One of the best ways we know of to improve fire safety outcomes is in preparing ahead for emergencies before they happen. And whenever there is the possibility to collaborate with others toward that goal, the more opportunities we have to further reduce risks for injuries, damage, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards in our homes and communities.
Such is the case when the Grossinger family of Draper, Utah, asked their local fire department for assistance with wildfire mitigation measures around their home. The department happily obliged, but when crews arrived, they noticed that the home’s smoke alarm and sprinkler systems needed to be updated. They sprang into action, organizing a service project to upgrade both systems. The case was particularly special because the parents and older daughter of the family are deaf and rely on the younger son to inform them if smoke alarms sound or if there is a fire. Local partners donated and installed new visual smoke alarms and worked on repairing and updating the home’s residential fire sprinkler system. According to local news reports, the project was organized as part of NFPA’s National Fire Prevention Week that ran October 4 – 10, and was intended not only to serve as a reminder for other homeowners to review their own fire safety measures during the week of the campaign, but to do so all year long.
Research shows that fires can become deadly in as little as two minutes. Home fire sprinklers provide fire detection and suppression early on, allowing building occupants valuable time to escape. But they need to be properly installed and maintained to perform as intended. The challenge is many community residents may not know about the benefits of sprinklers or how to get them.
Collaborative opportunities like this positive story from Draper is just one example of how safety advocates are raising awareness of the importance of sprinklers and encouraging community residents to take proactive action to improve fire safety for their families.
Educating residents on sprinkler options, incentives, and other key information about this life saving technology is key. Tools such as education kits for fire departments, homeowners, and local officials can also be used to support this endeavor.
Mark Grossinger (left), Don Buckley, Fire Marshal – Draper City Fire Department (Utah) (center), and Brooke Grossinger (right); photo courtesy of the Draper Fire Department