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Fred Durso, Jr.
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Mark your calendars. This May, the benefits of home fire sprinklers will be presented to a national audience during Building Safety Month, a campaign by the International Code Council that promotes the creation of safe and sustainable structures through the adoption of model building codes. This year's campaign theme is "Maximizing Resilience, Minimizing Risk." Backed by President Barack Obama and an array of government officials, the campaign highlights a different area of building safety each week in May. Of particular interest is week one (May 5-11), which underscores residential sprinklers through statistical information on homes fires, safety tidbits from the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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The grim facts are filtering in: 2014 has had a deadly start, with certain states reporting high numbers of home fire deaths. For instance, in New York, nearly 70 residents have died from fire this year. In Pennsylvania, there have been more than 50 deaths. In Ohio, more than 30. Noting that these numbers "are among the highest in the nation during this time period," Russell Fleming, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, has written Op-Eds on home fire sprinklers for a number of online sites and publications. "In the U.S., there have been 909 reported civilian fatalities due... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Illinois fire service officials convened near the Firefighter Memorial in Springfield, Illinois, during an April rally prompted by an anti-sprinkler bill. On March 24, a report came from the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield that an anti-sprinkler amendment to a legislative bill had been filed. Its premise: ban fire sprinklers and form a task force comprised of special interests to recommend future fire and building codes. While the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition had been expecting legislation opposing residential sprinklers, it was still a shock in many ways when the actual text of the bill was read and the implications understood.... Continue reading
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Illinois fire service officials convened near the Firefighter Memorial in Springfield, Illinois, during an April rally prompted by an anti-sprinkler bill. On March 24, a report came from the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield that an anti-sprinkler amendment to a legislative bill had been filed. Its premise: ban fire sprinklers and form a task force comprised of special interests to recommend future fire and building codes. While the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition had been expecting legislation opposing residential sprinklers, it was still a shock in many ways when the actual text of the bill was read and the implications understood.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Every so often, I'll come across a news story that includes statements from homebuilder's associations similar to this one, which was made during a recent report from a local ABC news affiliate: "The homes built today all have smoke detectors that are wired, and we have the national statistics that show that 99.4 percent of lives are saved because you're awake, you're woken up, you get out of the house." The statistic, when used in this context, is misleading. There's no doubt that smoke alarms are necessary tools that can significantly reduce fire deaths and injuries. These devices, however, do... Continue reading
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Every so often, I'll come across a news story that includes statements from homebuilder's associations similar to this one, which was made during a recent report from a local ABC news affiliate: "The homes built today all have smoke detectors that are wired, and we have the national statistics that show that 99.4 percent of lives are saved because you're awake, you're woken up, you get out of the house." The statistic, when used in this context, is misleading. There's no doubt that smoke alarms are necessary tools that can significantly reduce fire deaths and injuries. These devices, however, do... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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The town of La Vergne may join other Tennessee communities with sprinkler ordinances on the books. Earlier this month, the city's Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the ordinance, according to a story from a local ABC affiliate. "This [ordinance] could save one life, and if it saves one life that is plenty," Vice-Mayor Chris Farmer told the station. "I don't want houses like they've been built before. I want quality homes that people can feel safe in." A second reading on the ordinance is scheduled for May. If residents and legislators in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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The Register-Mail reports that a local code commission in Illinois has recommended that an update to the city's building code should not include requirements for home fire sprinklers. Agreeing to update the city of Galesburg's current residential code to the 2012 edition of the International Residential Code, the Overall Code Review Commission voted down the requirement to install sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. "There was a lot of discussion involved with the vote," city building inspector Matthew Carlson told the publication. "At this time, [the commission] felt like it was a bit much to mandate [sprinkler installations]. No... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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A burn demonstration initiated by the Nampa, Idaho, Fire Department Something unique is taking place in Nampa, Idaho, just up the road from Boise. Through its Chamber of Commerce, the town of 104,000 people has been hosting a leadership program each year for the past two decades that educates would-be community leaders on issues impacting their area. The goal of Leadership Nampa is to give these budding leaders a fresh perspective on challenges and opportunities as a means to shape their professional future and the future of their community. A component of the program is a visit with the Nampa... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
This may come as a surprise to sprinkler opponents, but the website Grassroots Change has named the home fire sprinkler movement "one of the most successful public safety efforts" in America within the past three decades. According to a recent study, this grassroots movement has successfully promoted more than 360 local ordinances mandating sprinklers in all new residential construction, including one- and two-family homes, since 1978. Successful, indeed. The recent article on the website backs its statement by highlighting an impressive effort taking place in Mesa, Arizona. While the state prohibits local jurisdictions from requiring sprinklers in homes, the city... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
Information on the upcoming sprinkler technical committee meetings in San Diego is now available. Please check out the following document information pages for more details, including accommodation and travel information: NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes NFPA 13R, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies If you have any questions, please contact NFPA project administrator Elena Carroll. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Tom Lia is executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and governmental policymakers on home fire sprinklers. Lia will regularly post about the challenges and successes he experiences in his state. Check back often for his insights. Here's his introductory blog post for the Fire Sprinkler Initiative community: When I left the Orland Fire Protection District to take on a new endeavor at NIFSAB, there was no job description for me. In its meager beginnings, NIFSAB served as a centralized source for basic... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Residents in the Ontario city of Vaughan can sleep easier now that their new homes will include an important safety feature. According to a recent article in Mechanical Business Magazine, the city recently mandated sprinkler systems in all new low-rise homes. One local developer, states the story, is already in the process of sprinklering a 136-unit town home and semi-detached home development. The article also notes that this requirement "could be one of the most significant turning points for sprinkler installation" since Vaughan required sprinklers in condos in 2010. Another interesting factoid is that there hasn't been a single fire... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Keith Youse has heard all of the reasons from sprinkler opponents on why these systems aren't necessary in homes. And he believed them. Nestled in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, the getaway home he and his wife moved into in 2007 had "adequate" fireproofing material and a hardwired alarm system that, he says, would keep them safe from a fire. Then, one bitterly cold morning in January, he was awakened by one of his houseguests, who smelled smoke. Youse could hear what appeared to be movement in his attic, which was undergoing renovation. Heading upstairs, he noticed more smoke. "Call 911, and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Looking for discussions on sprinkler-related topics? Have a question that needs answering? Want to connect with other sprinkler advocates in the field? Join the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Group on LinkedIn. If you're already a member, please look for the brief survey I've posted on the sprinkler topics you'd like to see more of via this forum. Your feedback is very important to us. Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Late one evening, Ryan Nelson returned to the apartment he and his roommate, Matt Heisler, shared near the University of North Dakota campus and saw heavy smoke billowing from the windows. Nelson, 20, immediately reacted, shattering Heisler's bedroom window and searching for him before pulling back from the smoke. He then went through the home's front entrance, crawling on his hands and knees before locating Heisler. After carrying Heisler's body to safety, he noticed his friend had no heartbeat. Nelson immediately performed CPR. Life returned to Heisler, albeit briefly. He died in the hospital two days later at the age... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Upon examining an astounding 12,000 home fires, researchers have concluded that home fire sprinklers play a significant role in protecting property and saving lives, regardless of a building's materials. Find more information about this study in the latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. You'll also find stories on: a house fire that ended a firefighter's career a deadly rise in house fires in Minneapolis, and what fire service officials are doing about it new funding by the Department of Homeland Security to investigate fire safety concerns of green buildings Subscribe to the free newsletter to receive this monthly... Continue reading
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Upon examining an astounding 12,000 home fires, researchers have concluded that home fire sprinklers play a significant role in protecting property and saving lives, regardless of a building's materials. Find more information about this study in the latest edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. You'll also find stories on: a house fire that ended a firefighter's career a deadly rise in house fires in Minneapolis, and what fire service officials are doing about it new funding by the Department of Homeland Security to investigate fire safety concerns of green buildings Subscribe to the free newsletter to receive this monthly... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Months after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie failed to act on a bill that would have required home fire sprinklers in New Jersey, a devastating house fire has destroyed a retired couple's home and has injured a firefighter. According to The Star-Ledger, firefighters were on the roof when the fire intensified in the attic. As the fire grew, a firefighter exited the house and quickly collapsed into the snow-covered lawn. He was transported to a nearby hospital after given oxygen by EMTs. The three-alarm blaze continued for two hours before it was doused by firefighters. One of the residents was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Two recent house fires occurred on the same day in California, and the outcomes couldn't have been more different. According to the Contra Costa Times, one of the fires occurred at a senior apartment complex equipped with a sprinkler system. By the time firefighters had arrived, sprinklers had doused the flames. The fire alarm and sprinklers "had operated as designed and averted what would have been a certain tragedy," according to a statement by the Contra Costa County Fire Prevention District that was mentioned in a news story on Patch. The other fire occurred later in the day in an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
There have been 10 fire deaths in Minneapolis within the first 10 weeks of 2014. This unprecedented statistic in Minneapolis was the catalyst that recently convened fire officials in that city in an effort to underscore fire safety, including the necessity for home fire sprinklers. A local ABC News affiliate covered the event, which included a side-by-side sprinkler demonstration. "Many of these tragedies are killing or injuring people long before the fire departments even get called," says Chief Tim Butler of the St. Paul Fire Department. Also in attendance was George Esbensen, another Minnesota fire chief, who wrote a recent... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding a three-year project through the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) aimed at identifying and reducing potential risks posed by "green" elements in newer buildings. The $1 million project is a follow-up to the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at Today's Responder
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding a three-year project through the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) aimed at identifying and reducing potential risks posed by "green" elements in newer buildings. The $1 million project is a follow-up to the 2012 report commissioned by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that identified dozens of these concerns and how research could pinpoint mitigation tactics. In his initial research, Brian Meacham, associate professor of fire protection engineering at WPI, compiled a list of 78 green building features and construction elements that could pose risks to firefighters and occupants. Lightweight engineered lumber, for instance,... Continue reading
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding a three-year project through the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) aimed at identifying and reducing potential risks posed by "green" elements in newer buildings. The $1 million project is a follow-up to the 2012 report commissioned by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that identified dozens of these concerns and how research could pinpoint mitigation tactics. In his initial research, Brian Meacham, associate professor of fire protection engineering at WPI, compiled a list of 78 green building features and construction elements that could pose risks to firefighters and occupants. Lightweight engineered lumber, for instance,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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A Fox affiliate in Houston, Texas, recently interviewed Justina Page, a burn survivor who lost her 22-month-old son in a house fire that kept her in a medically induced coma for six weeks. As the executive director of the House of Amos, Page now offers support to families affected by burn trauma. She's also one of NFPA's Faces of Fire, a campaign aimed at promoting the use of automatic sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings. "As I look at my children playing, I think of my son, Amos, that I lost," she tells the Fox affiliate. "What would he look... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative