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FSIThe NFPA and Fire Protection Research Foundation recently published the results of a new report. According to the report, “Fire Flow Water Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impact,” the amount of water used during a fire when a building has a sprinkler system is less than that of an unsprinklered building. 

Water authorities have introduced strategies over the past three decades to recover costs for water consumed in sprinklered buildings. These fees are typically not related to the actual sprinkler flow, but address the fact that these flows are not metered and therefore not accounted for in conventional cost recovery systems. Fires that occur in unsprinklered properties that utilize water from hydrants, which are not metered, are typically not subject to fees. 

The study found that an owner of an unsprinklered building received the full benefit of unlimited water through the public water system during a fire without an increased cost, while the owner of a sprinklered building pays for the water used for commissioning, inspection, testing and maintenance (CITM) of the sprinkler system.

“As the number of sprinklered buildings increases over time in communities, we must make sure that the incentives for providing built-in fire protection aren’t offset by financial disincentives from water distribution fees – a fire in an adequately sprinklered building will always result in a more efficient use of water resources compared to a fire in a similar unsprinklered building,” said Gary Keith, NFPA's VP of field operations and education. “It’s our hope that fire departments and water authorities will use this report as a basis for reviewing the policies in their own jurisdictions."

Smoking Material Report NFPA
A recent report on the Smoking-Materials Fire Problem stated that in 2010, 610 civilian deaths resulted from an estimated 90,800 smoking-material fires, a number that is at or near the all-time-low and well down from the 1980 levels in the United States. Several factors can be attributed to this decline over the last 30 years, including a decline in smoking and stricter fire resistant standards on mattresses and upholstered furniture. The most recent drop in the fatalities and injuries, though, owes much to the “fire-safe” cigarette legislation.

It wasn’t until 2003 that U.S. states began requiring that all cigarettes sold must be “fire-safe”, that is, have sharply reduced ignition strength or ability to start fires. By 2010, the fire-safe cigarette legislation was in effect in 47 states. From 2003 to 2010, the number of civilian deaths in smoking material fires fell by an average of 21 percent. year marks the first year that all 50 state laws are in effect, and a projection linking the percentage decline in fire deaths to the percentage of smokers covered suggest that when the smoking material fire death numbers are analyzed for the year 2012, the reduction in civilian deaths will reach roughly 30 percent. This marks an all-time-low in civilian deaths caused by smoking-material fires since the year 1980; more than 30 years.

“NFPA is very encouraged by these numbers, which show the requirements are having the intended consequences,” said Lorraine Carli (NFPA's VP of Communications). “It is clear that our efforts have already made an impact on public safety and will continue to provide further progress in the years to come.”

For the full report (PDF, 2 MB), safety tips and information, or to learn more about the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, visit our website

The Committee Leadership Conference has been planned for Sunday, June 10, 2012, at 8:00 a.m during the NFPA Conference and Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.  This conference, held each June, is an interactive training program that provides NFPA technical committee officers and members with specific training in carrying out their duties and responsibilities for their committee work.  The conference is open to all NFPA committee participants and anyone who wishes to attend.  To pre-register for the conference, please contact the Codes and Standards Administration or call 617-984-7246.

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