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Fred Durso, Jr.
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Spend a few minutes talking home fire sprinklers with Margaret "Peg" Paul, and you'll immediately notice an innate passion that extends beyond her simply doing a job. She's an educational tour de force, literally bringing the sprinkler conversation home via free resources by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition that she's helped create and promote. Her efforts haven't gone unrecognized. Sprinkler Age, the magazine of the American Fire Sprinkler Association, has named her this year's Advocate of the Year for her years of promoting not only sprinklers, but burn prevention tactics. First collaborating with NFPA in the early '90s, Paul has... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Fire service officials in Massachusetts made pointed comments this week to the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), which is considering rolling back key safety requirements following an analysis on sprinkler systems that many are calling "flawed." Issued by BBRS, the draft white paper, "The Cost and Effectiveness for Health, Safety, and Security of Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems in 3 to 6 Unit Residential Buildings," examines these fire protection measures and the notion of lessening sprinkler requirements, an idea that drew ire from the number of fire officials attending the BBRS meeting, including NFPA and... Continue reading
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More than 25 years ago, Long Grove, Illinois, became the first Chicagoland community with an ordinance in accordance with NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, an effort led by Fire Chief Dave Grupp. On August 21, 2000, Clarendon Hills became the fifth of what is now more than 90 towns and fire districts in Illinois to require fire sprinklers in new homes. What's so special about this town? Upscale Clarendon Hills was the first “tear down and rebuild” community located in the inner ring of mature Chicago suburbs to consider a home... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Fire service officials in Massachusetts made pointed comments this week to the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), which is considering rolling back key safety requirements following an analysis on sprinkler systems that many are calling "flawed." Issued by BBRS, the draft white paper, "The Cost and Effectiveness for Health, Safety, and Security of Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems in 3 to 6 Unit Residential Buildings," examines these fire protection measures and the notion of lessening sprinkler requirements, an idea that drew ire from the number of fire officials attending the BBRS meeting, including NFPA and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Presenting the award to Fire Chief Chuck Walker (center) was (from left) Tim Travers, NFPA; Vickie Pritchett, National Fire Sprinkler Association; Peg Paul, HFSC; and Jeff Hudson, NFPA. A tip of the hat to Fire Chief Chuck Walker with the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Today's Responder
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Presenting the award to Fire Chief Chuck Walker (center) was (from left) Tim Travers, NFPA; Vickie Pritchett, National Fire Sprinkler Association; Peg Paul, HFSC; and Jeff Hudson, NFPA. A tip of the hat to Fire Chief Chuck Walker with the Ashland City Fire Department in Tennessee for proving that residential sprinkler advocacy yields results. Walker was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Bringing Safety Home Award, which recognizes the efforts of fire chiefs who use resources from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to ensure decision-makers consider sprinkler installation. The International Association of Fire... Continue reading
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Presenting the award to Fire Chief Chuck Walker (center) was (from left) Tim Travers, NFPA; Vickie Pritchett, National Fire Sprinkler Association; Peg Paul, HFSC; and Jeff Hudson, NFPA. A tip of the hat to Fire Chief Chuck Walker with the Ashland City Fire Department in Tennessee for proving that residential sprinkler advocacy yields results. Walker was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Bringing Safety Home Award, which recognizes the efforts of fire chiefs who use resources from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to ensure decision-makers consider sprinkler installation. The International Association of Fire... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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"Nobody made it out," said a shaken Joyce Miles after trying to save her neighbors from a quick-moving house fire. "In just a couple minutes, everything was gone." Minutes is all it takes for today's home fires to turn deadly. Case in point: the aforementioned fire that claimed the lives of six people, including two children, in Garland, North Carolina, last month, according to a story in The Fayetteville Observer. "It's a tragedy. It's pitiful. I wanted to help, but I couldn't," Miles told the paper. Research confirms that modern furnishings and building materials are contributing to faster fire propagation... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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A sprinkler installer safeguards the new home of veteran Joshua Sweeney. While on his second tour in Afghanistan, Joshua Sweeney was sent airborne after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED). His legs badly injured, he waited two hours for rescue vehicles, which were delayed since they, too, initiated IED explosions en route. The marine sergeant miraculously survived the ordeal, even receiving a Purple Heart for his bravery during war, but lost both of his legs in the aftermath. Sweeney's loss, though traumatic, wasn't a game-ender. In fact, the sportsman represented Team USA's sled hockey team in Sochi, Russia, this... Continue reading
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A sprinkler installer safeguards the new home of veteran Joshua Sweeney. While on his second tour in Afghanistan, Joshua Sweeney was sent airborne after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED). His legs badly injured, he waited two hours for rescue vehicles, which were delayed since they, too, initiated IED explosions en route. The marine sergeant miraculously survived the ordeal, even receiving a Purple Heart for his bravery during war, but lost both of his legs in the aftermath. Sweeney's loss, though traumatic, wasn't a game-ender. In fact, the sportsman represented Team USA's sled hockey team in Sochi, Russia, this... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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If you haven't done so already, mark your calendar for a learning and network opportunity that focuses solely on home fire sprinklers. Sponsored in part by the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the Northwest Residential Sprinkler Summit connects sprinkler advocates across the Pacific Northwest with information on code requirements, political realities, and water usage. Summit organizers have lined up some nationally recognized speakers, including California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover and Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (and NFPA blogger). A "vendor connections" event will showcase resources as well... Continue reading
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If you haven't done so already, mark your calendar for a learning and network opportunity that focuses solely on home fire sprinklers. Sponsored in part by the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the Northwest Residential Sprinkler Summit connects sprinkler advocates across the Pacific Northwest with information on code requirements, political realities, and water usage. Summit organizers have lined up some nationally recognized speakers, including California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover and Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (and NFPA blogger). A "vendor connections" event will showcase resources as well... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Following a house fire in Racine, Wisconsin, this summer that injured three adults and a firefighter, a fire official made a point to underscore the consequences of not building homes to today's standards. "Older homes such as where this fire occurred are not required to be protected with fire sprinklers," said Dan Gengler, a retired member of the Wisconsin fire service, in a story that appeared in a National Fire Sprinkler Association newsletter. "But the bigger issue is that Wisconsin has failed to adopt the latest national model building codes from NFPA. These requirements are meant to prevent injuries to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Take a look at the map embedded into this post and you'll notice something spectacular: residential sprinkler advocates are joining forces and contributing to an effective grassroots effort that's spreading across the U.S. These coast-to-coast sprinkler coalitions (states with one are highlighted in blue) are promoting sprinkler education and, in some cases, convincing legislators and code-making bodies that sprinkler requirements are a necessary, life-saving measure. An eclectic mix of fire service officials, burn survivors, water purveyors, and others, these groups have made a concerted effort to fight the strong resistance of sprinkler opponents. They strategize on how to counter the... Continue reading
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Take a look at the map embedded into this post and you'll notice something spectacular: residential sprinkler advocates are joining forces and contributing to an effective grassroots effort that's spreading across the U.S. These coast-to-coast sprinkler coalitions (states with one are highlighted in blue) are promoting sprinkler education and, in some cases, convincing legislators and code-making bodies that sprinkler requirements are a necessary, life-saving measure. An eclectic mix of fire service officials, burn survivors, water purveyors, and others, these groups have made a concerted effort to fight the strong resistance of sprinkler opponents. They strategize on how to counter the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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The reasons are endless as to why California is considered the "Golden State." For instance, its decision to require home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes certainly exemplified its golden status among sprinkler supporters. While the requirements are officially on the books, educating the public and jurisdictions on these systems and the standards guiding it is far from over. In an effort to showcase the importance and cost-effective aspects of sprinkler standards, the hardworking members of the California Fire Sprinkler Coalition recently released the white paper "Limit Local Amendments to Residential Sprinkler Requirements." The report highlights the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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More than 70 students were packed into a Kansas fraternity house this week when a fire erupted on the third-floor living area. More than 30 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was initiated by the improper disposal of smoking materials, according to a story on FireEngineering.com. All occupants escaped safely.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at Safety Source
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More than 70 students were packed into a Kansas fraternity house this week when a fire erupted on the third-floor living area. More than 30 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was initiated by the improper disposal of smoking materials, according to a story on FireEngineering.com. All occupants escaped safely. The structure is no stranger to fire; construction on the bulding's interior two years earlier initiated a previous blaze. The residents escaped injury, but others who have encountered fire have not been as fortunate. The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS) notes that there have been 86 fatal fires documented... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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Here's a success story out of Minnesota: come 2015, all new homes of a certain size must include sprinkler systems. Learn how this requirement came to be by reading the August 2014 edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. The latest edition also includes information on: the new "Advocacy Tools" section on the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website a college thesis that shoots down arguments by residential sprinkler opponents a compelling op-ed by a burn survivor, who questions the logic behind sprinkler pushbacks If you haven't done so already, sign up for the free, monthly newsletter today. You'll receive the latest... Continue reading
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Here's a success story out of Minnesota: come 2015, all new homes of a certain size must include sprinkler systems. Learn how this requirement came to be by reading the August 2014 edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. The latest edition also includes information on: the new "Advocacy Tools" section on the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website a college thesis that shoots down arguments by residential sprinkler opponents a compelling op-ed by a burn survivor, who questions the logic behind sprinkler pushbacks If you haven't done so already, sign up for the free, monthly newsletter today. You'll receive the latest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
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In 1999, Robert Gorvett, fire chief for the Village of Hoffman Estates in Illinois, proposed a residential fire sprinkler ordinance. Hoffman Estates was to be the largest municipality in Illinois at the time to require fire sprinklers in homes. It... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at Today's Responder
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In 1999, Robert Gorvett, fire chief for the Village of Hoffman Estates in Illinois, proposed a residential fire sprinkler ordinance. Hoffman Estates was to be the largest municipality in Illinois at the time to require fire sprinklers in homes. It was no ordinary effort due to the village’s vast acreage for new subdivisions--a true Midwest “cornfield” community that would set a precedent for many of the 90-plus Illinois municipalities that now have residential fire sprinkler ordinances. Although Chief Gorvett had the backing of his fire marshal, Hank Clemmensen, there was much external opposition. Original attempts to enact an ordinance garnered... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative
Hi Max--thank you for your question. Here's your answer, from Matt: "NFPA 13 does not currently permit the wholesale omission of sprinklers in attics and vestibules. This is largely due to the fact that NFPA 13 contemplates both life safety and property protection, whereas NFPA 13D and 13R are written as life safety standards only. The systems designed to these standards provide a significant level of property protection, however it is not the stated goal of the standard. It should be noted that NFPA 13 does allow for the omission of sprinklers in certain concealed spaces, however it is largely dependent up the construction materials used to form the concealed space, contents of the space, and level of access to building occupants. See NFPA 13 section 8.15.2.1 for more information on permissible sprinkler omissions in concealed spaces."
Thanks for the reply, Tom. While a sprinkler system might have had little impact on the outcome of this particular explosion, I was trying to underscore the frequency of home fires, not only in Texas but across the U.S., and how in most cases, sprinklers can reduce the risk of fire death and injury in these incidents.
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Home fire tragedies in Texas have made some unfortunate headlines this month. First, there was a story of a houseful of young boys who frantically escaped a burning home. One of the boys, a nine year old from Fort Worth, died in the fire despite valiant efforts by local firefighters. One neighbor told the Star-Telegram that "it's one thing to watch a fire on television, but it's another to watch your neighbors trying to save kids in a fire. That's why I'm shaking so much." More recently, a mother and her five children were all burned in their home following... Continue reading