!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb088bc733970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb088bc733970d-320wi|alt=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb088bc733970d img-responsive!"I was shocked, stunned you know, especially hearing screams that I've never heard in my life. Horrific yelling," New Britain, Connecticut, resident Steven Ayala told an NBC affiliate following a nearby home fire. Firefighters responded to the two-alarm blaze (one of them getting injured in the process) and frantically searched for 11-year-old Cade Townsend, who was trapped inside.
The fire intensified, forcing firefighters to pull back. When they were able to reenter the home, they found Townsend--unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Some residents who escaped experienced other horrors before seeking safety. "The lights went off and I got scared because ... I couldn’t go out through either side because there was black smoke and it was getting hot," Kenneth Anderson told the NBC affiliate. "I had to jump out the second-floor window. I was dangling there until I really got up the courage to let go."
These experiences are not anomalies. They're a common reality in 2015 America. Rather than merely shake their heads at the senseless loss of life and injuries from home fires in their state, Connecticut's safety advocates have united to take action.
Within the past few months, the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition has been promoting a life-safety message: home fire sprinklers have the power to reverse the typical effects of home fires. In October, they hosted a live/burn fire sprinkler demonstration to about 300 people in Wilton, Connecticut. They recently partnered with the University of New Haven Fire Science Club to host a similar event on October 30. The New Haven Register captured eye-catching photos of the event, narrated by coalition Chair Keith Flood.
A constant presence in front of the public and the state's decision makers has been the coalition's tactic toward a hopeful adoption of requirements for fire sprinklers in new homes. One thing is certain: they're keeping sprinklers on people's radar.
Follow Connecticut's lead by hosting your own live burn/sprinkler demonstration using the free resources of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Also, watch this video from another live burn/sprinkler demonstration in Connecticut that took place earlier this year:
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