Author(s): Fred Durso. Published on November 4, 2014.

A TIDE OF SUPPORT FOR home fire sprinklers is spreading across the United States, initiated by a growing number of sprinkler advocates from a range of backgrounds. Fire service members, burn survivors, medical professionals, municipal water officials—even homebuilders—are joining state sprinkler coalitions in support of home fire sprinklers.

More than 20 states, from California to New Jersey, have formalized coalitions with support from NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, an advocacy effort launched in 2009 to increase the number of sprinklered homes in North America through the adoption of sprinkler requirements in new one- and two-family homes. Now that all U.S. model building codes require sprinklers in these settings, advocates are increasingly vocal on the point that new homes lacking sprinklers are missing a key safety feature. And they refuse to give up, since they know the majority of fire deaths still occur in homes.

Read about each advocate

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  • Tom Lia - Catalyst for Action
  • Pam Elliott - The voice of burn survivors
  • Stephen Coan - Tireless force
  • Jeff LaFlam - Advocacy watchdog 
  • Advocates supply the drive while NFPA supplies the resources. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative website gives proponents the tools to help convince legislators and code-making bodies that sprinklers make sense. They counter myths (“smoke alarms provide adequate protection in the home”) with facts (“smoke alarms are incredibly important, but they do nothing to suppress a fire”). They highlight the cost-effectiveness of sprinklers via NFPA research, and they publicize their coalition activities via websites maintained by NFPA.

    NFPA Journal recently spoke with several coalition members for a sampling of some of the personalities and motivations behind this movement. See for yourself why these sprinkler stars shine as bright as they do, and what they’re doing to create a safer America.

    FRED DURSO, JR., former NFPA Journal staff writer, is communications manager for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative.