May 26, 2016
- "Sometimes people just need to see it to believe it," says Keith Flood, chairman of the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition
That's why the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition will intentionally light two fires in front of a live audience on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 11:30 am at the Cheshire Fire Department. The event is meant to let local residents see firsthand why a typical home fire can become deadly in three minutes or less. U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, Governor Dannel P. Malloy and members of the Connecticut General Assembly have been invited to attend.
The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition received support from M. J. Daly Company to bring this important event to the state. The company built two structures to simulate the room and contents of a typical home. Each room contains common furnishings, window treatments and a working smoke alarm. Only one of the rooms contains a fire sprinkler.
This dramatic, yet safe, form of education has become increasingly popular with fire departments across the country.
"There's nothing like the heat and smoke of a real fire to help adults and children better understand just how fast a home fire escalates," says Flood. "With a side-by-side live burn comparison, we can show both the danger of fire and the benefits of having fire sprinkler systems installed."
Many people already understand how vital it is to have working smoke alarms to warn of a fire. But home fire sprinklers are not as well known or understood. That’s one reason why the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) secured a federal Fire Prevention & Safety Grant to develop a free kit to help fire departments build and present side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations in their communities.
Following an emergency call, it takes 9-12 minutes, on average, for a fire department to arrive on the fire scene. By that time, a fire in an unsprinklered home will have spread, causing smoke and heat damage and threatening the lives of residents. In a sprinklered home, the fire gets under control right away, limiting damage and protecting residents and first responders. Local and national fire safety experts say widespread use of home fire sprinkler systems could save thousands of lives per year.
The Cheshire Fire Department will have firefighters and fire apparatus on hand during the burn.
In a sprinklered home, the fire gets under control right away, limiting damage and protecting residents and first responders. Here are some other facts about home fire sprinkler systems:
- Fire sprinklers are supplied by household water – usually off the water main. Just like ordinary plumbing, sprinkler system piping is hidden behind walls and ceilings.
- The sprinklers are positioned along the piping and can be seen in ceilings or up high along certain walls.
- Sprinklers are activated only by the high temperature of a fire – typically between 135°-165°F.
- Burnt toast or other smoke cannot set off a sprinkler; a smoke alarm that activates cannot set off a sprinkler either.
- Sprinklers are designed to flow between 10-25 gallons of water per minute. That’s about 10-15 times less water flow than fire department hoses, and with far less pressure.
- A sprinkler controls or extinguishes a fire by operating while a fire is still small, therefore slowing the spread of poisonous smoke and deadly heat.
- Fast and effective action provided by sprinklers gives family members more time to get out safely, ultimately saving lives.
- The sprinkler confines the fire damage so that surrounding rooms are protected, saving valuables.
Visit the websites for the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to learn more about this life-saving technology and to see video clips and animations that answer common questions. You can also read about real-life fires where sprinklers saved lives.
The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition is a part of NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a nationwide effort to mandate the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction.
About the Fire Sprinkler Initiative®
The Fire Sprinkler Initiative®, a project of the National Fire Protection Association, is a nationwide effort to mandate the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction. Visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.
Keith Flood, Fire Marshal West Haven, CT FD +1 203 937-3710
John Andrews, Fire Marshal Cheshire, CT FD +1 203 272-1828
Lorraine Carli, NFPA Public Affairs Office, +1 617 984-7275