Phil Egan begins his commentary for the North Bay Nipissing News with this heartbreaking line: "On the cold, winter night that my 24-year-old sister Frances lay down to sleep, she never realized she had spent her last day on earth."
Living only a three-minute "run" from the nearest fire station, Frances did not survive a fire at her home, which had no working smoke alarms, states Egan. Since the 1984 fire, Egan has become a safety advocate; he explains the fire threats in new homes that weren't there at the time of his sister's fire; he underscores fast-burning, synthetic furnishings filling our homes; and he embraces the answer to lessening fire's damaging impact at home.
"The statistics [on home fire sprinklers] are impressive," he states in his commentary. "According to NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, fires were kept from spreading beyond the room of origin 97 percent of the time when home sprinklers were present. These numbers represent a significant saving in lives and property."
As for installation costs, he adds, "Well, it's certainly far less of a burden than the irreplaceable loss of Frances."
Do you have a home fire story? Humanizing the impacts of home fires is a powerful way to convince decision makers to require home fire sprinklers. Join our many other Faces of Fire subjects and please share your story in the comments section or send us an email.