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2019

How can you leverage social media to champion the life-saving power of home fire sprinklers? The answer to this question was the focus of Changing the Conversation and Raising Awareness for Fire Sprinklers #fastestwater, a well-attended session at the NFPA conference and Expo yesterday in San Antonio, Texas.

Presenting was Vickie Pritchett, the Director of Outreach & Government Relations at the National Fire Sprinkler Association. She highlighted the power of social media, citing how it provides immediate access to information, fosters connectivity and the opportunity to influence and create a movement.

With all the positives of social media, not surprisingly it's not all good. As so many of us have witnessed, people can easily hide behind their anonymity and the platforms can be a place of "all talk and no action."

Despite these negatives, it's to our advantage to embrace social media to help raise awareness for home fire sprinklers. By doing so, "We are advancing the conversation and we are saving lives," said Vickie.

To ensure your social media efforts are primed to make a positive impact, Vickie offered the following advice:

 

As you might have seen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, sprinkler advocates across North America, including members of NFPA, NFSA, HFSC and AFSA recently took part in Home Fire Sprinkler Week. Social media proved to be an impactful way to get the word out and generate conversation about this life-saving technology. Did you participate and use social media in your own advocacy campaign? We invite you to share your social success story below.

 

 

 

Today's post was written by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board:

 

During the holiday season, my family and I took a trip to the Wisconsin Dells and passed through Winnebago County, Illinois. I was reminded of our good fire safety friend and patriot Chief Rob Martin of the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District. Dedicated to his family, his fire district, and his country Chief Rob Martin is certainly someone I look up to.

 

Rob is one of the esteemed Illinois Fire Service and Building Department Class of 2008(9) and was an asset to the Minnesota ICC historical vote for the inclusion of residential fire sprinklers and the NFPA votes for same. He then did his own research and spoke with community leaders and the fire district board to push for fire sprinklers at a local level. I could never forget his enthusiasm for this issue and for being a part of this effort.

 

Win-Bur-Sew is one of the most progressive Illinois fire districts outside of the Chicago area. Chief Martin and the Board of Trustees of the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District are examples to all. Their district requires fire sprinklers in all new construction at a zero square foot fire sprinkler threshold, including townhomes and single-family homes following the NFPA 13D standard. This forward thinking is a result of Chief Martin’s dedication to community safety.

 

Chief Martin understands the importance of educating his community. As a member of a Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) Built For Life Fire Department, he uses consumer education and other available resources to make sure his community understands the life-saving value of home fire sprinklers. He conducts open houses in homes protected with fire sprinklers. To demonstrate how quickly a house fire spreads compared to how quickly a fire sprinkler prevents a fire from becoming deadly, he conducts live side-by-side fire and sprinkler demonstrations.

 

Chief Martin extended his dedication to community and safety through his extensive military service. As a member of the Army and Army Reserve, he deployed to Afghanistan with the Public Safety Team for Civil Affairs, connecting to local civilians and working with their communities and government to create safer living conditions. During his deployment to Afghanistan, he worked as Deputy Chief of Stability Operations. In Iraq, he worked with Civil Affairs and worked with communities to rebuild infrastructure and care for community needs. He also served in the United States, training soldiers for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 

Major Martin interacts with the Iraqi Children of the city of Yousaffia, Iraq, May 2004. Major Martin and his Civil Affairs team were conducting an infrastructure assessment for the area.

 

Now firmly back in the US after three overseas commitments Chief Martin had to defend his code from attempts to reverse his progressive measures at a recent board meeting where the attempt was held off. His dedication to community and safety is the groundwork for all his efforts. Chief Martin’s and the Board’s action put fire safety first for all new residential and commercial buildings, making Win-Bur-Sew a model to follow. Thank you, Chief Martin!

 

Tom Lia is 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. This blog regularly features Lia's perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.

With nearly 40 educational initiatives occurring across North America and one in Europe, the 2019 Home Fire Sprinkler Week has been deemed a success. Through social media, video, local community events, and more, advocates took action to raise awareness about the lifesaving benefits of sprinklers. Here is just a sampling of some of the Home Fire Sprinkler Week activities that took place: 

 

  • The Wisconsin Fire Sprinkler Coalition hosted a live side-by-side burn to demonstrate the power of fire and home fire sprinklers to more than 150 people at Madison’s annual Brat Fest.
  • As part of a live burn/sprinkler demonstration in Edmonton, Alberta, sprinkler advocates, including members of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition – Canada, used eye-catching graphics to dispel some of the common myths about home fire sprinklers.
  • In New York, the Oneida Fire Department showed Otto Shortell Middle School students just how quickly flashover can occur and how home fire sprinklers can save lives.
  • The Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition and Honolulu Hawaii Fire Department produced creative and informative videos about home fire sprinklers.
  • NFPA joined United States Deputy Fire Administrator Dr. Denis Onieal, and Massachusetts Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier and others for a Home Fire Sprinkler Week media event in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

 

A big thank you to everyone who played a part in making this Week a success. To view more photos from events that took place, we invite you to visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Week photo gallery on Facebook. If you have photos from your event, please send them to NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative team.

 

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