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2019

Today’s post was written by guest contributor, Peg Paul, Communications Manager at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition:

 

Home fire sprinklers are a proven, long-term solution to the home fire problem. But the fire service often faces many challenges when working to protect new housing stock. In jurisdictions that do not have codes that require fire sprinklers in new construction, the fire service is taking a different path to improve community risk reduction. Fire departments from Washington State to New England are using home fire sprinkler incentives (sometimes called trade-ups) as valuable motivation to install NFPA 13D systems in new-home developments.

 

Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) are finding that developers and big builders who balk at sprinkler code discussions are all ears when offered financial benefits in exchange for installation. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has published a series of case studies on its website that summarize these successful AHJ-led efforts. The incentives are wide ranging, from bottom-line benefits like increased hydrant spacing, allowing higher density resulting in additional units, to infrastructure cost-savings, such as allowing reduced street width.

        AHJs successfully negotiated with a developer in Camas, Washington.

 

Read their stories to learn how these AHJs found common ground with local builders and how you might do the same through your coalition.

 

Already offering home fire sprinkler incentives? We want to hear from you! Please share your story: info@homefiresprinkler.org.

The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) were recently involved in a project working with Designing Spaces, a home improvement show, to retrofit a home for vets with disabilities. When they were asked to sponsor the project, the two groups didn’t think twice about getting involved.

 

 

The sprinkler installation was for Noah Currier’s home in Poplar Grove, Illinois. Currier, a quadriplegic, not only lives in the house but also runs weekly clinics out of his residence for the Oscar Mike Foundation. After years of working through his own challenges, he founded the foundation to keep veterans “on-the-move” through adaptive sports programs.

 

Noah knows the devastating effects of fire all too well; his dad was in a house fire where he was severely burned and suffered smoke inhalation. The fire also left the house unsalvageable.

 

Now, the safety and protection of his own home – and those that visit it – is top of mind for Noah, who is also a veteran himself. On any given day in the 9,000 square-foot fully accessible residence, more than a dozen people with disabilities may be in it taking part in activities and events. Noah is aware that house fire can become deadly in less than two minutes and that to survive means being able to escape quickly. "It takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, into my wheelchair and outside," Noah explained.

 

After the producers of Designing Spaces, which airs on Lifetime, heard that Noah’s house needed a remodel, they were eager to help and install home fire sprinklers to help protect the home. Designing Spaces worked with United States Alliance Fire Protection (USAFP), a fire sprinkler contractor, to design and retrofit the system in accordance with 13D code requirements  

 

The episode that features the sprinkler installation at the Oscar Mike Foundation aired as part of a three-part series. Here is a clip from the show, where the Designing Spaces host, Ryan, talks with USAFP President, Chad Huennekens, who explains how fire sprinklers protect people in the home.

 

 

 

In an update shared by Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), Noah said, “We're really grateful for the support. We've already had a few weeks of clinics come in since the remodel, and everyone is loving it. The home is going to be used to serve injured veterans for a long time."

 

No one was home at a McKinney, Texas apartment when a fire broke out in the kitchen. Firefighters received a call about smoke and when they arrived at the scene, they found that the sprinkler system had successfully stopped the fire from spreading beyond the room of origin, according to North Texas e-News report.

“Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century in public and commercial buildings,” said McKinney Fire Marshal Mike Smith. “That same lifesaving technology is just as effective when it comes to protecting your home.” 

According to NFPA's research:

 

  • when sprinklers were present during a fire, the fire was kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.
  • In roughly nine of every ten home fires with operating sprinklers, just one sprinkler operates.

 

Has your fire department responded to any fire sprinkler activations? Have you seen any in the news? If so please send these saves to the Fire Sprinkler Initiative team so we can highlight them in a future blog post.

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