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346 Posts authored by: freddurso Employee

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Register today for NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative webinar, Home Fire Sprinklers: Enhancing Your Grassroots Effort, on Wednesday, February 3 @ 12:30 p.m. EST.

Why is this free webinar so important? Every community has their own challenges when planning and implementing home fire sprinkler educational programs. Challenges may be related to code activities, limited resources, housing starts, or anti-sprinkler activities. Thisfree, half-hour webinar will discuss the importance of recognizing those unique challenges, identifying target audiences, and how the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition's free resources can enhance your grassroots efforts.

Register today!

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There were many nuggets of truth during a recent story on home fires that appeared on NBC's "Today" and reported by Jeff Rossen:

 

  • Confirmed by research and the segment's dramatic demonstration, homes and the furniture housed in them are burning hotter and faster then ever before
  • Home escape plans should be created and practiced regularly (NFPA's free resources can help you accomplish this goal)
  • During a fire, if a smoke alarm sounds, leave your home immediately

 

However, there was a crucial component of home safety missing from the news story. As Rossen reported, the National Association of Home Builders told NBC that "building codes make actual homes safer these days." Improvements have included "draft stopping in concealed spaces, safer appliances, changes to the electrical code, and requiring hardwired, interconnected smoke alarms."

 

While accurate, the statement falls short in mentioning that all model building codes used in the U.S. have the requirement--not the option--to install fire sprinklers in all new homes. For more information, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Burnt, but not destroyed: the aftermath of a grease fire following a fire sprinkler activation

 

In no particular order, here are examples of fire sprinkler activations that have occurred over the past few months. For those doubting the necessity of these devices in new homes, pay close attention to the fire officials' statements in each anecdote:

 

 

Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Two recent home fires in this town had starkly different outcomes. Firefighters arriving to the first one reported heavy smoke and flames. They immediately performed an interior rescue involving a wheelchair-bound man and his daughter. Firefighters also had to rescue residents trapped on their balconies. During their efforts, a firefighter was injured and four occupants were transferred to the hospital. It took firefighters three hours and 24,000 gallons of water to control the blaze.

 

 

Firefighters responded to the second incident at a sprinkler-protected home. A single sprinkler kept the fire under control until the fire crews arrived. Fire damage was contained to the area of origin.

 

"The primary reason for the marked difference in outcomes of these two events was the presence of fire sprinklers," says Timo Juurakko, assistant chief with the City of Maple Ridge Fire Department. "No one can argue the difference that fire sprinklers make."

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NFPA's state sprinkler coalition map, underscoring 28 states with a coalition in place

 

In 2015, there were hellos (thank you, Adele) and goodbyes. NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiativeteam welcomed a handful of new state sprinkler coalitions--including newcomers South Dakotaand Delaware--that brought the national coalition total to 28. We read with interest commentary by Fire Chief Rick Ennis and burn survivor Rob Feeney, who added their unique perspectives to NFPA's blogs in 2015. We bid farewell to a state sprinkler requirement in Minnesota (a decision that is being appealed).

Taking a look back, here are the top 10 stories from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog that wowed readers in 2015:

10. Lawsuit filed against builder for failure to follow home fire sprinkler requirements

9. What does research tell us about today's home fire victims?

8. The seven benefits of home fire sprinklers you need to know

7. Open spaces, lightweight construction, flammable furniture--oh my! The modern dangers of today's homes

6. Fire Chief: Homebuilders misinformed about home fire sprinklers

5. NFPA, fire service react to false claims made by Maryland media on home fire sprinklers

4. Burn survivor from The Station Nightclub Fire now NFPA's newest blogger and fire sprinkler champion

3. The disastrous consequences of lightweight construction and modern home furnishings under fire

2. Meet burn survivor Jeff Jordan, an important voice in the push for home fire sprinklers

1. Fire Chief: Why are we not giving the fire death of a two year old in a new home the attention it deserves?

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I'm wondering if the writers of these popular ditties were considering fire safety while crafting these lyrics:

It doesn't show signs of stopping, and I bought some corn for popping...

Popcorn, yum. But I'm hoping someone is watching over the corn while it's being popped to perfection. (Admit it: stove top popcorn is the tastiest.) According to NFPA, two of the peak days for home cooking fires are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

With care, and hopefully with safety in mind. Between 2009-2013, more than 850 home fires were started by holiday decorations. In nearly half of those fires, reports NFPA, decorations were way too close to a heat source.

Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree...

Umm, don't forget water in that tree stand, too. Trees should be watered daily to prevent this sort of travesty:

 


One of the best ways to fight human error during the holidays is through fire sprinklers. Understanding how fire can easily disrupt any holiday host's well-thought-out party, a sprinkler advocate has come forward to promote this life-saving device. "The cost of fire during the holiday season is staggering," writes John Viniello in a letter to a local publication. "There is a solution, however. Quite simply, newly constructed homes must have an automatic fire sprinkler system. It's like having a 24-hour firefighter standing by you to protect you and your loved ones from fire."

While urging readers to learn more about these devices (NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative site is a good place to start), Viniello also noted that not installing sprinklers in new homes is like having a cure for a deadly disease and not using it. "It will be the best Christmas present ever given to your family," says Viniello, retired president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association.

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team wishes you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season! Here's to a safer New Year!

6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb08a0b5c0970d-800wi.pngNFPA President Jim Pauley

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team came across a blog post written by a Massachusetts policy and communications adviser. In his post, titled "Outcry for Mandating Sprinklers Not Coming From the Public", he questions the importance of home fire sprinklers in all new homes while listing an array of inaccuracies and misstatements, including:

  • home sprinklers don't seem to offer significantly greater protection than smoke alarms, a statement countered by NFPA research
  • sprinkler requirements will negatively impact the housing market
  • firefighters will "be in the position to benefit financially" from sprinkler requirements, since home fire sprinklers require annual inspections from the fire service

Not taking these inaccuracies lightly, NFPA President Jim Pauley drafted a response to the blog post. "NFPA does not only back the installation of fire sprinklers in new homes for their ability to significantly reduce the risk of dying in home fires; sprinklers are also a requirement found in every model building code used in the U.S.," states Pauley in his letter. "Most Americans wouldn’t dare get into a new vehicle if it lacked seatbelts and airbags, since my guess is they would consider it a substandard vehicle lacking all of the modern features developed to keep them safe. Living in a new home without sprinklers is synonymous to entering a new car devoid of these features."

Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog for more on this story.

Rob Feeney
If there was ever a story underscoring the atrocities of fire, this is it. 

Rob Feeney was at The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the night a fire claimed the lives of 100 people, making it the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. A staunch advocate for fire sprinklers in all buildings, including homes, Feeney is now the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger. Here is his inaugural post, a powerful and gut-wrenching recap of what happened that night from his perspective. 

Signs were telling us to stay home the night of February 20, 2003. I was supposed to work but managed to switch for a day shift. It had recently snowed…a lot. It was cold and icy. Donna, my girlfriend, fell on the sidewalk in front of our Fall River, Massachusetts, apartment. She wasn’t feeling well and had no interest seeing ’80s hair band, Great White, at a nightclub. I complained about the pain from an inch-long splinter I got from a railing while running up a stairway. That didn’t stop me, though.

Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren’t in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people. Mary joined me as I went to buy drinks because she wanted details on when I was going to give Donna the ring. Without saying much, she got me to tell her I already had (it was being sized). This was actually Donna’s night to tell her closest friends we were engaged.

Mary was late picking us up, partly because the streets weren’t in the best driving conditions. We picked up Kathy before making our way to West Warwick, Rhode Island, to meet Pam at The Station. We arrived around 8:30 p.m., the club already packed. Once inside, we found a place inside to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a few hundred people.

Read the rest of Feeney's story by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089ad471970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089ad471970d-320wi|alt=Sprinkler Age|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sprinkler Age|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb089ad471970d img-responsive!All new homes aren't created equal. 


That was the lesson learned in 2015, a year when some state legislators took steps supporting home fire sprinklers while others sided with the opposition in keeping requirements for them out of state building codes.


 

NFPA highlighted these efforts in a recent issue of Sprinkler Age, the magazine for the American Fire Sprinkler Association. Read about new sprinklers laws in Connecticut and Delaware as well as a building code board who some advocates say failed to protect its citizens in the place where fires claim the most lives.


In New York, for example, an advocate slammed the New York Fire Prevention and Building Code Council for adopting the 2015 International Residential Code but opted not to adopt its requirement for sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. 


 

Get the full story by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


  


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_115_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_115_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_60_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_60_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Firefighter injured on the job speaks out in support of home fire sprinkler bill - National Fire Protection Association Blog

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_64_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_64_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!How to get home fire sprinklers on the radar of your policymakers and legislators

!http://i.zemanta.com/349377455_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/349377455_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!In their push for a building code with sprinkler requirements, advocates produce fiery demonstration

 

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Do you know Paul Machado? We introduced him to our growing army of sprinkler advocates earlier this year, the first in a series of new Faces of Fire profiles highlighting fire service members impacted by fire. A Massachusetts resident and member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, Machado is now using his powerful story to exact change in his state.


 

A couple Massachusetts newspapers have picked up his op-ed on how the aftermath of a home fire in 2013 ended his friend's firefighting career, left him with debilitating injuries, and how it all could have been avoided if home fire sprinklers had been present.


 

Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog for more information. 


  


!http://i.zemanta.com/353768602_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/353768602_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Two families say hello to their sprinklered homes, courtesy of Habitat of Humanity

!http://i.zemanta.com/321174676_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/321174676_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA staff places their mark on fully sprinklered Habitat for Humanity homes

!http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/355691503_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action

!http://i.zemanta.com/308100317_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/308100317_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The Boston Globe underscores need for home fire sprinklers

 

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Until recently, there was no sound literature documenting why homeowners opt to purchase a home with fire sprinklers, their opinions on these devices, or how their opinions relate to policies supporting mandatory sprinkler requirements. Identifying this research gap, the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Injury Research and Policy initiated a study gauging public opinions of fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.


 

Noted in the study's report as a "preventable public health problem," home fire injuries and deaths are still a cause for alarm in America; more than 42,000 people have died in U.S. home fires between 2000 and 2014, according to NFPA. Understanding the life-saving successes fire sprinklers have had in other occupancies and current code requirements for home fire sprinklers, researchers surveyed more than 2,300 homeowners living in sprinklered and unsprinklered homes to understand how home fire sprinklers are perceived and the role these devices can play in future fire prevention strategies.


 

For results from the survey, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_117_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_117_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The truth about home fire sprinklers--from a former homebuilder

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_87_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_87_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Your feedback is needed! Take our new poll on home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/310081628_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/310081628_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA President Jim Pauley rallies safety advocates at NFPA sprinkler summit

!http://i.zemanta.com/352648917_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/352648917_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire chief passionate about home fire sprinklers becomes latest NFPA blogger

!http://i.zemanta.com/289179884_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/289179884_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!What are your thoughts on a National Fire Sprinkler Week?

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d17b0347970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d17b0347970c-320wi|alt=NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d17b0347970c img-responsive!In the latest issue of our Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter, read about anti-sprinkler legislation filed in Maryland, one of two states with a requirement to sprinkler all new homes. (California is the other.) You’ll also read about:


    • a magazine catered to the homebuilding industry instructing this group to pay more attention to fire safety at home, particularly home fire sprinklers

    • startling stats on home fires from NFPA’s new report

    • a New Hampshire fire marshal who let NFPA into his new home to document his sprinkler installation


 


 


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f14a8d970b-120wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f14a8d970b-120wi|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f14a8d970b img-responsive!


 

Stay on top of sprinkler news from across North America by subscribing to the monthly newsletter today. It takes but a few seconds.


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/338179680_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/338179680_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Another U.S. state takes a big step in support of home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_3_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_3_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Practicing what he preaches: State fire marshal sprinklers his own home
!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_36_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_36_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Builder Magazine: Fire safety is an issue homebuilders can't afford to ignore
!http://i.zemanta.com/312445548_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/312445548_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Looking to convince legislators to support sprinklers? Start with relationship building

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7ed4189970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7ed4189970b-800wi|alt=Maryland sprinkler requirement|title=Maryland sprinkler requirement|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7ed4189970b image-full img-responsive!
Maryland's fire service and other advocates stand ready to defend the state's sprinkler requirement following the filing of a bill this month to eliminate this feature in new, one- and two-family homes. Maryland is one of two states (California is the other) with a statewide, sprinkler requirement.


 

Sponsoring the bill is Maryland Delegate Chris Adams, who told a local newspaper that this legislation "brings a responsible return of critical decision-making to the local level, where these decisions are best made." Adams also fears sprinklers will halt economic growth, a myth that has been addressed by various reports by NFPA. For example, the report "Comparative Analysis of Housing Costs and Supply Impacts of Sprinkler Ordinances at the Community Level," examined certain counties in the Maryland and Virginia area. It concluded that the enactment of sprinkler ordinances did not cause any detrimental effects on housing supply and costs. Furthermore, the data revealed that fire sprinkler requirements were a minor influence on regional housing costs compared to fees, population and job growth, and land availability.


 

For more on this story, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/278598568_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/278598568_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!CBS radio report on the home fire sprinkler debate receives high honors from the Associated Press

!http://i.zemanta.com/312655501_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/312655501_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire deaths on the decline in a state requiring home fire sprinklers

!http://i.zemanta.com/343749147_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/343749147_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Maryland County enacts Building Safety Month, promotes building codes and home fire sprinklers

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7e86152970b-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7e86152970b-800wi|alt=Maryland|title=Maryland|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7e86152970b image-full img-responsive!
Media outlets in Maryland continue to produce slanted stories on the impact of the state's sprinkler requirement, which fail to give the public the full story on these life-saving devices.


 

Case in point: An article recently appeared on a local news site with a headline stating the requirement will "dampen building." Only a sentence was devoted to sprinkler advocates, including NFPA, who support the statewide sprinkler requirement. The rest of the story focused on builders balking at the requirement, stating that it will "unnecessarily add to the housing market's woes."


 

The state fire marshal disagrees. In an op-ed Brian Geraci penned earlier this year, he places the average cost to sprinkler a new home in Maryland at $1 to $2 per sprinklered square foot. 


 

For more on this story, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


 


!http://i.zemanta.com/309569023_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/309569023_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA Journal highlights the work of four passionate home-sprinkler advocates

!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_63_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_63_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Court's reversal of state sprinkler requirement underscored in latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter

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NFPA's recently released report, "Fire Loss in the United States During 2014," is a grim reminder of the annual losses experienced by home fires. Culling through the data, one thing is definite: home fires are still a major problem in the U.S. 

For instance, in 2014:

  • there were more than 367,000 home structure fires
  • 2,745 people died in home fires, meaning that 84 percent of the country's fire deaths that year happened at home
  • home fires caused 11,825 injuries, or 75 percent of all civilian fire injuries
  • property loss from home fires totaled $6.8 billion 

For additional data on home fires, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

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