Burn survivor: We must band together to promote home fire sprinklers

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Jan 27, 2017


In her final installment, blogger Cindy Rutter discusses how volunteering and promoting home fire sprinklers gave her a sense of purpose following a home fire that burned 85 percent of her body:


Working as a burn unit nurse, I took pride in helping people recover. I was proud of my accomplishments, but felt I could be doing more to eliminate the pain associated with burns. I eventually found a new sense of purpose by volunteering with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.


I got involved on many levels, from planning their annual World Burn Congress to developing their Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) Program. I also had a hand in developing Phoenix’s advocacy program for home fire sprinklers. If one person could be saved from death or injury from a home fire—something I had endured—I needed to be involved in that effort.


In 2003, I bought a sprinklered home in California. I have felt safer in that home than any other I’ve lived in. I wish every homeowner were given information on how inexpensive sprinklers are if installed during a home’s construction. This technology pales in comparison to the financial consequences of being in a burn unit or the lifelong impact of a burn injury. I wanted to tell all homebuilders, contractors, and others that fire sprinklers could have prevented my injuries and others from living a life of pain and turmoil from home fire. Through support from the Phoenix Society, I eventually took my story to legislators and congressional members. They needed to know that nobody should go through what I went through.


Sadly, though, people are still enduring these injuries. I’ve been blessed to volunteer at burn camps for more than 25 years. I have facilitated adult burn retreats and youth summits. Recently I began facilitating a burn survivor family camp through the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. I have spoken annually at national and international burn conferences. My prevention message is always in full force.


I have fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a nurse. My career has shifted a bit; I now am working as a therapist intern and now tend to a person’s psychological needs. Volunteering countless hours, however, has paid in ways money can’t touch.

Every time I attend a burn community event and hear how many individuals are burned from home fires, I still cringe. Fire sprinklers are the solution to this problem. We as a community have to band together to have our voices heard at every venue possible. Let’s all stand together and demand change.


I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share my journey with you.