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408 Posts authored by: ryan.quinn Employee reports that a single residential fire sprinkler put out a fire caused by unattended cooking in Rochester, NH, avoiding a potential three-story building fire.

The article says firefighters were called to the scene just before 4 p.m. for the report of a kitchen fire. According to officials, the fire was out before they arrived due to the activation of the residential fire sprinkler in the unit.

“The sprinkler system did its job, not only saving the building, but also the residents,” said Deputy Fire Chief Peter Cutrer.

The sprinkler caused minimal water damage to the building, displacing residents of two apartments.  All other residents were able to reoccupy their units 45 minutes after the call. No one was injured during the event.

Christmas tree fireLast week, two separate Christmas tree fires were reported by Northshore News in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and South Carolina's The State, with vastly different outcomes. The home's fire sprinklers controlled the first fire and no one was hurt; the other fire was caused the death of two precious children.

The City of North Vancouver Fire Department responded to a townhouse fire to find the home's fire sprinkler system had extinguished it. “Luckily the townhouse unit has a sprinkler system in the building,” said fire chief Dan Pistilli.

The tree ignited when the homeowner lit a sparkler for their young child and got too close to the tree, said Pistilli. He also said the situation could have been much worse. “If the unit did not have a sprinkler system it would have been a different result.”

He is right. In Lexington County, South Carolina, holiday joy turns to tragedy, as a family tries to cope with the death of two small children after an electrical malfunction ignited a Christmas tree. This home was not proteced by fire sprinklers. Investigators said it’s likely that fire sprinklers would have put the fire out and saved the children’s lives.

NFPA statistics reveal that on average one of every 40 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

Christmas trees burn fast and hot. Families may have less than 30 seconds to escape alive, as seen in the following video demonstration from the National Institute of Science and Technology:


Fire sprinklers will act quickly and effectively to control the fire, providing additional escape time and allowing families to survive.

Read NFPA’s Christmas tree safety tips and home fire sprinklers information.

When custom homebuilder Bill McNaughton chose to build his family’s new 3,800+ square-foot custom home in Western Springs, Illinois, it was a “no-brainer” for him to install a fire sprinkler system as reported by the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). He wanted to be sure that his wife Jennifer, and their 19-month-old son William, are protected when he's not home.

McNaughton family

According to the article, McNaughton gained experience with residential fire sprinklers by building custom homes in neighboring Clarendon Hills, a community that has required fire sprinklers in all new home construction since August 2000. While some homebuilders believe that fire sprinklers amount to extra costs, McNaughton instead believes they are a unique selling advantage for homebuilders and offers them as an option to his custom home clients — even in communities where they are not required by code or ordinance.

“Consumers need to be educated about home fire sprinklers, but so do homebuilders and those that sell homes to the consumer. It’s important that the consumer is getting the actual facts and completely accurate information, especially in regard to costs,” says McNaughton.

According to Western Springs Deputy Fire Chief Gary Mayor, the home will be a model of fire safety within the community.

“The construction of the home is on schedule, and we’re looking forward to starting the New Year in our new fire-safe home,” stated McNaughton at an October open house, which showcased the home’s installed fire sprinkler system.

 “Thanks to the fire sprinkler system, the house will be protected from fire for generations to come,” said Tom Lia, Executive Director for NIFSAB.


!|src=|alt=Salina Habitat|title=Salina Habitat|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111684e0291970c019b02bd70af970b! reports that a[ Salina Habitat for Humanity  |]house will be equipped with fire sprinklers. It will be the first Habitat house in the state to feature a sprinkler system. The public has been invited to an open house.


According to the report Salina Fire Departmentfire marshal Roger Williams said he made a presentation to the Habitat board in 2011 about how residential fire sprinklers work. The board and fire department worked toward installing a sprinkler system in Salina's 35th Habitat house, which is under construction.
!|src=|alt=Balzemaster|style=width: 450px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;|title=Balzemaster|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111684e0291970c019b02bdd954970d!

Bamford Fire Sprinkler partnered with Habitat to provide the materials and installation of the sprinkler system.

Williams said recent state legislation prevents communities from requiring that sprinkler systems be installed in new residential construction. However, he said sprinklers are a life-saving tool that he hopes more homeowners consider.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Angie's List founder promotes home fire sprinklers

Students from the Detroit Carpenters Apprenticeship School in Ferndale, Michigan got a first-hand lesson in fire prevention when they took part in classroom instruction and a side-by-side, live burn demonstration, provided by the Ferndale Fire Department.

The fire department participates in the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) Built-for-Life fire department program and received a stipend from HFSC to conduct the program.

Eighteen apprentices and staff, led by eight firefighters built the units that were used to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of home fire sprinklers. One unit was equipped with a smoke alarm and a fire sprinkler; the second unit was equipped with a smoke alarm.


“The students were amazed at how fast the fire flashed over and consumed the furniture in the (unprotected) room…,” said Brian Batten, Fire Marshal of the Ferndale Fire Department. The sprinkler in the protected room activated within one-and-a-half minutes and extinguished the blaze.

The Ferndale Fire Department plans to conduct another burn for the school in February, when new students join, followed by another two burns which six months.

Fire marshal Batten thanked HFSC for the opportunity. “I believe it will definitely make a difference as we repeat the training and these apprentices go out and build or renovate homes,” he said.

Recently, NFPA invited state fire marshals to participate in a webinar that explored the history of antifreeze in fire sprinkler systems, safety alerts, final disposition by the standards council and the requirements found in the 2013 editions of NFPA 13, NFPA 13D and NFPA13R standards.

Matt Klaus, Senior Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA, answered questions from state fire marshals regarding the TIAs and new requirements mandating the use of listed antifreeze solution for all new NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, or 13D sprinkler systems. He says these documents no longer allow the use of "traditional" antifreeze solutions such as propylene glycol or glycerin.

It is assumed that all fire sprinkler systems installed after September 30, 2012 meet the minimum requirements found in the standards.

Download Antifreeze Webinar Slideshow

Learn more about the use of antifreeze in sprinkler systems.

Learn more about the following NFPA documents:


!|src=|alt=Angie Hicks|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Angie Hicks|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b0232faee970c!Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care, has written an article titled Living Smart: Home fire sprinkler systems. The article has been picked up by The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Beeand several other media outlets.

“If you really want to keep your home and the people and property in it as safe as possible from fire, consider a residential sprinkler system,” says Ms. Hicks.


She cites home fire death statistics from the[ U.S. Fire Administration |], the cost of home fire sprinklersfrom the National Fire Protection Research Foundation’s study and she dispels some of the usual mythsin the article.


In 2012, a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 66 seconds.

    • One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds.

    • One civilian fire injury was reported every 32 minutes.

    • One civilian fire death occurred every 3 hours and 4 minutes.


Home structure firescaused 83% of the civilian fire deaths and 78% of the civilian fire injuries.


Sprinklers save lives and property from fire. Compared to properties without automatic extinguishing equipment and specifying wet-pipe sprinklers

 The death rate per fire in sprinklered homes is lower by 82%.

 Direct property damage per fire in sprinklered homes is lower by 68%.


Previously, home remodeling guru Bob Vila also weighed in with his own recommendations on residential fire sprinkler systems.

This most recent, well balanced article from such a high-profile person as Angie Hicks is certain to make an impact on consumers and others who read it. Way to go Angie!


See NFPA's report, "Fire Loss in the United States During 2012"


!|src=|alt=FSI newsletter|title=FSI newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b0234114a970d!
[Subscribe for free today |]

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Bob Vila weighs in on home fire sprinkler systems
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA report: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!IBHS dispels myths about residential fire sprinklers
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Home fire sprinkler research, reports and statistics
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Living Smart: Home fire sprinkler systems
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Living Smart: Home fire sprinkler systems
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Living Smart: Home fire sprinkler systems

Couch on fireSeacoast online has reported that a Thanksgiving eve fire at a Portsmouth, NH home was sparked by a lamp and displaced the residents. According to the report, Deputy Fire Chief Carl Roediger said that sprinklers “saved the house.”  

Firefighters were called to the home at about 9 p.m. when one of the residents said he just returned home and found his couch on fire. The fire had been “pretty much put out” by the residential sprinkler system and firefighters removed the smoldering couch from the home, according to the deputy chief.  “It once again points out the value of residential sprinklers,” he said.

This fire is just another example of the effectiveness of home fire sprinklers. While the residents were away, it worked to keep the fire in check, preventing substantial property loss.

Home fire sprinklers save both lives and property. According to NFPA statistics, direct property damage per fire in sprinklered homes is lower by 68%.

On Thanksgiving morning, the burned couch remained in front of the property, while maintenance men inspected the fire scene according to the report.

Roediger said an investigation revealed that a lamp fell onto the couch while no one was home and heat from the lamp sparked the fire.

SprinklerThe Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) announced that the Village of Westchester has updated its building code, which included a requirement for fire sprinkler systems in new construction single-family homes.

According to NIFSAB, “with the passage, Westchester is now one of 91 Illinois communities with home fire sprinkler requirements, resulting in safer homes for residents and responding firefighters alike.”

Tom Lia, Executive Director of NIFSAB notes that “the decision to require home fire sprinklers not only makes sense in terms of life safety, but also financially for residents and communities.”.

Visit the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition site for more information about advocacy in the state.

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!|src=|alt=Fire sprinkler|width=163|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire sprinkler|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01a66ded970c|height=140!As reported on, a sprinkler system at Pineview Apartments in Waterloo is being credited for keeping a fire from spreading to other apartments.

The fire was reported around 2:30 p.m. Fire officials said no one was inside at the time and believe the fire started on a couch in the apartment.

The fire was contained to one room on the second floor, thanks to the building's sprinkler system.


Residential fire sprinklers save lives and propertyand protect the environment,as evidenced by the following side-by-side live burn demonstration:



  !|src=|alt=FSI newsletter|width=384|style=width: 387px; height: 83px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;|title=FSI newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01a6e74e970b|height=84!Subscribe for free today

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Apartment fire kept in check by fire sprinkler system

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Fire sprinkler system stops Portsmouth, NH apartment fire

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Kitchen fire quickly extinguished by fire sprinkler

!|src=|alt=Modern home fire 2|title=Modern home fire 2|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0111684e0291970c019b0199b186970d!

"There's not a fire department in the world that can respond to your home and rescue you in that time,"


The threats of lightweight construction and modern home contents have been highlighted here for some time. Extensive coverage of the issue has now piqued the curiosity of the media, and they are asking questions.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via e-mail by Deputy Chief Borry of the Manheim Township Fire Department in Pennsylvania who wrote, “our department has been asked to provide an interview to our local newspaper on the hazards of lightweight construction…”


He asked for a copy of the free presentationprovided by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and what follows is an excerpt of an article - underscoring the challenges facing the fire service - that appeared November 17 in Lancaster online:


A few generations ago, homes were built with sturdy lumber and furnished with natural fabrics and wood. These days, almost everything's made of petroleum-based fibers, plastics and glue — and while modern materials might be more affordable, there's a price to pay for progress. Fire.

"With today's fire, by the time we arrive the building could be in a flashover state," says city Fire Marshal Dave Amico. Flashover, Amico says, is the hottest point of a fire — and it's the most dangerous moment for occupants and firefighters alike. "Everything in the room has reached a temperature where everything begins to burn," he says. "Violently."


Modern materials burn more quickly, generate more heat and emit black, toxic smoke, Amico explains. That means less time for occupants to evacuate a burning home.  Similarly, according to Don Forry, director of code compliance for Manheim Township, homes used to seat floors on sturdy 2-by-10-inch or 2-by-12-inch lumber. Now, pre-engineered trusses — often built from a composite of nonwood materials — may burn more quickly. The trusses use glues and resins that can melt at high temperatures and allow longer gaps between supports, all of which means floors are quicker to collapse in a fire.

Testing*...has shown that a traditional lumber construction will give firefighters a good 18 minutes before a burning floor is likely to give way, Forry says. Pre-engineered trusses last about 6 minutes. "There have been several documented deaths and injuries attributed to those pre-engineered trusses," he says.

Are you making sure the media in your area is informed about these threats? 


Get the free presentation

*The studies on the threats of lightweight/engineered lumber and modern contents were carried out by by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC),not NFPA.</p>

Sprinklers2State Representative Ruth Balser has filed bill H2121, that would allow municipalities to adopt regulations requiring the installation of sprinklers in new residential buildings with two or more units and in buildings that are “substantially rehabilitated.”

WWLP News reports that Massachusetts firefighters are supporting the legislation and lawmakers heard emotional testimony  from fire survivors who wondered how their lives might have been different if sprinklers had protected them.

“There’s no doubt that sprinklers are a safer option to help firefighters suppress fires and hold them in check until we can get there,” said Mario Orangio, former president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts.

The opposition testified, inflating system prices and presenting usual myths, such as; fire sprinkler mandates impact housing cost, and the systems don’t protect people, only property.

For additional information visit the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition or contact NFPA’s Tim Travers.

Partnering for preventionEducating consumers about home fire sprinklers is difficult, despite all the free educational materials available from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Reaching out to diverse communities with the message requires special skill, and obtaining “buy-in” from these members of your community may be the key to winning the battle for home fire sprinkler requirements.

Diverse communityPartnering For Prevention™, a free online training program has become available. The online training was developed in partnership with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), the International Association of Fire Marshals (IFMA), Vision 20/20, and Renton Fire & Emergency Services Department. The program was funded through a FEMA Fire Prevention Grant.

The program teaches fire and emergency services personnel (career and volunteer) how to more effectively engage their multicultural communities.

Partnering For Prevention™ is based on findings from two national research studies completed by FIRE 20/20. Training content includes and features strategies and tactics from fire service experts across the U.S., as well as interviews with leaders from 12 multicultural and high-risk communities including: Hispanic, African American, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Ukrainian, and Sikh, senior, deaf, hard of hearing and homeless.

To register and log into the Partnering For Prevention online training, go to the FireRescue1 Academy.  For more information about the program contact Odessa Kawai, FIRE 20/20 Interim Executive Director

The National League of Cities recently held its annual Congress of Cities and Exposition at the Seattle Convention Center and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative (FSI) participated as an exhibitor. The participation of FSI at these conferences helps us reach a large, diverse number of public officials with the home fire sprinkler message.

The information disseminated by FSI during this exhibit will enable decision makers to go back to their jurisdictions with the information needed to adopt home fire sprinkler requirements in new one- and two-family home construction in their communities.

Mesa, AZ councilman Scott Somers, a great supporter of home fire sprinklers, stopped by the FSI booth and is pictured below with NFPA's Jeff Hudson and Maria Figueroa


Fire sprinklerThe City of Bothell Fire and E.M.S. informs that at approximately 3 a.m. on November 3rd, firefighters responded to an automatic fire alarm in a single family home.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the fire sprinkler system had activated and extinguished the fire while homeowners were away.

The homeowners accidently left a candle burning when they left the home. Fire sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading.

The fire code for this development required residential sprinklers and the residence would have likely sustained extensive fire damage if the sprinkler system was not installed.

The City of Bothell Fire and E.M.S. strongly urges everyone to survey their homes for hazardous conditions prior to leaving the residence unoccupied, to practice home escape routes frequently and to protect your home with properly installed and functioning smoke detectors.

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