aren't factual in their depiction of sprinklers. In many of these settings, the devices wouldn't activate this way in the real world.


 

For example, there's the 1995 movie Hackers, one of the submissions received from FPC. The lead character hacks into his high school's database and sets a "sprinkler test" during school hours, thereby enacting all sprinkler heads to discharge at the same time--to the chagrin of a very young Angelina Jolie:


 



Then there's Lethal Weapon 4, another FPC reader submission, where Tough Guy Mel Gibson sets off sprinklers by pulling the fire alarm:


 


 

And who could forget this scene from the '80s classic Die Hard? 


 

Attention screenwriters and producers: please do your homework. Fire sprinklersmore specifically, home fire sprinklersoperate in a vastly different fashion than what's been seen on the big screen. All heads do not activate at once. During most fires in a sprinklered home, only one head operates. Pulling a fire alarm lever won't activate sprinklers. (Sorry, Mel.) 


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1285650970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1285650970c-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1285650970c img-responsive!
Do you know of any other movies that depict sprinklers inaccurately? Let us know by clicking on the "Comments" link below and we'll forward your submissions to FPC. Also, please share this 30-second PSA produced by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition that sets the record straight about home fire sprinklers:


 


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights essay receiving national attention for its strong stance on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_76_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_76_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA team interviewed by radio program to set the record straight about home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/347277847_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/347277847_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA announces recipients of its Fire Sprinkler Initiative Grant Program

!http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Effective advocacy tips from assistant fire chief who has spent years promoting home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08418179970d-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08418179970d-800wi|alt=Sprinkler advocacy|title=Sprinkler advocacy|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08418179970d image-full img-responsive!
Earlier this year, NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative announced its Bringing Safety Home Grant Program, giving home fire sprinkler advocates across North America the chance to secure up to $10,000 for localized advocacy and educational efforts. The incredible number of applications that came our way was nothing short of amazing and showcases how dedicated safety advocates are to this important cause.


The Fire Sprinkler Initiative team had the challenging task of selecting winners from a high number of high-quality applications. Sixteen applicants were selected for their ability to create a forward-thinking approach to sprinkler advocacy.


 

[View the list of recipients, | http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/grant] which includes many state sprinkler coalitions and a couple sprinkler-friendly associations in Canada.


The grants will fund an array of sprinkler advocacy endeavors, including: 


    • local sprinkler summits that aim to bring together key stakeholders to work on the acceptance of home fire sprinklers

    • local advocacy programs to showcase the impact of home fire sprinklers at community events

    • outreach programs for local officials and policy-makers

    • efforts to assess a state’s true cost of fire and how sprinklers can mitigate future risks


 

We will be highlighting the efforts made possible by these grants throughout the year on this blog. Please follow the Fire Sprinkler Initiative on Twitter (@NFPA_FSI ) for additional updates.


Congratulations to the winners! 


!http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights essay receiving national attention for its strong stance on home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79c4b7c970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79c4b7c970b-320wi|alt=Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79c4b7c970b img-responsive!Approaching its 20th anniversary, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is still attracting key safety groups to promote its mission of educating the public about the value of sprinkler protection in one- and two-family homes. 


The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have joined the coalition comprised of NFPA, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, FM Global, and others who have made sprinklers a priority. Joining HFSC's all-volunteer board of directors is Chief Ron Siarnicki, NFFF's executive director, and Chief Kevin Quinn, NVFC chair. 


 

NFFF aims to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities while supporting families of fallen firefighters. Fire sprinkler advocacy is among NFFF's Life Safety Initiatives. Representing the interests of volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services nationally, NVFC provides resources and advocacy for emergency responders.


"We look forward to having the benefit of these national groups' leadership, experience, and expertise," says Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and HFSC president. "The constituents of both these groups recognize the life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers and are important resources to help educate others."


!http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Effective advocacy tips from assistant fire chief who has spent years promoting home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/343749147_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/343749147_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Maryland County enacts Building Safety Month, promotes building codes and home fire sprinklers

Radio host Christal Frost (left) and NFPA's Meredith Hawes at the WTCM News Talk 580 studies in Traverse City, Michigan

 

Home fire sprinklers were the hot topic during a recent radio show that interviewed NFPA staff on the impact and cost-effectiveness of these devices.

 

Frost was as curious about the issue of installation cost as were the callers flooding the station's phone lines during the broadcast. "There's a lot of myths circulating about sprinklers, and cost is one of them," says NFPA's Meredith Hawes. "We spend more money sprinklering our lawns than sprinklering our homes."

 

 

On the line assisting Hawes was Tim Travers, NFPA 39's regional sprinkler specialist, who underscored key data from the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment report. For those callers who had a hard time believing the report's finding that the average cost per sprinklered square foot nationally is $1.35 or that sprinklers can be cost-effective, Travers highlighted a couple case studies. A developer in South Carolina, for instance, recently sprinklered all homes in a community for less than the national average.

 

Another caller had misconceptions about sprinkler testing and maintenance. "[For sprinklers in accordance with

NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes,] there's virtually no maintenance, no annual inspecting or testing needed. The requirements of a homeowner is to make sure a valve is open...that no sprinkler head is painted over. There is no requirement for annual testing.

 

Listen to the entire interview, and please do your part to educate your locals on home fire sprinklers by utilizing

free resources from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1242850970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1242850970c-320wi|alt=California Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=California Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1242850970c img-responsive!Sprinklers inside a home under construction were put to the test earlier this month during a fire inside a three-story home under construction in Petaluma, California. Per a report of the incident in +The Press Democrat,+ the fire initiated in a first-floor room being used by construction workers. The sprinklersso new, they had a dust covering over themimmediately activated.


 

The sprinklers were also credited with aiding firefighter efforts, since the devices kept the blaze under control until the team extinguished it 20 minutes after their arrival. "Under different circumstances, it could have been a much larger fire," Rancho Adobe Fire Battalion Chief Mike Weihman told The Press Democrat.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79ac394970b-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79ac394970b-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c79ac394970b img-responsive!
Whether or not sprinklers are a requirement in your state or region, disseminating information on these devices to your local media is an important task. Download a free document produced by the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition underscoring tips on speaking sprinklers to the media, as exemplified in this sprinkler save. (The document can be found under "Coalition Resources.")


!http://i.zemanta.com/344531187_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344531187_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!With help from the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition, Smokey Bear's cabin gets sprinklered

!http://i.zemanta.com/345943287_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345943287_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Indiana home showcases future of residential fire protection

!http://i.zemanta.com/342602027_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/342602027_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief: Why are we not giving the fire death of a two year old in a new home the attention it deserves?

!http://i.zemanta.com/343740768_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/343740768_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Maryland County enacts Building Safety Month, promotes building codes and home fire sprinklers

Connecticut Fire Sprinkler CoalitionIt's a living nightmare that Jeffrey Block doesn't want repeated. The Connecticut resident said an emotional goodbye to his 21-year-old daughter, Eva, in January 2012 after she and two others died in an off-campus house fire near Marist College in New York. A vibrant collegiate with a penchant for dancing and reading, Eva's zest for life was remembered at her funeral. "She wouldn't want us to be sad," Block told a Connecticut newspaper in 2012.

Three years later, the mourning process continues. Amid a tearful remembrance of Eva that he shared recently with a Connecticut news station, Block brought back the pain of the past in an effort to alter the future. He's standing behind a legislative bill in Connecticut that would require landlords to inform tenants whether or not their property is sprinklered. A similar bill was passed last year in New York following strong support by the family of Kerry Fitzsimons, who also died in the fire.

With Block's help, the Connecticut sprinkler bill passed the state Senate. (The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition also supports the passage of residential sprinkler requirements.) However, Block worries the bill won't make it passed the House. “Now it’s sitting on the House calendar and potentially going to die,” he told the local news station. [Since it's only a notification,] it doesn’t cost anyone anything."

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Please join Jeffrey Block in supporting this sprinkler bill. Take a few seconds and add your name to an online petition calling for the state House to take action on the bill. Please share this information with your social network.

!http://a5.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c798a1a5970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://a5.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c798a1a5970b-800wi|alt=Sprinkler advocates|title=Sprinkler advocates|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c798a1a5970b image-full img-responsive!

Sprinkler advocates at the site of a sprinkler open house



More than 3,000 communities, including the states of Maryland and California, have requirements for fire sprinklers in new homes, a concept that is new to Lake County, Indiana.


Indiana’s code adoption process is done on a statewide level, so the issue of building and fire codes is not usually on the minds of most local fire chiefs. That's not true, however, for Fire Chief Bill Timmer and his son, Matt, a former firefighter, who are building a new home in Highland. They chose to voluntarily install fire sprinklers and host an open house to display them.


"This was a wonderful opportunity for my son and my family to lead by example and show the community about the importance of fire sprinkler protection in today's new homes," says Chief Timmer with the Highland Fire Department. "Educating the public is an important part of what we do at the fire department, and this open house allowed us to highlight the ultimate life-safety system."


 

The open house event showcased sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D,+ Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes,+ before the drywall was installed. Attendees saw and touched the piping and hangers. Following the walk-through was a burn in a fire sprinkler demonstration trailer and a recognition ceremony for those involved with the project. Builder Brandon Smith of Homes of Distinction, Highland Councilman Konnie Kuiper, the Highland Fire Department, and Matt Timmer were recognized.


Matt Timmer says he is proud to have the first NFPA 13D fire sprinkler-protected home in Lake County and hopes others will follow his lead.


!http://a5.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb083cc645970d-320wi|src=http://a5.typepad.com/6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb083cc645970d-320wi|alt=Fire Chief Bill Timmer|title=Fire Chief Bill Timmer|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb083cc645970d img-responsive!

Fire Chief Bill Timmer



Any fire chief, fire marshal, or public educator can conduct one of these open house events. In towns and states where anti-sprinkler legislation and codes have been enacted, the elected officials who supported the fire sprinkler bans may be long gone from office, which leaves the opportunity to educate new elected officials who may not know there are bans in place. In Illinois, we had a 40 percent turnover in elected state officials, necessitating events similar to what occurred in Highland that underscore the importance of fire sprinklers.


 

If the education process does not continue, there will be major hurdles to sustain what current fire sprinkler requirements are in place or adopt new codes. Educational events are one of the basic steps needed to dispel fire sprinkler myths and misinformation. Matt and Chief Timmer have helped pave the way in Highland and provide a example for others to follow.


 

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. 


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. - See more at: http://sprinkler.blog.nfpa.org/tom-lia/#sthash.RvYbFeJF.dpuf


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. - See more at: http://sprinkler.blog.nfpa.org/tom-lia/#sthash.R3ULdHHL.dpuf


!http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345306977_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights essay receiving national attention for its strong stance on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345551524_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Effective advocacy tips from assistant fire chief who has spent years promoting home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120eabf970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120eabf970c-800wi|alt=Mike Figolah|title=Mike Figolah|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120eabf970c image-full img-responsive!
Mike Figolah's advocacy around home fire sprinklers is something to be commended. (See for yourself.) Since going public with his support for these devices, he's learned a few lessons on what makes an effective sprinkler advocate. He shared his thoughts with attendees at NFPA's 2015 Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Boston. "I come here today with a lot of passion for changing the culture of the country," Figolah told attendees.


 

This culture shift for home fire sprinkler acceptance, he noted, begins on the grassroots level. In Figolah's home state of Illinois, advocates there are using a one-community-at-a-time approach to sprinkler adoption. This approach has paid off; there are close to 100 communities with a sprinkler ordinance on the books. In most cases, getting those ordinances passed was the result of getting "partners in line," said Figolah, assistant fire chief for the Bartlett Fire Protection District. He advised summit attendees to bring together home buyers, builders, real estate professionals, the fire service, and others as a means to drum up support for sprinklers from various stakeholders. More and more states are forming sprinkler coalitions to accomplish this task.



 

Moreover, the free resources developed by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, especially its instructions on developing a live burn/sprinkler demonstration, has helped convince the public and policymakers that sprinklers are crucial in new homes.


What has also worked for Figolah is highlighting successful sprinkler activations in whatever way possible and obtaining legitimate sprinkler installation costs to counter lofty quotes from sprinkler opponents. "We have actual numbers to show the opposition," he said.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120ea56970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120ea56970c-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d120ea56970c img-responsive!

Download a copy of Figolah's presentation, and check out other highlights from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit.






!http://i.zemanta.com/345336315_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/345336315_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter highlights essay receiving national attention for its strong stance on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert

!http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA president joins Massachusetts state fire marshal in lauding national sprinkler efforts

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7969679970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7969679970b-320wi|alt=Fire Sprinkler Initiative Newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Sprinkler Initiative Newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7969679970b img-responsive!In an essay written for NFPA that has gotten national attention, Fire Chief Rick Ennis underscores a recent tragedy in a home built two years ago. He is baffled as to why this incident, which highlights the necessity of fire sprinklers in all new homes, has not gotten the attention it deserves.


 

Ennis' essay is featured in the May edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter, which also highlights:



    • a new NFPA video case study underscoring how a developer inexpensively sprinklered all new homes in a community

    • a builder being sued for failing to follow sprinkler requirements

    • NFPA's recent Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Boston


 

Getting the newsletter delivered directly to your inbox is easy. Take a few seconds and subscribe today.


!http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344704360_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The many myths associated with NFPA's residential sprinkler standard countered by sprinkler expert
!http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/344292709_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA president joins Massachusetts state fire marshal in lauding national sprinkler efforts

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