While urging the public to "hear the beep where you sleep," this year's Fire Prevention Week theme focusing on working smoke alarms in all bedrooms, safety advocates across North America are also spotlighting a smoke alarm's necessary complement.
Home fire sprinklers are also getting a fair share of attention during Fire Prevention Week. A series of live burn/sprinkler demonstrations and op-eds published this week are underscoring how the dynamic duo of a fire sprinkler and smoke alarm can significantly slash the risk of dying in home fires.
Attendees at a recent demonstration by the Bartlett Fire Protection District in Illinois gasped as a mock room with a working smoke alarm was fully engulfed in flames in three minutes. Smoke alarms will immediately alert you of a fire, but only a fire sprinkler can douse the flames, giving residents the extra time needed to reach safety, Mike Figolah, Bartlett's assistant fire chief and staunch fire sprinkler supporter, said at the event.
"Our hoses blow about 150 gallons [of water] per minute," Figolah told the Chicago Tribune. "The sprinklers use about 15 gallons. If you use a wet vac on an area [after sprinklers have extinguished a fire] there is a good chance you'll be back in that house tonight."
Live burn/sprinkler demonstrations also occurred in Tennessee, Maine, and New Jersey.
Advocates in the Garden State also used their words during Fire Prevention Week to underscore what they deem as lackluster safety laws. "The state recently adopted the 2015 International Residential Code and specifically left out the portion of including fire sprinklers in all new residential construction," stated David Kuracz, executive director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition in an op-ed that appeared on NJ.com. This was done "despite loud and clear calls from the fire safety and service community that new construction methods leave residents and first responders vulnerable to the quick spread of fire and the reduced time to structural failure of modern building materials.
"This Fire Prevention Week please consider the life-saving benefits of smoke alarms in each bedroom, but also remember that fire sprinklers are the only proactive form of fire protection."
Is there a sprinkler demonstration taking place in your town? Let us know, and we'll highlight the event on this blog. Watch the following video showcasing just how quickly fire sprinklers extinguish home fires: