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2020

bringing safety home award

 

Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, we are learning to adjust to the many changes in our daily lives and schedules as we work from home and perhaps in slightly different capacities. Yet even during these uncertain times, we know that continuing your efforts to enhance safety is extremely important to you.


That is why NFPA and the 
Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are extending the deadline for nominations for the Bringing Safety Home Award. The award recognizes outstanding efforts by a safety advocate who diligently promotes the importance of home fire sprinklers.

 

We are now accepting applications through Friday, April 3.

 

The Award honors members of the fire service and other fire sprinkler advocates in North America who use HFSC educational materials, NFPA data, and NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to educate decision-makers on home fire sprinklers. Efforts are aimed at educating the public and policymakers to increase the use of home fire sprinklers in new homes. The award winner will receive a $1,000 grant to further fire sprinkler advocacy and educational efforts in his/her area.

 

As we chart our course through these difficult times, let’s continue to work together to help honor our favorite home fire safety leaders. Download the application form then send it to firesprinklerinitiative@nfpa.org. Or visit the HFSC webpage where you can find the form along with additional resources and links to information about the award.

 

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

 

residential home fire sprinklers

In a recent interview the Washington DC CBS affiliate WUSA9, Loudoun County Fire Chief Keith Johnson nailed how Virginia residents can be safer from fire – install home fire sprinklers in new homes.

 

The story pointed out that Maryland and the District of Columbia both require all new homes to have home fire sprinklers, an effort that dramatically reduces the loss from fire. NFPA statistics say that if you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.

 

According to the piece, Virginia removed the building code provision for home fire sprinklers that is included in model codes on which the Virginia one is based.

 

The reporter asked Chief Johnson if people were safer living in Maryland or D.C. and he is quoted as saying, “I would say they're safer in homes that have residential sprinkles, absolutely.” Further saying that it’s a scary thought to not have sprinklers in your home.

 

Recent statistics from Maryland help make the case. According to the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, there were 66 Marylanders who died due to fire, compared to 71 in 2018. There were 471 incidents where a smoke alarm alerted the occupants where there were five fatalities, and 27 injuries to civilians and 164 incidents where residential sprinklers activated resulting in no deaths or injuries.

 

While smoke alarms are an essential fire safety component, home fire sprinklers provide an added level. Chief Johnson made a great analogy to the reporter about the progression from seat belts to seat belts and airbags in cars. He said, “It's kind of like seat belts in cars, smoke alarms back in the 70s in homes. We want that same protection for residential sprinklers because we know we can save lives. Property loss goes down by an average of 71 percent in homes that have protection by automatic sprinklers.”

 

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

coronavirus

As the world grapples with the unprecedented health crisis known as COVID-19 or the coronavirus, NFPA, like many organizations, is monitoring the U.S. Centers for Disease Controland Prevention and other governmental sources for COVID-19 updates and adjusting business practices as recommended.

 

We know that the information available through NFPA is of paramount importance to safety in both ordinary times and extraordinary ones. NFPA is fully operational and providing our tools and resources to those who depend on them to continue to do their jobs safely and protect their communities. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve put out a number of communications related to the pandemic.  For your convenience, here’s an overview of them and some additional information in one single post.

 

Emergency Planning

In a blog earlier this month, our Emergency Services Specialist John Montes wrote a blog entitled, Organizational Planning Tips for Pandemic Preparedness. While many may not immediately think of NFPA as the first place to go for resources in a medical emergency, Montes points to NFPA 1600, Standard on Continuity, Emergency, and Crisis Management  which was recognized as the US National Preparedness Standard by the 9/11 Commission. Widely used by public, not-for-profit, nongovernmental, and private entities on a local, regional, national, and global basis, NFPA 1600 has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a voluntary consensus standard for emergency preparedness. The standard is available on the NFPA website for free viewing, and offers key information for entities who want to conduct a risk assessment, business impact analysis, capabilities and needs assessments, and develop emergency and recovery plans.

 

He also references NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code which provides critical safety information and requirements for isolation spaces, emergency planning, IT and data infrastructure, and more. An additional resource is the NFPA Emergency Preparedness Checklist.

 

Responder Safety During Pandemics

When tragic events unfold, it is our first responders that are on the frontline, risking their own safety to help others. Staff Writer Angelo Verzoni speaks to a number of fire service professionals in the latest NFPA Journal Podcast. The timely podcast looks at the additional precautions that can be put in place to enhance the well-being of first responders.

 

Fire Doors and Life Safety

Kristin Bigda, the NFPA technical lead on building and life safety posted a blog - Don't Compromise Fire Safety While Responding to Coronavirus: Keep Fire Doors Operable after hearing that  facilities had begun propping fire doors open so that people didn’t have to touch handles for egress. While she recognizes the logic in terms of germ spread prevention, Bigda stresses that propping fire doors open presents significant hazards and risks in the event of a fire.  “It is imperative that we not forfeit institutional elements of safety while working to address others. In this case, we need to balance the risk of the coronavirus against other real hazards that have the potential to harm multiple people in a very short window of time,” the popular NFPA 101 blogger said.

 

NFPA codes and standards such as NFPA 1, Fire CodeNFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, govern the installation, inspection, testing and maintenance of fire doors.  Fire doors and other opening protectives such as shutters and windows must be operable at all times. 

 

Trainings and Certifications

Amidst travel bans and cancellations of face-to-face gatherings, we understand that individuals are not able to participate in live training programs or conferences aimed at keeping them up to date on the latest learnings for their professions or meeting various certification requirements. NFPA offers a full array of online training and certification programs to help meet those needs.

 

During this time, we are all focused on responding appropriately and continuing our efforts to enhance safety. Thank you for the work you all do. For the latest from NFPA, please visit our website.

home fire sprinkler week

 

The vast majority of fire deaths in North America happen at home. It’s imperative we bring attention to this problem--and its solution.

 

From May 17 – 23, 2020, the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition-Canada will celebrate Home Fire Sprinkler Week and encourage other home fire sprinkler advocated to join in with local activities at any time during the week.

 

Participating in Home Fire Sprinkler Week will send a powerful message to your local decision makers, residents, and even the media that fire sprinklers in new homes should be embraced. Here are some great ways to help you get started:

 

  1. Join forces: If your state or province has a fire sprinkler coalition, check with them to see if you
    can support their efforts. To find the locations, visit the fire sprinkler coalition page on the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.
  2. Pick a project: There are a number of great projects you can choose to take part in. Check out the list of potential activities.
  3. Make it public: Download and customize a proclamation for use by one of your community’s officials.

 

There's still plenty of time to plan an event or lend your support to an event in the works. Visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Week webpage for more information. 

In its latest resolution action, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) National Advisory Council unanimously approved one in support of Home Fire Sprinklers. The resolution was offered by the American Fire Sprinkler Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (FLSS), National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Protection Association, National Fire Sprinkler Association, and National Volunteer Fire Council, and is officially named, A Resolution Encouraging Stronger Federal Support for Home Fire Sprinkler Education and Advocacy, Including within Fire Service Community Risk Reduction Efforts.

 

The resolution touted the consistent facts used by national advocates on why home fire sprinklers are a key to reducing today’s home fire problem. The stark reality is that home fires are deadlier today as a result of unprotected lightweight construction material, open floor plans, and abundant synthetic furnishings, which make homes burn faster, becoming deadly in two minutes or less. Over 90 percent of all civilian structure fire deaths are in homes, and home fires cause $6.7 billion in direct property damage each year. Residential structure fires accounted for nearly 70 percent of firefighter injuries (70 percent of firefighter deaths were operating at structure fires - nearly 60 percent at one- and two- family homes).

 

Leveraging this information, the resolution calls for more federal support and policies to counter the negativity and misinformation associated with home fire sprinklers used by opponents who have spent more than $500 million to thwart efforts to increase the number of new homes that include fire sprinklers, which would dramatically reduce loss from home fires. In particular, the resolution supports funding and policies aimed at: supporting fire service strategies to enhance community risk reduction with home fire sprinkler education and advocacy; raising public awareness of the dangers of home fires to both civilians and responders; underscoring the unique protective benefits of installed fire sprinklers for homes and entire communities; building awareness of the role of home fire sprinklers in further protecting responders from home-fire exposure hazards, such as cancer and other diseases; and supporting proven, outcome-driven strategies to educate about home fire sprinklers.

 

More information on sprinklers can be found at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

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