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Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter March 2012The new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, has details of a HUD committee debate on sprinkler requirements in manufactured housing. We also feature the story of Linda Chavis of South Carolina, who lost her firefighter son in a home fire. She has since become a sprinkler advocate and is featured in NFPA's "Faces of Fire" campaign.

We also look at:

  • the defeat of a sprinkler proposal in Massachusetts, and updates on other anti-sprinkler efforts around the United States
  • NFPA's effort to get more enforcers participating on its technical commitees
  • a new Research Foundation report on the fire protection water demand for various building types

Subscribe today to automatically receive our monthly Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. It's free, informative, and will keep you up to date on anti-sprinkler legislation, our advocacy efforts, and other sprinkler-related news.

How hot does a sprinkler burn?Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a bill that would legalize the sale and use of consumer fireworks in the state, but the legislation is facing strong opposition from local fire officials and NFPA.

House Bill 3372, "An Act Relative to the Sale and Use of Fireworks", filed by MA State Representative Richard Bastien, would give cities and towns the option to issue permits to use fireworks as well as licenses to sell them. Fireworks would remain illegal in communities that choose not to participate.

"For more than 100 years, NFPA has opposed the use of consumer fireworks for the simple reason that consumer fireworks are so inherently dangerous," wrote NFPA President Jim Shannon in a Feburary 27, 2012, letter to members of the state's Public Safety Committee.

In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires in the United States, including 1,300 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 other fires, and resulted in 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.

In addition, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries in 2009. Just over half of those injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.

VIDEO: NFPA's Jim Shannon discusses the safety concerns surrounding consumer fireworks and addresses the Massachusetts legislative efforts to legalize the devices.


"If this bill becomes law, it is reasonable to expect an increase in injuries and visits to emergency rooms," says Mr. Shannon. "Sadly, our experience indicates that most of those injured will be children. As responsible adults, it is imperative the we set a good example and leave the fireworks to the professionals."

Four states ban the use of fireworks by consumers: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The other 46 states and the District of Columbia permit some or all consumer fireworks. 

What do you think about the consumer use of fireworks? Click on the "Comments" link below to respond.

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The NFPA recently published an updated report on "The Total Cost of Fire in the United States," written by John R. Hall, Jr. The report includes human and economic losses, costs of the fire service, built-in fire protection, and costs associated with the insurance industry.

In 2009 the total cost of fire is estimated at $331 billion, or roughly 2.3% of U.S. gross domestic product. The components were as follows:

It should be clear that most of the analysis supporting these estimates is soft and has wide bands of uncertainty. Nevertheless, the conclusion that fire has a tremendous impact on the way the U.S. uses its resources is indisputable.

It also is clear that we have a dual interest in reducing U.S. fire losses – which include human losses that are among the highest per capita in the industrial world – and in seeking ways to achieve equivalent fire safety at lower costs, since the growth in total cost of fire has been led not by the fire losses but by the other cost components. This provides a clear indication of need for product innovations or other programs (e.g., residential sprinklers, educational programs) that can improve fire safety at the same or lower costs. It also shows the need for improved methods (e.g., models) for calculating fire performance and costs, so the implications of different choices can be considered and judged more comprehensively.

[Take a look at the full report and download the accompanying fact sheet. |] NFPA members can download all NFPA reports for free, but they are also available for purchase. 


On March 15, 1994, an accidental fire occurred in a Pacific Bell telephone exchange, interrupting telephone service for a large part of the city of Los Angeles.  Some areas of the city were without E911 service for more than 12 hours.  The fire occurred during the rearrangement of battery strings on a power plant that supported telecommunications equipment carrying E911 traffic.  Investigators determined that a shutdown of rectifiers in the power plant began a sequence of events that caused a short in temporary transition cables.

This fire highlighted the absence of universally accepted fire protection systems for telecommunications facilities, as well as potential risks and difficulties firefighters can face when suppressing fires in these properties.

NFPA members can read the full report and all visitors can download a summary in Spanish.

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