For more on the importance of home fire sprinklers visit www.firesprinklerinitiative.org.
For more on the importance of home fire sprinklers visit www.firesprinklerinitiative.org.
NFPA is now accepting proposals for educational presentations at its 2013 NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago, June 10-13, 2013. We invite you to share your knowledge with your peers as a presenter. Please complete our online application and submit by Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm EDT.
Submissions emphasizing a specific product, process or manufacturer will not be considered. NFPA will review all presentation proposals. Selections will be made based on quality, relevance, focus, practical application, and on the presenter’s experience and credentials.
If your proposal is accepted, you will be required to submit a handout. Continuing education credits (CEUs) will be awarded for all education sessions. More details.
A fire this past weekend in a six year old Glen Ellyn, IL home proved the success of the community's home fire sprinkler ordinance passed for all new homes ten years ago. According to the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), the event marked the first home fire sprinkler activation within Glen Ellyn, since the provision was enacted in March 2002 to protect residents, their homes and the Village’s volunteer firefighters. At the time, Glen Ellyn was only the eleventh community in Illinois to adopt such an ordinance, providing a model for many other communities to follow. The Village currently stands as one of 79 jurisdictions in Illinois that require residential fire sprinklers.
By contrast, media covered a June fire that gutted a single family in the same community. According to a news report, firefighters worked for three hours to extinguish the flames and the home had extensive damage. There were no fire sprinklers in the home.
We recently highlighted the City of Blue Island, IL when it became the 79th community in Illinois to require home fire sprinklers. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative provides a number of key resources for use by advocates to push for the increased use of home fire sprinklers.
"I fear that what we're experiencing in the fire sprinkler battle is what marathon runners refer to as 'The Wall '– a numb mind, zero energy and not enough muscle power to pull us through to the finish line." In the August issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, we feature a rallying cry issued by Fire Rescue Magazine's Timothy Sendelbach, who provides an excellent overview of the mighty influence of our nation's fire service, and why we need to rally to overcome the politics and other roadblocks that threaten our fire sprinkler efforts.
Our monthly e-newsletter also reminds us that your family - and your precious pets - are all safer with home fire sprinklers, and congratulates Maryland Fire Marshal Bill Barnard for receiving the "Bringing Safety Home" award from NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
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.
As reported on PRNewswire.com, the City of Blue Island, Illinois, recently updated its fire and building codes to require fire sprinkler protection in all new one- and two-family dwellings and townhomes (homes) construction effective immediately.
With this action, Blue Island becomes the 79th community to mandate fire sprinklers in all new home construction. "Congratulations to forward-thinking Mayor Donald Peloquin, the City Council and the fire and building departments for investing in the future safety of Blue Island residents and firefighters," says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). "They truly understand and recognize the important role that fire sprinklers play in protecting lives and property, making Blue Island a model fire-safe community."
See a map of IL communities and other jurisdictions in the U.S. that require fire sprinklers in all new homes.
Citing the death of a police captain trying to rescue his wife and daughters from a fire in his home a Reuters report has depicted the risks associated with lightweight constructiion and the political climate that keeps life saving fire sprinkler systems from being required in new homes. The captain's wife and the two daughters also died in the fire.
According to the report “the fire spread so quickly that the house collapsed within 10 minutes, which fire officials attributed to the home's lightweight construction.” This fire incident and has also brought to light the predominance of state legislation against the requirement of fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family dwellings.
As detailed previously on this blog, and by Reuters today, state governments have passed legislation forbidding local jurisdictions from requiring fire sprinklers in new homes, and/or prohibiting promulgating authorities from including the provision in statewide codes.
The report shines the light on the money and power that opponents exert to influence this trend. In 2009, Texas was one of the first states to pass such a law. “The law's greatest proponents, builder and Realtor trade groups, spent between $1.7 million and $3 million lobbying that year -- at least four times what sprinkler advocates spent,” says Reuters
According to experts quoted by Reuters “laws preempting building or fire safety regulations are unheard of.” "This is the only code provision that I'm aware of in 30 years of being in this business, where we've seen a preemptive strike that says, 'You can't even consider it. It's not allowed,'" said Gary Keith, vice president of field operations for NFPA.
The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada's organization for research and development. Following previous studies of unprotected floor/ceiling assemblies under basement fire scenarios, a subsequent program was undertaken to investigate the performance of protected floor/ceiling assemblies and the tenability conditions in a test facility representing a two-story detached single-family house.
Most of us are familiar with the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) study of unprotected lightweight/engineered wood assemblies in basement fire scenarios. The UL tests revealed that these unprotected structures collapse as early as six minutes from the onset of fire, representing a great danger to home occupants and an even greater danger to firefighters who may arrive at or after the six minute threshold.
The NRC experiment used a simple and repeatable fuel package consisting of a mock-up sofa and wood cribs representing the typical additional fire load to sustain the fire. The structures were protected with gypsum or a fire sprinkler system.
The data was analyzed to determine the following:
Smoke obscuration was the first hazard to arise. Even though smoke obscuration is not considered an incapacitating factor, it does disorient people; slowing down their escape and exposing them to other untenable conditions for a longer period.
Untenable (incapacitation) conditions were reached shortly after smoke obscuration. Heat exposure reached incapacitation doses after 4 minutes; CO exposure reached the incapacitation doses on the second story after 5 minutes. The structural performance was improved significantly with the gypsum board protected floor assemblies.
The single sprinkler activation was able to control the fire quickly and keep the temperature in the fire room close to the ambient level. Tenability limits were not reached. There was no structural damage to the test floor assembly.
The NRC tests reveal that although protection of lightweight ceiling/floor assemblies with gypsum in basement fire scenarios extends the structural stability of these assemblies, they do little to nothing to affect tenability. “Among the protection measures studied, the sprinkler protection was the only measure that provided both the structural protection and the tenable conditions for the safety of occupants.” Firefighter are also protected by fire sprinkler systems.
Tags: basement fire scenario, fire, fire sprinkler system, fire sprinklers, Government of Canada, lightweight construction, National Reserarch Council, structural failure, structural stability, Underwriter Laboratories
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The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is looking to partner with fire departments to use a new series of public service announcements (like the one below) that spoof Hollywood myths about home fire sprinklers.
The Coalition is offering $1,000 stipends to help fire departments customize the PSAs with logos and contact information and have them placed on local TV stations, news web sites, and in movie theaters.
Only BUILT FOR LIFE fire departments are eligible for the stipends...but it's free and easy to apply. Plus, as a BUILT FOR LIFE fire department, you'll have access to free tools to help get you started or enhance your home fire sprninkler educational efforts.
But don't delay - only a few $1,000 stipends remain. Learn more about the project and get started today.
The State of Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal reports a 21% decrease in fire fatalities in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
According to ABC2News ,"investigators point to this statistic: there have been no fire deaths since 1992 in new townhomes, when sprinklers were mandated."
MD is one of the states to adopt the fire sprinkler requirement for all new one- and two-family dwellings statewide. Before that, 34 cities and counties in MD had adopted the requirement by local ordinance. Prince Georges County has documented the benefits of residential sprinkler in reducing fire deaths in homes.
“Maryland’s fire service is cautiously optimistic with this year’s data, however, everyone must remain vigilant in fire prevention to continue this trend,” stated State Fire Marshal Bill Barnard. “An estimated 73% of all structure fires in Maryland occur in what most assume to be the safest place, our homes.”
The Columbian reports that Portland, Oregon firefighters responded to an apartment fire and could hear screaming inside and see smoke seeping from under the door. So they kicked in the door and found — a cat. The cat — named Dude — was fine after the firefighters took him outside and gave him some oxygen. The apartment's automatic sprinklers contained the fire to the couch, where it started.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, a family cat died in a house fire that the fire marshal’s office said was caused by “carelessly discarded smoking material in a trash can.”
All one has to do is Google "cat dies in house fire" or "dog dies in house fire" to begin to understand that there is a problem. During my firefighter career I was able to rescue pets from house fires, and I also witnessed the death of many pets.
In the home fire sprinkler debate, we always talk about fire sprinklers saving lives; but we are talking about human lives. The loss of a pet in a fire may be just as devastating to a family. Our pets are precious to us and we mourn their deaths the same any other family member’s death.
Fire sprinklers are proven to save lives. If you have a reported fire in your home the risk of dying decreases by about 80%. The Portland fire reminds us that pets are equally protected by fire sprinklers in the home.
Special thanks to Marty Ahrens who provided the inspiration for this post.