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June 2016 Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter.JPGIt's monthly. It's free. It's delivered directly to your inbox.


Sign up today to receive our Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter, our popular publication highlighting critical news stories, free resources, and activities in support of safer homes across North America. For instance, the latest edition highlights:


  • a new webinar describing the fire concerns with today’s new homes (hosted by NFPA's staff expert)
  • first-of-its-kind Canadian summit linking the Ontario fire service with local homebuilders
  • a coroner demanding home fire sprinklers after witnessing the aftermath of a deadly fire


We promise the information will help educate you on the importance of home fire sprinklers, the opposition trying to fight this safety feature, and tactics to help you promote sprinklers in your region. Sign up for the monthly newsletter today.

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For 20 years, countless fire service members and residents have benefited from the resources produced by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). More than a dozen fire safety, insurance, and sprinkler industry organizations (including NFPA, a founding member) comprise the coalition, still seen as the primary resource for free, noncommercial information on home fire sprinklers. Twenty years later, HFSC is embracing the Digital Age with a noteworthy upgrade.


Take a peek at HFSC's newly revamped website, a user-friendly platform that easily links you to its free resources. Whether its information for the fire service or building officials or homebuilders, the new site makes what you're looking for easier to find. The site is also filled with interesting fire and sprinkler tidbits placed within eye-catching graphics.


Poke around the site today, and let us know what you think. Also, if you've missed the recap of HFSC's live burn demo at NFPA's Conference & Expo, read the blog post on the event.

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Take a behind-the-scenes look at how money and power are negatively impacting the safety of today’s homes.


Two stories recently appearing in ProPublica spotlight widespread campaigns by the homebuilding industry that successfully eliminated or prevented requirements for home fire sprinklers. According to the report, the housing industry has spent more than $517 million in the last decade on state politics and has been influential in thwarting sprinkler requirements in at least 25 states. Sprinkler opponents are also influencing state legislators while using its clout to impact code-making decisions in certain states.

Consider the following tidbits, outlined in the ProPublica report “Fire Fight” and its companion piece “The Fire Sprinkler War, State by State”:

  • There were close to 40 injury-causing fires in homes built since 2009 (when all model building codes started requiring sprinklers in these settings) in seven states that effectively blocked a sprinkler requirement. In 2014 alone, home fires resulted in more than 2,700 fire deaths (the majority of all fire deaths) and approximately 12,000 injuries in the U.S., according to NFPA, which conducts annual research on home fires.
  • According to the ProPublica story, New Jersey builders and realtors expended close to $750,000 in lobbying in 2015. That year, a bill to sprinkler all of the state’s one- and two-family homes advanced to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. He conditionally vetoed the bill, citing the sprinkler requirement would add thousands of dollars to homeowners. But the bill’s author, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, said the veto “was a slap in the face to a community of public safety officials who have endorsed, supported, and fought for this legislation.”
  • A two-year-old girl from Baldwinsville, New York, was killed in a 2015 fire in a home built only two years earlier. Had this home been built to the model building code, state fire officials noted at the time, it should have been sprinklered. Also that year, the state’s building code council was considering an update to its building code. The state’s fire service was optimistic that the tragedy would serve as the catalyst for requiring sprinklers. Sprinkler opponents produced radio and newspaper ads on the “job-killing proposal.” Additionally, a pro-builder member was appointed to the code council directly before a vote on sprinklers, states the article. The council eventually voted against the sprinkler rule. Around the time of the vote, New York City passed legislation to require sprinklers in all of its pet stores.
  • Political donations and heavy lobbying by sprinkler opponents in South Carolina played a part in keeping a sprinkler requirement off the books there. The local homebuilding association, according to the report, annually honors the "most builder friendly legislator" and spent lobbying dollars emailing, calling, and visiting local legislators to fight sprinkler requirements.


As fire safety advocates, you have the power to combat this opposition. Use the free resources and research by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative to inform your legislators and code-making bodies that home fire sprinklers should not be negotiable in new homes.


Please read both articles, and give us your feedback on these reports. What are you witnessing in your region that might be viewed as anti-sprinkler? How are you helping to counter the opposition and promote the message that sprinklers save lives? Post your comments here. Look for the link above to login or to register for free to join NFPA’s Xchange.

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NFPA's Matt Klaus explains the myths and facts about sprinkler installation at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs Home Fire Sprinkler Summit


“I’m a realist,” said Cynthia Ross-Tustin to a room of building and construction officials in Toronto this week. “Things move forward not at the speed of government but the speed of money. There needs to be something everyone can get out of [home fire sprinklers]. If we can work together so we can make safety a great selling point for your homes, we will take the next step in the evolution of safety. I offer this olive branch. But doing nothing is not a solution.”


Ross-Tustin, fire chief with the Essa Township Fire Department, is not alone in her push for safer homes across Ontario. Her like-minded comrades in the provincial fire service sat alongside building industry professionals at the recent Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Toronto. The event was hosted by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and partly sponsored by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's Bringing Safety Home Grant. At the event, parties typically at odds with each other on the issue of sprinklers seemed to find some common ground amid frank discussions on this topic.


During her presentation, Ross-Tustin combatted myths typically used by the homebuilding industry to fight sprinkler installation. She challenged the notion that “smoke alarms offer adequate fire protection” with a TV news clip of a child soundly sleeping through a beeping smoke alarm for two minutes. According to NFPA research, residents have as little as two minutes to safely escape a fire.


Cynthia Ross Tustin.jpgCynthia Ross-Tustin underscores Canada's home fire problem at recent summit


“How do we solve a two-minute escape problem?” Ross-Tustin asked attendees. “We feel to improve the survivability of home fires is the installation of fire sprinklers.”


Don’t believe the new-homes-are-safer notion either, she added after showing another clip of a burn demonstration of today’s modern, synthetic furnishings quickly incinerated by fire. “I don’t keep the stuff in my home that my grandparents did.


“What we’re trying to do is connect the dots for you.”


Further exposing the truth on sprinklers was NFPA sprinkler expert Matt Klaus. Commercial sprinklers and home fire sprinklers, he noted, are vastly different. NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, makes a point to maintain the simplicity and affordability of home fire sprinklers. “When it comes to NFPA 13D, the cost to homeowners and developers is always part of the equation," said Klaus. "It doesn’t include any superfluous equipment.”

The sprinkler dialogue seemed to have impacted a builder in attendance, who offered a challenge to attendees. “I will walk away from [this summit] with more information than I have ever gotten [on sprinklers] at this point. The starting point for sprinklers is saving lives. Now we got to see how we can put it to work.”




Watch a news clip of the event.


Fire officials in Ontario made a Canadian-sized push for safety this week, giving the local construction industry crucial information on home fire sprinklers.


Hosted by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and partly sponsored by NFPA’s Bringing Safety Home Grant, the Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Toronto was provincial advocates' initial attempts at initiating dialogue on sprinkler performance and cost as well as the realities of today’s home fires. Sprinklers in new homes aren’t required in the province, but safety advocates there hope the meeting fosters additional conversations between building and fire officials to bolster fire sprinkler education and acceptance in homes.


Sprinkler-Summit-Sign.jpgTopics at the summit ranged from the speed and deadliness of Canadian home fires to sprinkler mythbusting to Canadian case studies. One session underscored a sprinkler bylaw on the books in Pitt Meadows, a town outside of Vancouver. Named a "benchmark community" by NFPA (and cited in its 2013 sprinkler cost study report), the average cost to sprinkler new homes in this one-fire-hall town is a tad more than $1 per sprinklered square foot. A series of trade-ups for the building industry made sprinkler installation more palatable to this group, but it took time.

"After 20 years of [installing sprinklers], the sprinkler trade has gotten on par with electricians and roofers," said Dave Bruce, chief building officer for Pitt Meadows. "There's enough of them out there now doing the work, and the cost has come down to $1.07 per sprinklered square foot."


In addition to being cost-effective, sprinkler installations in Pitt Meadows have also been life-saving; since 2005, the town hasn't experienced a single fire death in a sprinklered home. Moreover, the fires in sprinklered homes have not spread beyond the room of origin.


Giving a swing of support for this cause at the summit was Paul Beeston, former president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays. This team has a long-term partnership with the Canadian Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council via the Swing Into Summer Safety Campaign. The focus of the campaign this year centers on smoke alarm and home fire sprinkler installation.

Check this blog often for additional updates from the summit.

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The aftermath of a grease fire and fire sprinkler activation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland


Here is our latest roundup of fire "sprinkler saves" from across the country. Many thanks to our advocates for alerting NFPA to these activations:


New Hanover County, North Carolina

Like it or not, a sprinkler activation does not have the same media appeal as a home fire. That's not to say advocates can't spice up an activation in a way that get's the media's attention. For example, New Hanover County Fire and Rescue invited a local media station inside a home to document a "rare, firsthand look" (as the story described it) of the aftermath of a fire in a sprinklered kitchen. According to the news report, there were no injuries, and the sprinklers contained the fire to the kitchen. "The public should be reminded that properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers help to minimize property damage and recovery costs," said Deputy Fire Chief Frank Meyers. "They save lives and save money." The story also cited NFPA's  U.S. Experience with Sprinklers report.


Prescott, Arizona

Another kitchen fire that could have been "potentially serious" was stopped in its tracks by sprinklers. The culprit, according to the news report, was a "box on the stove...that had a bunch of food, trash, and stuff in it." Nobody was home at the time of the fire. Noting that the sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading, Central Arizona Fire Division Chief Rick Chase also myth-busted some popular opinions on sprinklers. "'I don't want [sprinklers] to flood my whole house.' That's the kind of myths that people have." Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, Chase added.


Manassas, Virginia


A gas fire place inside a home ignited a nearby pile of clothing. The sprinklers "went off properly and suppressed the fire," states the news report. Firefighters were quickly able to rescue a man who was trapped upstairs by smoke. He was treated and released at the scene.


Following the activation, the City of Manassas Fire and Rescue also made a point to note a sprinkler's effectiveness: fire sprinklers cut the risk of dying in a fire by 80 percent, and reduce the risk of property loss by 70 percent.


Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Last month, firefighters responded to reports of a kitchen grease fire at 3:09 p.m. Nine minutes later, the fire was under control mainly by a sprinkler activation. Damage from the fire was minimal.


Montecito, California


Residents saw firsthand the power of California's fire sprinkler ordinance for new homes. Firefighters responded to a call of a fire inside a single-family home. By the time they arrived, the fire had been held in check by the sprinklers, stated a news report. Operating as intended, the sprinklers gave the two residents living in the home ample time to escape safely.


Looking for more sprinkler saves? Visit and subscribe to the Sprinkler Saves Blog,

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Rob Feeney, promoting the importance of fire sprinklers in front of TV media


In his previous post, Rob Feeney painstakingly describes his nightmares and realities soon after being severely injured from The Station Nightclub Fire, which killed 100 people, including his fiancée, Donna Mitchell. In his final installment for the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, Feeney chronicles how he found purpose as a burn survivor and became an unlikely champion for fire sprinklers.


Following The Station fire, I had very few plans except to see Donna’s two daughters through high school. After that, I really didn’t care what happened to me.


I struggled with my life’s purpose and self-sabotaged my own progress. I didn’t fully know how to take care of myself. I did go out—mostly to bars, mostly to see friend’s bands. I talked to everyone I could—friends, bartenders, strangers—but my pressure garments on my hands and my facial burns were still distinguishable and drew questions. It wasn’t hard to talk to people about what happened to me, but it was sometimes hard to hear them say “I almost went there that night” in response. It took years to realize posttraumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt had taken control of my life.

Along with the many questions I had about my own future, I had questions about The Station fire. I followed the investigation as closely as I could. I understood the factors that made this fire the nation’s fourth deadliest nightclub fire. What I didn’t understand was why the building and countless buildings across the country are so unsafe and allowed to remain open for business. The only answers I got were from my attorney and newspapers. Why didn’t the nightclub have fire sprinklers? I naively assumed that the majority of buildings I frequented were protected by them.

In 2006, I attended an educational event hosted by then Pleasantville, Tennessee, Fire Chief Shane Ray (now President of the National Fire Sprinkler Association) and Vickie Pritchett of Common Voices, an advocacy coalition promoting fire safety. They discussed fire sprinklers. They spoke about the costs of installing sprinklers in new construction and retrofitting them into older buildings, both residential and commercial. Chief Ray spoke about my fire. He said fire sprinklers would have made a difference. They would have saved lives, probably every life. One hundred of them.


I still had a lot of anger and sadness inside of me. I also had a desire to make sure another fire like The Station didn’t happen again and to tell my story. I found a new fight within me but I needed help finding my voice.


I was introduced to an organization called the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. It’s the largest national peer support organization for burn survivors, their families, healthcare professionals, and fire service and industry personnel. In September 2003, I attended its annual conference, the World Burn Congress, in Cleveland, Ohio. I was extremely overwhelmed and didn’t talk to many people the first couple of days. However, I listened to keynote speakers who battled through adversities and beat the odds to live a life of happiness.


That year I also met Amy Acton, Phoenix’s executive director. At next year’s World Burn, she remembered me. She asked if I would be available for local media interviews. She also invited me to attend a special training by media guru Brad Phillips to develop my advocacy skills. Amy then asked me to join her at a live burn/sprinkler demonstration and then a local TV show to discuss the Phoenix Society and fire sprinklers. I was enjoying what little I was doing, even though I didn’t know where it was leading.


In 2010, I got a call from Vickie Pritchett, who asked me if I would head to Tennessee to testify in front of the Chattanooga City Council to get a bylaw passed requiring fire sprinklers in the city’s nightclubs. The measure was voted down on two previous attempts and was up for its third and final try. I wrote a speech and handed out copies to each of the nine council members. I was about as nervous as I had ever been as I sat and listened to both sides of the sprinkler fight. Then a lawyer for some of the club owners against sprinklers started talking about The Station fire and many untruths about what occurred that night. One councilman said “The Station Nightclub Fire was a Rhode Island problem, not a Tennessee problem.” I now wanted to talk.


I was given three minutes to speak. During that time, I told them that three minutes was all it took to kill 96 of the 100 people in that fire. The bylaw passed by one vote. The councilman who had the deciding vote met me in the hallway to thank me for my testimony and let me know that I had changed his vote. Following the hearing, the mayor of Chattanooga invited us to his office and thanked me for helping him protect the people in his city.


I now realized what Amy Acton had in mind for me. I was using my voice and my story for a greater cause. I was a fire sprinkler advocate. Reliving my story was not only helping me emotionally, but was also helping enact changes in fire safety. I have since been invited to other speaking engagements for the Phoenix Society, Common Voices, and Vision 20/20—all groups championing for the installation of fire sprinklers. In 2013, I was honored to be the second recipient of the Phoenix Society’s Advocacy Award at World Burn Congress in Providence, RI.


Being an advocate led me to alter how I lived my life. It created a confidence I had been missing. I was able to find love again, get married, start a family, and (to the surprise of many people) enter the fire service.


I am one voice with one story trying to speak for Donna and the others who lost their voice in The Station fire. Raising awareness and advocating for new sprinkler laws has largely been an uphill battle. Sometimes it seems like an unnecessary battle because we’re talking about common sense. We’ve made definite footprints in the sand on the fire sprinkler issue but footprints in the sand can be washed away over time if they’re not walked over again and again. So, we walk again. We talk again. We keep going until our footprints are no longer in the sand, but are in concrete—to stay for good.


Rob Feeney recently became a call firefighter with the Onset Fire Department in Massachusetts and advocates for fire sprinklers and fire safety issues nationwide for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and Common Voices. The Phoenix Society now offers online advocacy training instructing others how to use their voice to affect change.

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

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Photo by Sarah Thompson

A teary-eyed resident of Rockland, Maine, recently received the keys to her new home, the 29th residence built by Midcoast Maine Habitat for Humanity. What makes this home different than the others is that it's protected by fire sprinklers.

Rockland has an ordinance to sprinkler all of its new homes. Habitat was able to cover the installation costs at the new home by receiving funds from a community development program. In order to secure the grant, "we just had to make the case that [sprinklers are] a health and safety issue," Tia Anderson, Midcoast Maine Habitat for Humanity's executive director, told the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

Safety advocates in other U.S. states have successfully collaborated with their local Habitat for Humanity for similar endeavors. For instance, Orange County, North Carolina, recently welcomed its 150th sprinklered home. A celebration in Austin, Texas, occurred last year following the sprinklering of its 200th Habitat home.


Watch the following video of another sprinkler installation involving a local Habitat for Humanity in Massachusetts:

Here's yet another reason to appreciate one of Texas' most beloved cities: an event earlier this month celebrated the 200th home now equipped with home fire sprinklers thanks to efforts by the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Habitat Austin has been installing sprinklers in new homes for the past decade, making it the second largest group of sprinklered Habitat homes in the world, according to a news release by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).


Habitat didn't complete this feat alone; the organization also received support from the Austin-San Antonio Chapter of SFPE and the Austin Fire Department. The celebration also included a live burn/sprinkler demonstration and the presentation of a $1,000 donation from SFPE to the Habitat chapter. (A similar burn demonstration recently took place in Arlington, Texas, with help from the Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition.)

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A national campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays features members of the team underscoring why fire sprinklers in homes are a home run.


Hosted in part by the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council in Canada, the Swing into Summer Safety Campaign utilizes Blue Jays players to promote key safety information. This year's campaign highlights how residents can "create a winning team" in homes by installing both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers. Promoting this message in public service announcements (which highlights the website for the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition) are players Marco Estrada and Brett Cecil. The campaign also includes free materials featuring the team that fire departments can use in their outreach efforts.


Another component of the campaign was the recent Fire Safety Day at Toronto's Rogers Centre Stadium. More than 47,000 fans watched the PSAs, received free information on fire sprinklers, and cheered NFPA mascot Sparky as he sent a stellar pitch to Blue Jays mascot Ace. (The Jays also beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-3.)

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Watch one of the PSAs produced for this campaign, which is attached to this post.

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NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team is in Vegas proudly promoting home fire sprinklers in creative ways. If you're in town for the show, please note the following opportunities:


  • NFPA's Expo officially opens today at 4 p.m. Swing by the NFPA booth to learn more about our Fire Sprinkler Initiative with Jeff Hudson, one of NFPA's regional sprinkler specialists. Pick up a few freebies while you're there.
  • Tuesday, June 14: Looking for information on how you can promote fire sprinklers in your community using a live burn/sprinkler demonstration? Swing by NFPA's The Annex (Mandalay Bay Foyer, Level 2), from 10:35-10:55 a.m. to speak with NFPA's Fred Durso and Jeff Hudson about these eye-catching demonstrations.
  • Tuesday, June 14: Speaking of live burn demonstrations, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is hosting one offsite on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Shuttle buses depart Mandalay Bay at 1:20 p.m. from the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium entrance. If you can't come to the event, watch it live on NFPA's Facebook page!
  • Tuesday, June 14: How can you effectively promote home fire sprinklers to the media? Attend the education session, "Promoting Fire Sprinklers: Doing it Right Can Save Lives" at 11 a.m. NFPA, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and Viking Group, Inc., will share best practices on effectively using social media, news releases, and your voice to get fire sprinklers on the media's radar.

silver sprinkler angle.jpgWhy are today's new homes raising eyebrows among fire safety experts across North America?

While more economical and environmentally friendly, modern homebuilding materials and the synthetic contents filling our homes pose challenges when exposed to fire. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative has hosted a new webinar underscoring the modern home environment and why home fire sprinklers play a crucial role in safeguarding residents from death and injury.

In the webinar, you'll learn about the evolution of homebuilding construction, including lightweight construction, common in many of today's homes; concerns with modern upholstered furniture and fire; and how larger open spaces in homes are exacerbating fires. Here's a snippet of the webinar:


The full, hour long video is available for free if you are logged into NFPA Xchange. Register for free today!



Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition.jpgAfter attending a meeting by the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition, one fire official better understands the benefits of fire sprinklers in an array of settings, particularly new homes.

"Perhaps you've only considered fire sprinklers [to] be a part of commercial buildings or large apartments," Margueritte Hickman with Oregon's Ashland Fire & Rescue wrote in a commentary that appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings. "A simpler and less expensive system can be installed in any home."


In her commentary, Hickman discusses the aesthetics, environmental benefits, and cost of sprinkler installation. "I can hear what you're thinking--they're expensive, they call go off at once, they're ugly. Actually, these are all myths. Let's dispel these myths."


Hickman adds that while many employees benefit from sprinkler protection at work, the same level of protection should occur at home, the place they spend most of their time. "I can guarantee that no one goes to work thinking, 'I'm going to have an accidental house fire today.' Wouldn't it be worth piece of mind to know that your family is safe by having home fire sprinklers?"


Learn the creative ways other Oregonians are promoting home fire sprinklers by visiting the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition page.

Sprinkler.jpgHeading to NFPA's Conference and Expo in Vegas? Looking for a reason to escape the conference hall (other than to stroll the Strip)? In conjunction with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) turning the big 2-0 this year, HFSC and NFPA are giving you the chance to view the power of fire during an off-site event. (For those not attending C&E, keep reading; this post has something for you, too.)


A burn demonstration is taking place on Tuesday, June 14 during NFPA's Conference showcasing two structures on fire--one with fire sprinklers and one without. These demonstrations are widely used by North American sprinkler advocates to underscore what little time you have to escape today's unsprinklered homes on fire. A shuttle bus will be leaving Mandalay Bay at 1:20 p.m. PST, departing from the Shark Reef Aquarium entrance (near the food court).


For those who can't make the burn or aren't attending the conference, take note: we'll be live-streaming the burn demo via Fabook live, which you can view on NFPA's Facebook page. Viewers will also have the ability to comment or ask questions in real time. The actual burn begins at 2 p.m. PST, but we'll be live streaming beginning at 1:45 p.m. PST. Check NFPA's Facebook page for any updates.

Hope to see you there--or online!


Get a taste of an actual live burn/fire sprinkler demo by watching this video:

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The American Burn Association (ABA) recently honored firefighter Phil Tammaro, a recent addition to the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's Faces of Fire Campaign, with its Burn Prevention Award. The accolade honors contributions to burn prevention that have a worldwide, nationwide, or statewide impact and has a major influence in shaping the careers of other burn prevention workers.


Significantly injured from a home fire when he was only two years old, Tammaro is now a vocal advocate for home fire sprinklers. He has spent the better part of the last four decades recovering from his burn injuries and lending his voice to national burn prevention efforts, including the necessity of sprinkler requirements in new homes. Tammaro has also served as a public fire and life safety educator for the Billerica, Massachusetts, Fire Department.


Helping burn survivors of all ages cope with their injuries has been a passion of Tammaro's. He has played a vital role in developing peer-support programs for Boston's Shriners Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital. Most recently, Tammaro became the project manager for the International Association of Fire Fighter's Charitable Foundation Burn Fund's Youth Firesetting Database. This system collects vital data on firesetting behavior.


Taking the issue of home fire sprinklers seriously, Tammaro is also a member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, which educates and advocates for this life-saving technology statewide.


Congratulations, Phil!


Watch and share this video highlighting Phil's story:





We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!


A day of celebration ended tragically when a couple in their 30s died from a fire in their home earlier this year. Deciding to spend a low-key New Year's at home, the couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning attributed to the fire, which was caused by a cigarette that ignited bedding, reports the Manchester Evening News. An inquest determined that the smell of smoke likely woke the couple, but they quickly became unconscious by the fumes.


Upon learning the official cause of death, assistant coroner Jean Harkin has vowed to urge council officials and housing associations in her English town to seriously consider home fire sprinklers. The paper also reports that she plans on writing to her government to "champion a push for all residential buildings."


"Whilst they might not prevent all deaths, they might prevent some," Harkin told the paper.


Become an advocate like Harkin, and tell your legislators and code-making bodies that home fires--and home fire sprinklers--need their immediate attention. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative gives you everything you need to make a compelling case for this life-saving technology.

Winning.jpgAs previously reported on this blog, a crucial vote took place on a proposal to place a requirement in the International Code Council's (ICC) International Residential Code to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes into the annex of the code's 2018 edition. The proposal would make sprinklers an adoptable option, thereby weakening this provision. ICC members were asked to support or oppose the motion via an online vote, and NFPA urged ICC members to cast a vote in opposition of the proposal.


The IRC Residential Building Code Committee disapproved this proposal--as did voters. The IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition reports that 84 percent of voters opposed the proposal. These numbers showcase a widespread desire to eliminate America's home fire problem via the increased use of home fire sprinklers. Weakening this requirement would be a huge step backward for fire safety.


If a public comment is submitted on this proposal, another online vote will be conducted in November to determine a final outcome. If there are any updates to report, we'll post them to this blog. But for now, let's celebrate this victory.


Many thanks to those who cast a vote in support of fire safety!

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

Captain Anthony Simone (left) received a new, sprinklered home with help from Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit that builds specially adapted homes for veterans. Joining Simone at a special ceremony was Timothy McHale, the nonprofit's president and CEO.


“When your life is altered completely and normal is no longer a word that applies to you, it can be a totally life-changing incident,” said Air Force Captain Anthony Simone, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a rescue helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2010. He gave those words during a May ceremony in Manhattan, Illinois, where he received the keys to his new home provided by Homes for Our Troops. The nonprofit builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for veterans. Though sad about the horror he and his family have gone through post-injury, I’m thankful his home is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and also includes fire sprinklers.


The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board and the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition first heard about Simone, his family, and Homes For Our Troops from Manhattan Fire Protection District Chief Dan Forsythe. When I first saw the plans, I noticed a closet that seconded as a safe room for hurricanes. Although we do not have hurricanes in Illinois, we do have fires. Home fire sprinklers are essential in protecting the entire home—not just a single room—in the event of a fire.


We decided that donating fire sprinklers and the installation was in order. We worked closely with Chief Forsythe and Bill Sutterlin from Advanced Fire Protection to ensure a quality design and installation in accordance with NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. The water was supplied by a well pump.


homesforourtroops home.jpg

Simone's new home in Manhattan, Illinois.


Manhattan is one of 104 Illinois jurisdictions that have adopted home fire sprinkler requirements. Village officials have maintained the importance of following the national model codes despite one of the county commissioners looking to eliminate all building codes for three years to "help boost construction." While protecting Simone and his family, the project with Homes For Our Troops also helped educate elected officials about fire sprinkler necessity. We also conducted a live burn/sprinkler demonstration near the home.


We were fortunate to provide Captain Simone and his family with the utmost in fire protection. It was a simple act with simple motives: to help someone who needs more help than we do. Please help your wounded veterans by looking into opportunities with Home For Our Troops to see what you can do in your region to help protect veterans from the dangers of fire. There is no shortage of needy families.


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.

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