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"Home fire sprinklers should be a matter of consumer choice."

 

That's a popular argument made by sprinkler opponents, who balk at code requirements for this life-saving feature. Instead, they say they'll be glad to install the devices if a homeowner asks for them.

 

That's not what happened in New Jersey.

 

A news report on NJ.com, partly titled "Bamboozled," describes the rigmarole homeowner Ed Ondayko went through when he told his builder, Toll Brothers, he wanted fire sprinklers. "The safety and well-being of my family means everything to me," Ondayko, who works in the fire protection industry, told NJ.com. "One can replace their personal possessions and valuables, but nothing can replace the loss or disfigurement of a loved one due to a fire."

 

In an attempt to prevent these tragedies, Ondayko wanted Toll Brothers to install sprinklers in his new home in Monroe Township, New Jersey. The company wouldn't accommodate his request. A Toll Brothers representative in charge of the Monroe housing development noted in a letter that "we do not have the subcontractors and qualified personnel in place ... to grant this request and undertake a project such as this. He added, "we cannot commit to installing this particular feature in light of our current resources and expertise."

 

A subcontractor came forward on Ondayko's behalf and let Toll Brothers know he was qualified to perform the installation. Even though the contractor was already installing fire sprinklers at a Toll Brothers apartment complex in New Jersey, the company refused the offer, according to the NJ.com report.

 

After contacting the media, Toll Brothers met with Ondayko. According to the news report, Toll Brothers offered several options, including the option to have a Toll Brothers contractor install sprinklers. They refused to let Ondayko bring in his own contractor, even if that would cut installation costs. "It's basically their guy or no guy," Ondayko told NJ.com. Before making a decision, he's weighing his options.

 

"The primary response from homebuilders is that fire sprinklers should be the consumer's choice and not mandated," David Kurasz, executive director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition, told NJ.com. "Unfortunately, as seen in the case with Mr. Ondayko, many homebuilders simply do not want to install sprinklers as it is not a primary, money-making option like carpets, granite countertops, or crown molding.

 

What are your thoughts on Toll Brothers' actions? Have you heard of or experienced a similar situation to Ondayko's? Let us know by commenting in the comments section below.

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NFPA's state sprinkler coalition map, underscoring 28 states with a coalition in place



 

In 2015, there were hellos (thank you, Adele) and goodbyes. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team welcomed a handful of new state sprinkler coalitionsincluding newcomers South Dakota and Delaware that brought the national coalition total to 28. We read with interest commentary by Fire Chief Rick Ennis and burn survivor Rob Feeney, who added their unique perspectives to NFPA's blogs in 2015. We bid farewell to a state sprinkler requirement in Minnesota (a decision that is being appealed).


Taking a look back, here are the top 10 stories from this blog that wowed readers in 2015: 


 

*10. *Lawsuit filed against builder for failure to follow home fire sprinkler requirements


 

9. What does research tell us about today's home fire victims?


 

8. The seven benefits of home fire sprinklers you need to know


 

7. Open spaces, lightweight construction, flammable furniture--oh my! The modern dangers of today's homes


 

6. Fire Chief: Homebuilders misinformed about home fire sprinklers


 

5. NFPA, fire service react to false claims made by Maryland media on home fire sprinklers


 

4. Burn survivor from The Station Nightclub Fire now NFPA's newest blogger and fire sprinkler champion


 

3. The disastrous consequences of lightweight construction and modern home furnishings under fire


 

2. Meet burn survivor Jeff Jordan, an important voice in the push for home fire sprinklers


 

1. Fire Chief: Why are we not giving the fire death of a two year old in a new home the attention it deserves?</p>

 

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Earlier this year, NFPA&#0160;released a video case study about a&#0160;new, fully sprinklered development in Greenville, South Carolina. Now, we&#39;re providing extensive backstory on how the developer came to the decision to sprinkler all 140&#0160;homes.


 

The latest edition of +NFPA Journal+&#0160;includes an adaptation of a presentation Russ Davis made in May at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit, where he discussed a change of heart about sprinklers. &quot;We learned that sprinklers were not required for this kind of single-family-home development, which was a revelation to me,&quot; said Davis, co-founder of Homes Urban, a residential development firm that oversaw the construction of the Homestead at Hartness development in Greenville. &quot;So we did what any developer would do—we took the fire sprinklers out of the site plan. We’d save hundreds of thousands of dollars on a part of the plan we didn’t need&#0160;anyway.&#0160;Plus, these were single-family homes with two doors to the outside, so people could get out if there was a fire. The homes would have smoke alarms. They were safe enough. That was our developer mindset.&quot;


 

The new site plans, which initially had sprinklers, concerned the fire marshal. He told Davis that if sprinklers were reintroduced, the number of fire hydrants throughout the development could be reduced. Less hydrants mean significant cost savings. (Learn about the array of "trade-ups" builders can enjoy if they install&#0160;sprinklers.)


"I think fire protection cost less than the granite countertops we installed," said Davis. "It takes about $9.80 of rent per unit each month to pay for the sprinkler systems. What renter would say no to sprinklers and assume the risk of a fire where somebody could get hurt? That was one of our big lessons learned: No one can make the argument that the cost of sprinklers is prohibitive or somehow outweighs the benefits they provide."


 

Big-business builders, added Davis,&#0160;need to understand that they can financially benefit from sprinkler installation. Taking on the role of educating this group and the public about this life-saving technology in South Carolina is the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d189caad970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d189caad970c-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d189caad970c img-responsive!


 


 

Read the full adaptation of Davis&#39; presentation in the November/December issue of +NFPA Journal+,&#0160;and watch the following video featuring Davis:


 


 


 


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/285748327_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/285748327_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The facts on NFPA 13D and water mist systems

!http://i.zemanta.com/336509555_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/336509555_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Dual purpose: Firefighter doubles as a homebuilder who embraces home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/332266672_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/332266672_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!One community, two house fires, a world of difference

!http://i.zemanta.com/350093386_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/350093386_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Losing three family members in a fire, resident speaks up in support of home fire sprinklers

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fe17c7970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fe17c7970b-800wi|alt=Holidays|title=Holidays|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fe17c7970b image-full img-responsive!
I'm wondering if the writers of these popular ditties were considering fire safety while crafting these lyrics:


 

It doesn&#39;t show signs of stopping, and I bought some corn for popping...


 

Popcorn, yum. But I&#39;m hoping someone is watching over the&#0160;corn while it&#39;s being popped to perfection. (Admit it: stove top popcorn is the tastiest.)&#0160;According to NFPA, two of the peak days for home cooking fires are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


 

<br />The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...&#0160;


 

With care, and hopefully with safety in mind. Between 2009-2013, more than 850 home fires were started by holiday decorations. In nearly half of those fires, reports NFPA, decorations were way too close to a&#0160;heat source.




 

Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree...


Umm, don't forget water in that tree stand, too. Trees should be watered daily to prevent this sort of travesty:


 


 

One of the best ways to fight human error during the holidays is through fire sprinklers. Understanding how fire can easily disrupt any holiday host&#39;s well-thought-out party,&#0160;a sprinkler advocate has come forward to promote this life-saving device. &quot;The cost of fire during the holiday season is staggering,&quot; writes John Viniello in a letter to a local publication.&#0160;&quot;There is a solution, however. Quite simply, newly constructed homes must have an automatic fire sprinkler system. It&#39;s like having a 24-hour firefighter standing by you to protect you and your loved ones from fire.&quot;


 

While urging readers to learn more about these devices (NFPA&#39;s Fire Sprinkler Initiative site is a good place to start), Viniello also noted that not installing sprinklers in new homes is like having a cure for a deadly disease and not using it. &quot;It will be the best Christmas present ever given to your family,&quot; says Viniello, retired president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association.


 

NFPA&#39;s Fire Sprinkler Initiative team wishes you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season! Here&#39;s to a safer New Year!


!http://i.zemanta.com/348316327_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/348316327_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Advocates unite near burning structure to underscore impact of home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/332714359_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/332714359_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Tennessee legislators take steps to nix residential sprinkler law

!http://i.zemanta.com/316965277_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/316965277_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA decorates Christmas tree for safety

 

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As we had reported on this blog, Builder Magazine produced a story, titled “Playing with Fire,” directing the homebuilding industry to “pay more attention” to home fire sprinklers. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is firing back at the article, stating that it distorts the facts on the abilities and necessity of fire sprinklers.


NFPA has taken a close look at NAHB’s initial response to the story. (They’re demanding a correction and are drafting a rebuttal for the magazine’s editors.) While NAHB claims the magazine’s story skews the facts, consider these “facts” they stated in their response to the story:


 

NAHB: Fires are more likely in older homes


 

As NFPA’s fire sprinkler expert explained during a recent educational event on home fire sprinklers, “most of the causes of fire are in new homes and old homes alike.” Whether in a home built yesterday or 30 years ago, fire causation in homes has not changed. What has changed is how today’s homes are being built. Older, traditional building materials have more inherent fire endurance than the lightweight construction materials widely used today. Research confirms lightweight construction materials can drastically exacerbate a home fire, significantly reducing a resident’s escape time.


 

NAHB: Newer homes are built to safer standards


This statement is partially accurate. NAHB states that “newer homes are built to building codes explicitly designed to make homes safer” but fails to mention that a component of all U.S. model building codes is the requirement—not the option—to sprinkler all new homes. Since fire sprinklers are essential, new homes built without them should be considered substandard.



*NAHB: Smoke alarms, not sprinklers, are needed *


NFPA is in agreement that working smoke alarms should be a necessity in all homes. However, what is needed to reverse the trend of 2,500 people dying annually in U.S. home fires is sprinklers. Smoke alarms will alert you to a fire, but keep in mind today’s fires become deadly in as little as two minutes. Fire sprinklers give you the necessary time to escape safely.


 

NAHB: Sprinklers aren’t cost-effective


 

NAHB balks at installation cost, citing NFPA’s own sprinkler cost report to defend their argument. However, NAHB does not highlight key points of this research underscoring the cost-effectiveness of sprinklers. The national average for installation is $1.35 per sprinklered square foot, or a mere one percent of a home’s total construction cost. States requiring sprinklers in new homes—Maryland and California—saw a decline in installation costs since demand for sprinklers was so high. Moreover, a recent study produced by the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal determined that the average installation cost was only pennies above NFPA’s national average. In California, the state is experiencing a housing boom, offering further proof that sprinkler requirements do not have a negative impact on the housing market.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fdbbae970b-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fdbbae970b-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fdbbae970b img-responsive!


 


 

Show your support for home fire sprinklers by responding directly to NAHB’s post with the reasons why you support these life-saving devices.


 


 


 

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!http://i.zemanta.com/331151935_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/331151935_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!If you are looking for a succinct article underscoring the necessity of home fire sprinklers, this is it

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!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_23_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_23_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

!http://i.zemanta.com/340991104_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/340991104_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA case study highlights how one community cost-effectively sprinklered all of its new homes

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Illinois fire officials take part in a mock board meeting addressing a home fire sprinkler requirement



Illinois is a rough-and-tumble political state with Chicago-style politics setting an example for the thousands of other units of government throughout the state. In fact, Illinois has more than 6,900 units of local government, more than any other U.S. state. Cities, villages, townships, school districts, fire districts, mosquito districts—you name it, we have it.


With so many local governments, there is a great variety of elected officials to communicate with and, therefore, an important need to know how to present a fire sprinkler requirement or code upgrade to government leaders. To help train our sprinkler advocates, we developed a mock board presentation simulation. What’s that, you ask?


Through role-playing scenarios, we put real pressure on participants during these mock meetings with government officials so they know how to prepare and react to their possible responses and concerns. We bring in a diverse group, assign roles, and provide basic scripts. Someone is made mayor while others take on the role of trustees/aldermen. We ask for both building and fire officials to participate in the presentation on the advocacy side and ask that consultants, third-party plan reviewers, and attorneys participate. The role of the anti-fire sprinkler person is typecast as the villain (sorry, real estate and homebuilder friends). Everyone excels at their positions.


 

We usually have 3-3 ties broken by the mayor&#39;s deciding vote. And a passing vote, 4-2 in favor without the mayor voting, is considered a good win. Like The Apprentice, it’s fun, but there are winners and losers. This is why preparation is needed.


In the real world, the first step for many local governments is having fire chiefs or building officials introduce the proposals. It might need support from a citizen advisory committee (builders, architects, construction, trades), where it could get nixed before any board member has input. This is another part of the process that needs to be addressed by sprinkler advocates.


Attempting to pass a sprinkler requirement needs all of your wits, planning, political prowess, and desire to protect your community. These simulations can be an important precursor for the actual event, which  could be in your immediate future.


 

The proof of this type of preparation is in the pudding. In 2015, two more Illinois towns—Oak Park and Elwood—passed ordinances in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes+. There are now 100 Illinois communities with home fire sprinkler requirements. For that, we are grateful.


 

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. &#0160;


!http://i.zemanta.com/311414506_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/311414506_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA hosts home fire sprinkler summit in Durham

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_123_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_123_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Following vote to exclude home fire sprinklers, advocates ramp up educational efforts

!http://i.zemanta.com/348887809_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/348887809_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Illinois fire and building officials enlightened on home fire sprinklers during kickoff event at NFPA Conference and Expo

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NFPA President Jim Pauley



NFPA&#39;s Fire Sprinkler Initiative team came across a blog post&#0160;written by a Massachusetts policy and communications adviser. In his post, titled "Outcry for Mandating Sprinklers Not Coming From the Public", he questions the importance of home fire sprinklers in all new homes while listing an array of inaccuracies and&#0160;misstatements,&#0160;including:


home sprinklers&#0160;don&#39;t&#0160;seem to offer significantly greater protection than smoke alarms, a statement countered by NFPA research

    1. sprinkler requirements will negatively impact the housing market

    2. firefighters will "be in the position to benefit financially" from sprinkler requirements, since home fire sprinklers require annual inspections from the fire service


 

Not taking these inaccuracies lightly, NFPA President Jim Pauley drafted a response to the blog post. &quot;NFPA&#0160;does not only back the installation of fire sprinklers in&#0160;new homes for their ability to significantly reduce the risk of dying in home fires; sprinklers are also a&#0160;requirement found in every model building code used in the U.S.,&quot; states Pauley in his letter. &quot;Most Americans wouldn’t dare get into&#0160;a new vehicle if it lacked seatbelts and airbags, since my guess is they would consider it a substandard&#0160;vehicle lacking all of the modern features developed to keep them safe. Living in a new home without&#0160;sprinklers is synonymous to entering a new car devoid of these features.


"No matter how many homebuilding advances have been made in safeguarding residents from the atrocities of fire, constructing homes without home fire sprinklers—a code requirement—is creating substandard housing."


 

Responding to the claim that the fire service will experience a&#0160;financial gain if fire sprinklers are required, Pauley stated that this claim is amiss. &quot;If fire sprinklers are installed in accordance to our standard, NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes,+ annual&#0160;inspections are not required. Annual tests to assure a home’s sprinklers are functioning correctly can be&#0160;easily done for free by the homeowner.&quot;


Pauley also noted that "perpetuating the many myths associated with home fire sprinklers is taking a step backwards, fails to place value on saving a human life, and is missing the benefit of this simple technology that has been protecting lives and property for more than a century."


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1860068970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1860068970c-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1860068970c img-responsive!
Please help us tell this author why home fire sprinklers are necessary.&#0160;Join Jim Pauley in responding to this blog post and state your case for why you support home fire sprinklers. Click on this link to access the blog post, and write your comments in the comments section on that page. The more voices we have in support of sprinklers, the better.&#0160;


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_53_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_53_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder
!http://i.zemanta.com/306497532_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/306497532_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Lightweight construction dangers highlighted in recent edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter
!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_100_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_100_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Firefighter injured on the job speaks out in support of home fire sprinkler bill

 

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There is a Canadian-sized effort taking place in support of home fire sprinklers. Rivaling actions seen in the U.S., advocates across the border are as equally firm on their stance that fire sprinklers in new homes must become a reality. 


Take, for instance, the following events that took place during the latter part of 2015:


During Fire Prevention Week,&#0160;students at the Seneca College School of Fire Protection in Toronto&#0160;conducted a live burn/sprinkler demonstration. Building the structures themselves, students and staff also handed out free materials provided by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). Since the school also has a firefighter program, some students worked the burn. &quot;Seneca’s Fire Protection Program&#0160;is not just teaching its students how to prevent harmful fires, but also empowering those students to educate their peers about how to protect themselves,&quot; Scott Pugsley, Industry Coordinator and professor at the school, tells NFPA. Close to 400 students attended&#0160;the event, which also attracted the media. (Visit Seneca's website&#0160;for more information on the event.)&#0160;

Students at another school, Alcona Glen&#0160;Elementary in Ontario, partnered with local firefighters to develop their own live burn/sprinkler demonstration.&#0160;&quot;The project has allowed the Grade 10 students to learn and practice construction methods while at the same time witness firsthand the value of residential sprinkler systems,&quot; Jon Pegg, fire chief of the town of Innisfil, told a local paper. &quot;Our goal is to see sprinkler systems the norm throughout homes ... in the near future.&quot;

Understanding the power of advocacy, Canadian Fire Chief Vince MacKenzie, was interviewed for his support for fire sprinkler requirements. &quot;What I want to do is urge anybody who is building a home now ... or considering buying a home to also consider installation of a residential sprinkler system,&quot; he said. &quot;I firmly believe within our generation we&#39;re going to see residential sprinkler systems become a part of the code requirements.&quot;

Even the insurance industry is on board for the cause. The Co-operators, a Canadian-owned insurance company, recently underscored its stance on home fire sprinklers. Working closely with NFPA and HFSC, the company is dispelling sprinkler myths and promoting its insurance discount for sprinklered homes.


Way to go, Canada!


 


!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%;!Groundbreaking report examines public opinion of home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/296858115_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/296858115_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Congratulations to Chief Chuck Walker, this year's recipient of the Bringing Safety Home Award
!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_94_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_94_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The good and the bad: Recap of 2015 legislative action on home fire sprinklers - National Fire Protection Association Blog
!http://i.zemanta.com/304373061_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/304373061_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!How an Illinois fire chief became a powerful spokesperson for home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/299340025_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/299340025_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Home insurer, homebuilder, and fire service emphasize residential sprinklers during exhibit

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fb304d970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fb304d970b-320wi|alt=Sprinkler myths|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sprinkler myths|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7fb304d970b img-responsive!Home fire sprinklers may&#0160;be the last thing on people&#39;s minds. Or maybe they have the wrong impression on how these devices operate. Whatever the case, knowledge can surely be power.&#0160;


 

[This article | https://www.mbintel.net/uncategorized/sprinklers/#sthash.1ltEr0xD.dpbs] was written last year, but deserves to be resurrected for its succinct overview&#0160;of the public&#39;s many misconceptions on&#0160;home fire sprinklers. A dose of education using these myth-busters can truly help shape public opinion about home fire sprinklers, a crucial life-saving device.


 

Fire sprinklers are aesthetically unpleasant. Wrong! Per the article, the metal sprinklers&#0160;hanging down from ceilings that people tend to see in public spaces are nothing like sprinklers in&#0160;homes. &quot;[Home] fire sprinkler heads are much smaller, can be recessed into the ceiling, and are often hidden behind an access panel,&quot; states the article. &quot;They typically can be made to match the colors of your home. This makes them much more aesthetically pleasing than their commercial counterparts.&quot;


 

The water from sprinklers will destroy my home. Incorrect! According to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, fire hoses, on average, use eight-and-a-half times more water&#0160;to contain a fire than sprinklers. These devices give residents extra time to safely&#0160;escape a home and prevent&#0160;the extensive damage of a fire that has exacerbated or the copious amounts of water to control it.


 

I always burn popcorn and toast, and will set off my sprinklers constantly.&#0160;Not the case! Home fire sprinklers activate by heat, not smoke. The smoke from fried foods, burnt popcorn, or cigarettes will not set off sprinklers.


 


 

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If you&#39;re a fire safety advocate, you might know these and other myths backwards and forwards, but do others? Please help us dispel the many myths by sharing this post with your social network. Doing so is easy--press the buttons below. Also, please watch this video of NFPA&#39;s Matt Klaus discussing sprinkler freeze protection:


 


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_92_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_92_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Groundbreaking report examines public opinion of home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/334869796_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/334869796_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New tool gives guidance on talking home fire sprinklers with the media

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_40_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_40_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!In a state threatened by anti-sprinkler legislation, safety advocates join forces to educate, advocate for home fire sprinklers

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Ron Siarnicki (left), executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci stand near a display during a life safety conference this month in Annapolis, Maryland. The display commemorates home fire deaths in 2014. There are 51 sprinkler heads with the name of each person killed in Maryland home fires that year and 2,860 in the bin below for all U.S. home fire deaths.



 

As previously reported on this blog, a Maryland delegate has introduced legislation to weaken the state&#39;s requirement for home fire sprinklers. Not taking this&#0160;news lightly, advocates gathered in Annapolis this month for a two-day&#0160;conference&#0160;hosted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). Some high-caliber speakers&#0160;at the event proved&#0160;the&#0160;necessity of working smoke alarms and fire&#0160;sprinklers.&#0160;


 

Presenting at the conference&#0160;was Sher Grogg, who for the first time shared her story of losing her brother, sister-in-law, three nieces, and a nephew&#0160;in a&#0160;house fire this year.&#0160;The home had a smoke detection system but no sprinklers.&#0160;Since the fire, Grogg has become an advocate for Christmas tree safety and sprinklers&#0160;at home.&#0160;“When I got the call that the house had burned down, I asked how the family was,&quot; said Grogg, per an article that appeared on Firehouse.com. &quot;They said again the castle had burned down. I thought they would have gone out on the balconies off each bedroom…It wasn’t sinking in that they didn&#39;t escape.&quot;


"I really think sprinklers would have made a difference."


Also understanding the necessity and cost-effectiveness of home fire sprinklers was presenter Jim Ford, fire marshal for the Scottsdale, Arizona, Fire Department. Contrary to the longstanding myth that sprinkler ordinances will place firefighters out of a job, positions have tripled since the town's sprinkler ordinance took effect in 1986, Ford said at the conference. More than half of the homes in Scottsdale now have sprinkler protection.


 

Offering a localized perspective on the benefits of sprinklers was Fire Chief Mark Bashoor of Prince George&#39;s County. He told the crowd his town hasn't experienced any fire fatalities in its sprinklered homes since an ordinance took effect.&#0160;(Download a report produced by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition underscoring the effects of Prince George&#39;s County&#39;s sprinkler ordinance.)&#0160;&#0160;


 

Event organizers aim to produce a document early next year on key takeaways from the event and strategies that can be used by sprinkler advocates nationwide. Since the conference, attendees have been using the media&#0160;to bolster their case. Ron Siarnicki, NFFF&#39;s executive director, penned an op-ed that countered a letter writer who condoned the state&#39;s sprinkler requirement. &quot;It’s no longer a rare occurrence for firefighters to be dispatched to a house fire and discover on arrival that two or three homes are burning,&quot; stated Siarnicki. &quot;An investment in sprinklers isn’t about just keeping that homeowner safe. It’s about the safety of the firefighters and the entire community.&quot;


 


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d183c7f1970c-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d183c7f1970c-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d183c7f1970c img-responsive!


 

For more information on the benefits of the sprinkler ordinance in Scottsdale, Arizona, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site. &#0160;


 


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/336920651_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/336920651_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Home modifications hamper sprinkler activation

!http://i.zemanta.com/322341225_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322341225_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/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%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

In a span of only four hours, safety advocates in Connecticut debunked myths, highlighted the facts, and initiated stunned glances during a demonstration and educational event promoting home fire sprinklers.

 

Hosted&#0160;by the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, NFPA, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), the event in West Haven on December 1 was free for more than 100 of the state&#39;s fire service, building officials, and&#0160;water purveyors tasked with overseeing and protecting the state&#39;s water supply. Since members of these groups&#0160;tend to have misconceptions about sprinkler operation and performance, event organizers got them in one room to hash out their concerns and&#0160;learn how sprinklers can be a viable option in all&#0160;new&#0160;homes.

 

Matt Klaus, NFPA&#39;s principal fire protection engineer, joined Roland Asp, NFSA&#39;s Manager of Installation Standards, for a joint presentation on NFPA 13D, 

 

They addressed antifreeze concerns, sprinkler installation components, and the many steps the 13D committees have taken to reduce installation costs. For instance, while the standard requires the use of new sprinkler heads listed by an independent agency, certain components do not need this listing, thereby cutting costs. &#0160;

 

Extraneous fees sometimes assessed by water purveyors for fire sprinklers was another hot topic. "We want to try to get to even ground so the water purveyor doesn't lose money," said Asp. "We want to come to a nice balance."

 

When asked how fire sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D prevent water stagnation, another water purveyor concern, the duo noted that certain system designs prevent stagnation from occurring.

 

 

The many fire sprinkler myths were also examined by Klaus. When comparing today's lightweight construction materials in new homes with traditional lumber, "newer construction is better, but when you talk about fire causation, that doesn't change because of newer or older materials," said Klaus.

 

The group then headed outdoors for a live burn/sprinkler demonstration that attracted the attention of the media and local politicians. Addressing the crowd, West Haven Mayor Edward O'Brien congratulated the Connecticut coalition for continuing to spread the sprinkler message to the public.

 

Following the demonstration, in which sprinklers controlled a fire in less than a minute, an attendee exclaimed, "That was pretty amazing! Very fast."

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c82811da970b-800wi.jpg

If there was ever a story underscoring the atrocities of fire, this is it.

Rob Feeney was at The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the night a fire claimed the lives of 100 people, making it the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. A staunch advocate for fire sprinklers in all buildings, including homes, Feeney is now the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger. Here is his inaugural post, a powerful and gut-wrenching recap of what happened that night from his perspective.

Signs were telling us to stay home the night of February 20, 2003. I was supposed to work but managed to switch for a day shift. It had recently snowed…a lot. It was cold and icy. Donna, my girlfriend, fell on the sidewalk in front of our Fall River, Massachusetts, apartment. She wasn’t feeling well and had no interest seeing ’80s hair band, Great White, at a nightclub. I complained about the pain from an inch-long splinter I got from a railing while running up a stairway. That didn’t stop me, though.

Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren’t in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people. Mary joined me as I went to buy drinks because she wanted details on when I was going to give Donna the ring. Without saying much, she got me to tell her I already had (it was being sized). This was actually Donna’s night to tell her closest friends we were engaged.

Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren’t in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people.

Read the rest of Feeney's story by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d180c7a6970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d180c7a6970c-800wi|alt=Live burn demo|title=Live burn demo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d180c7a6970c image-full img-responsive!
Fire sprinkler supporters in New York were delivered a blow in August when the state&#39;s Fire Prevention and Building Code Council voted to adopt the 2015 International Residential Code but remove the requirement for home fire sprinklers.


The vote, however, has not thwarted advocates' attempts at promoting these devices. In fact, since the Code Council's decision, an array of sizzling presentations throughout New York have sent a subtle message to the group that support for home fire sprinklers is growing. 


 

In October, the New York Fire Sprinkler Council, a division of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, hosted a live burn/sprinkler demonstration at the Nassau County Fire Services Academy. Using&#0160;mesmerizing displays of fire in rooms with and without sprinklers as well as fire statistics from NFPA, the group gave&#0160;attendees a startling glimpse into one of North America&#39;s biggest safety concerns and its solution.&#0160;


“Raising awareness about the life-saving benefits of sprinklers is one of our main goals of the New York Fire Sprinkler Council," said Tony Saporito, executive vice president of the Mechanical Contractors Association. “Fire sprinklers save lives time and time again. It’s a long-term investment that every parent should consider for their home."


 

Equally convincing in their pitch for fire sprinklers are members of the New York Sprinkler Initiative. Also in October, another dramatic, side-by-side demonstration was conducted for 300 people by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) and the Henrietta Fire District.&#0160;“The participants at the demonstration very clearly saw the difference a home fire sprinkler can make in protecting them and their families in a fire,&quot; said Jerry DeLuca, NYSAFC executive director and member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative. &quot;The comments I heard from parents of young children prove that we are getting our point across. The demonstration showed them that the cost of a sprinklered home is a small price for parents to pay in exchange for the peace of mind knowing that their families will be able to escape and be safe in case of a fire.&quot;&#0160;&#0160;


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089b5902970d-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089b5902970d-120wi|alt=Act-Now|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089b5902970d img-responsive!


 


Watch and share the following video of another live burn/sprinkler demonstration recorded by NFPA:


 


 


 


  


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_79_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_79_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The good and the bad: Recap of 2015 legislative action on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/304373061_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/304373061_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!How an Illinois fire chief became a powerful spokesperson for home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/352648917_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/352648917_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief passionate about home fire sprinklers becomes latest NFPA blogger

All new homes aren't created equal.

 

That was the lesson learned in 2015, a year when some state legislators took steps supporting home fire sprinklers while others sided with the opposition in keeping requirements for them out of state building codes.

 

NFPA highlighted these efforts in a recent issue of the magazine for the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). Read about new sprinklers laws in Connecticut and Delaware as well as a&#0160;building code board who some advocates say failed to protect its citizens in the place where fires claim the most lives.

 

In New York, for example, an advocate slammed the New York Fire Prevention and Building Code Council for adopting the 2015 International Residential Code but opted not to adopt its requirement for sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. &quot;I find it ironic that the New York City Council required sprinklers in pet stores, yet the state of New York refuses to protect its residents in the same way,&quot; says Jerry DeLuca, a member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative.

One of the biggest points of contention for the use of home fire sprinklers is cost. Sprinkler opponents argue that installation is a pricey endeavor that will escalate a home's total construction cost, pricing first-time homebuyers and other home seekers out of securing their coveted dwelling. 


 

Behind the scenes, committee members responsible for creating NFPA 13D, +Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes,+ are always taking a serious look at installation cost. &quot;We don&#39;t want to price people out of these systems,&quot; says Matt Klaus, NFPA&#39;s staff liaison for NFPA 13D and principal fire protection engineer.&#0160;


Watch and share the following video of Klaus discussing the committee's role in keeping installation costs affordable: 


 


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_51_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_51_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_83_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_83_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Your feedback is needed! Take our new poll 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

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Photo: Twitter



 

<br />Don&#39;t pitch a product. Pitch the emotion behind&#0160;the&#0160;product.


 

You might&#0160;understand the importance of home fire sprinklers. Maybe you&#39;re well versed on how they operate, how they can reduce the traumas of fire. But&#0160;do you know how to effectively pitch them as more than mere devices that should be included in all new homes?


 

+Media specialist Brad Phillips outlines some effective tactics by Don Draper, the advertising guru from the AMC series Mad Men, and his knack for getting an emotional response from an ad&#39;s viewers. Sprinkler advocates need to be just as emotional with their pitches in order to get people to side with our cause. Have you had a close encounter with a home fire that you can&#39;t shake? Are you or do you know a burn survivor impacted by a home fire? These storieswhich should be shared with the publicget behind the fact that sprinklers save lives.+


 

Here&#39;s Brad to explain further:


 

I’ve seen every episode of AMC’s Mad Men, one of my favorite shows of all time.


 

Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the show’s caddish anti-hero, plays a 1960s ad executive. When he’s not engaged in a spectacular act of self-sabotage provoked by his messy personal life, no one can pitch a product better. His greatest strength as an advertising pitchman is his deep understanding of the emotion behind the products he’s pitching.


As an example, here’s a clip from Mad Men’s first season. In this clip, Draper is pitching his ad concept for the new “slide wheel” to two executives from Kodak.


 


Imagine if Draper had done what so many people in business do—pitch the features instead of the benefits. A feature-heavy pitch would have sounded more like this:


“Kodak’s ‘Wheel’ can hold 80 slides, the most in the marketplace. It allows you to go backward and forward, project on any bare wall, and change the order of slides in mere moments. With Kodak’s ‘Wheel,’ you can go on vacation—and have your slides printed within 24 hours of dropping them off at a certified Kodak photo center.” 


Businesses use that feature-centric approach all the time when selling their products. Advocacy organizations do it when promoting their campaigns. Local politicians do it when promoting their initiatives.


But Don Draper didn’t even mention the features of the “Wheel.” Instead, he told a story about a mentor named Teddy, which led him directly to the consumer benefit:


“This device…takes us to a place where we ache to go again…It’s called ‘The Carousel.’ It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around, back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.”


When speaking about your products, causes, and initiatives, forget about the features for a moment. Ask yourself what’s +behind +those features. Don’t tell me why I should care that your toothbrush has more bristles than other toothbrushes or that your initiative seeks to reduce urban blight. Look for the benefits +behind +those features instead. If you do, you might just find that you have a winning message.


 

Media professional Brad Phillips has worked closely with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors to help its advocates spread messages on burn injury and prevention, including the importance of home fire sprinklers. He is the author of The Media Training Bible and the Mr. Media Training Blog. &#0160;&#0160;


!http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_78_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_78_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_94_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_94_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Your feedback is needed! Take our new poll on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/331821515_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/331821515_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Missouri summit thrusts home fire sprinklers into the spotlight

 

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Do you know&#0160;Paul Machado? We introduced him to our growing army of sprinkler advocates earlier this year, the first in a series of new Faces of Fire profiles highlighting fire service members impacted by fire.&#0160;A Massachusetts resident and member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, Machado is now using his powerful story to exact change in his state.


 

A couple Massachusetts newspapers have picked up his op-ed on how the aftermath of a home fire in 2013 ended his friend&#39;s firefighting career, left him with debilitating injuries, and how it all could have been avoided if home fire sprinklers had been present. Machado also discussed&#0160;his support for two Massachusetts sprinkler bills that would give local towns and cities the option to require fire sprinklers in new homes. &quot;I’m hoping the Massachusetts Legislature will also do its part to prevent the travesties of home fires from occurring,&quot; he wrote in his op-ed.&#0160;


Since his Faces of Fire debut, Machado has also testified in support of these bills before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. "After a painful recovery, I realized that I was given a second chance at life," he stated. "Advocating for home fire sprinklers has become a part of that second chance."


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f43fa7970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f43fa7970b-320wi|alt=Act-Now|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f43fa7970b img-responsive!


 


 

Watch and share the following video of Machado produced through a collaboration with NFPA and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. And please realize your voice can be as equally powerful. Follow Machado&#39;s lead and write a quick op-ed to your local media in support of fire sprinklers. Not a writer? No problem. Use this template from NFPA. (If you&#39;re not a fire service member, simply edit out those words and craft a title that best suits you.)&#0160;


 


  


  


!http://i.zemanta.com/353768602_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/353768602_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Two families say hello to their sprinklered homes, courtesy of Habitat of Humanity

!http://i.zemanta.com/321174676_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/321174676_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA staff places their mark on fully sprinklered Habitat for Humanity homes

!http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action

!http://i.zemanta.com/308100317_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/308100317_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The Boston Globe underscores need for home fire sprinklers

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