During a recent news conference, Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition Chair Keith Flood, NFPA, and the state's top fire service leaders address a recent fire that killed a six-year-old girl in a new home
Connecticut’s top fire service organizations joined NFPA at the South Fire District in Middletown, Connecticut, this week to address a home fire in September that killed a six-year-old girl in a new home and inaction by state decision makers to provide a key safety feature in new homes.
“I find it appalling that in 2016 we continue to witness the devastation from home fires when the solution to this problem has existed for years,” Keith Flood, fire marshal for the West Haven Fire Department and chair of the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, said at today’s event. “Inaction by our state’s decision makers has led to another tragedy. We need them to finally start embracing home fire sprinklers and stop listening to the rhetoric by local fire sprinkler opponents. Now is the time to bolster laws that will lead to safer homes for future generations.”
Earlier this year, the six-year-old girl and her family moved into their Plainfield home. Had the home followed requirements found in all U.S. model building codes when it was built earlier this year, it should have included fire sprinklers. This technology can reduce the risk of dying in home fires by 80 percent, according to NFPA.
However, Connecticut’s code-making body has decided not to adopt this requirement each time it has updated the state building code since 2010. Similarly, legislative bills that would have required fire sprinklers in new homes have been defeated with help from local fire sprinkler opponents. These opponents, mainly the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut, claim this technology is burdensome, not necessary, and expensive—all myths countered by solid research.
At today’s event, which was covered by a local news station and a Fox affiliate, a side-by-side fire demonstration using two identical structures underscored how quickly fire spreads in homes and how rapidly home fire sprinklers can extinguish fires. Moreover, the local fire service once again urged state decision makers to pass a requirement to fire sprinkler all new homes following the recent tragedy. Backing this requirement is the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, which was formed in 2014 to educate the public and state’s decision makers on how this technology can successfully combat the state’s home fire problem.
Connecticut law requires homebuilders to offer fire sprinklers as an option to homebuyers, but state fire officials say this option doesn’t go far enough to protect lives.
NFPA's Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, underscores the necessity of home fire sprinklers at the Connecticut event
The Connecticut Coalition is part of a grassroots movement aimed at eliminating home fire deaths and injuries. There are now 30 state sprinkler coalitions addressing America’s home fire problem. “Fire sprinklers are virtually commonplace in every other setting except the place where fire causes the most injury and death,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, said at the Connecticut event. “States and communities across the country have seen the successes of creating requirements for fire sprinklering new homes. Connecticut, too, can make a significant improvement in its home fire problem by requiring fire sprinklers, which research proves can be a cost-effective addition to new homes."