Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on July 1, 2015.

Bringing it Home
A new grant program helps advocates spread the word on the benefits of home fire sprinklers. 

NFPA RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT home fire sprinklers can reduce home fire deaths by about 80 percent and direct property damage by about 70 percent. With that life-saving potential in mind, NFPA in June awarded more than $100,000 in grant money to 16 organizations to fund sprinkler advocacy efforts across North America.

The initiative, called the Bringing Safety Home Grant Program, funded a range of sprinkler advocacy projects in the United States and Canada. Sprinkler organizations, including state fire sprinkler coalitions, fire chiefs’ associations, and state fire marshals’ offices, were asked to detail how they would use the grant money to further the understanding and use of home sprinklers in their area. In all, nearly 40 organizations applied for grants.

“The overall response to the program shows a great level of interest from organizations across North America working toward home fire sprinkler requirements to help save the lives of citizens and first responders,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Sprinklers are gaining momentum as more residents and policy-makers understand their value in new homes.”

The winning proposals were diverse and far-reaching. The Maine Fire Sprinkler Coalition plans to use its share of the grant money to conduct a comprehensive study analyzing the total fire loss across the state and how sprinklers can mitigate future costs. In Illinois, the state sprinkler coalition proposed an all-out legislative blitz; the group intends to mail Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition educational kits, along with NFPA stats and research information, to each member of the Illinois Legislature as well as to local officials in communities where home fire sprinkler requirements are being contested. Other organizations that received funding proposed hosting local sprinkler summits to bring together key stakeholders and developing local advocacy programs to showcase the impact of home fire sprinklers at community events.

In addition to awarding the winners up to $10,000, NFPA will provide grant recipients with logistical help as they work to gain more support for requiring home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes across the country and in Canada.

See the list of grant recipients and for information on home fire sprinklers, at the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.

JESSE ROMAN is staff writer for NFPA Journal.