Fire Sprinkler Initiative

With Home Fire Sprinkler Week fast approaching, now’s the time to brush up on the facts of this lifesaving technology

Home Fire Sprinkler Week (HFSW) approaching quickly, it is a good time to review some residential sprinkler myths that NFPA has debunked in the past. Last July, NFPA released an episode of The NFPA Podcast that addressed some of these home fire sprinkler myths with a former fire chief who retrofitted his home with sprinklers. Check out the episode, “Debunking Home Fire Sprinkler Myths,” on The NFPA Podcast here In addition to the podcast, NFPA ran a blog series in 2020 called Mythblaster Monday. This series tackled the myths surrounding home fire sprinklers, such as total water damage from sprinklers (which is much less than fire damage) and the importance of sprinklers even with the presence of smoke alarms. The Mythblaster Monday series, as well as other NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative (FSI) blogs, can be viewed here. Home Fire Sprinkler Week runs from May 16-22 this year, and marks 25 years since the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition was founded. A collaboration between the Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, each day of the campaign NFPA will share blogs, resources, and related information to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers. Read more about HFSW here. So brush up on the facts and please join NFPA in sharing valuable, life-saving information during Home Fire Sprinkler Week. For additional information, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.
A row of homes

Help Spread the Word About the Life-Saving Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers During Home Fire Sprinkler Week May 16 – 22, 2021

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! To commemorate this great milestone, HFSC is developing new innovative tools and materials to support community outreach. One example is the popular Home Fire Sprinkler Week campaign set to launch on May 16 – 22, 2021. A project of HFSC and the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative, this week-long campaign is the perfect opportunity to get the tools you need to help further the life-saving educational message of home fire sprinklers. Building on the great success of last year’s event, Home Fire Sprinkler Week will again go digital in 2021. The campaign is designed to help you virtually share messages and resources every day of the week on both a website and social platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you’re a member of the fire service, take advantage of materials and more social media graphics to share during the week or at any time of the year. Additional assets you will be able to use during the Week include: A brand new HFSW digital campaign to reach younger homebuyers to help emphasize the need for home fire sprinklers in communities A new video to highlight the green benefits of installing home fire sprinklers With each day of the campaign, you will find a different theme and related content like videos and graphics with posts, to share. You can choose one message or share all messages on any given day. The daily themes are: Monday, May 17: Fire is Fast Tuesday, May 18: Fire Sprinklers Are Part of Fire-Safe Communities Wednesday, May 19: It’s Easy to Live with Home Fire Sprinklers Thursday, May 20: Fire Sprinklers are Smart and Green Friday, May 21: Protect What You Value Most As we ramp up to Home Fire Sprinkler Week, stay tuned to the HFSC website for more campaign information and resources. We look forward to you joining us on May 16!  

Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition Expands Stipends to Canadian Fire Departments to Support Home Fire Sprinkler Outreach, Extends Application Deadline for US Fire Department Stipends

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) announced they will award C$500 stipends to 20 qualifying Canadian fire departments that demonstrate a plan to share the importance of home fire sprinklers with their community during Home Fire Sprinkler Week (HFSW), which runs from May 16-22. Only departments that are part of HFSC’s BUILT FOR LIFE program are eligible to receive the stipend. The application link is available here, and the deadline is March 31. Additionally, the deadline for the $300 stipends to American fire departments has been extended to March 10. That application link is available here. Some options for outreach programs to qualify for the stipend include, but are not limited to, conducting a virtual Home Fire Sprinkler contest, producing a banner or canopy tent to display Home Fire Sprinkler graphics, setting up a monitor in the community to play HSFC educational videos, or building an NFPA 13D display to explain how a home fire sprinkler works. Additional ideas include boosting a Facebook post to reach a larger audience or conducting a virtual Home Fire Sprinkler contest and awarding prizes. Read the announcement here for more information. To learn more about home fire sprinklers and how to increase the number of homes being built with sprinklers in your community, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.
Maryland Fire Marshal

Maryland, one of two states that require residential fire sprinklers, reports record-low fire deaths in 2020

The Office of the State Fire Marshal of Maryland released preliminary data from 2020 which showed 51 people died due to injuries sustained in fires last year, a record-low for the state. The previous low was 54 in 2012, and last year’s statistic represents a 22 percent decrease from the 65 deaths in 2019. “Residential sprinklers are in place here in Maryland; they aren’t going anywhere,” State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said to The Garrett County Republican. “We’re saving lives, and they’re clearly making a difference.” Maryland requires a residential fire sprinkler in all new one- or two-family homes across the state. Despite the provision for sprinklers included in all building codes, Maryland and California are the only two states in the US that require residential fire sprinklers, along with Washington, DC and hundreds of local communities. The Maryland law was passed in 2012, and was recently strengthened by the passing of House Bill 823 and Senate Bill 746, which gave the Fire Marshal the ability to enforce the requirements. Maryland law also prohibits local governments from weakening the sprinkler requirement in their jurisdiction’s building codes. According to reports, another key factor in the decrease of the state’s fire deaths is a 2013 law that required replacing 10-year-old battery-only smoke alarms with alarms powered by a 10-year sealed battery. Most people are unaware that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. By using long life battery smoke alarms, you greatly reduce missing or dead battery issues. Over the last 25 years, the average annual fire death total in the state was 71. Over the last 10 years, it has dropped to 64. Out of the 51 total fire deaths, 33 occurred in residential properties, a significant decrease from the 52 residential deaths in 2019. This is very good news for the state and another reminder of the life-saving capabilities of residential fire sprinklers and the positive impact they have for citizens and first responders. To learn more about home fire sprinklers and how to get them in your community, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.
Home fire sprinkler side-by-side demo

Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and Fire Sprinkler Initiative announce dates for 2021 Home Fire Sprinkler Week

Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) announced that its annual Home Fire Sprinkler Week (HFSW) done in collaboration with the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative will take place May 16-22. Recognizing its 25th anniversary, HSFC is expanding its reach with new ideas and tools that further the life-saving educational messages of home fire sprinklers. HFSW highlights include a digital campaign to educate younger homebuyers on the importance and need for home fire sprinklers, a video to emphasize the positive environmental impact of home fire sprinklers, and daily educational themes and graphics to be shared on social media. HFSC is also planning on releasing a new virtual reality resource to help people personally understand how fire and deadly smoke quickly spread and allow them to experience the power of home fire sprinklers up close. Another addition to Home Fire Sprinkler Week is a stipend program, which will award local fire departments dedicated to home fire sprinkler education with money to use on socially-distanced community outreach programs, including construction of a to-scale NFPA 13D riser. Read the announcement for more information and plan your local activities to support this week. To learn more about home fire sprinklers and how to increase the number of homes being built with sprinklers in your community, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.
Fire in Natick, MA

Home fire sprinkler myth goes up in flames in deadly MA fire

For years NFPA and fire and life safety advocates have refuted erroneous myths and battled pushback to increasing the use of home fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes despite the inclusion of this provision in all building codes for more than a decade. One of those myths - that new homes don’t burn - proved disastrously wrong when one person in a newly constructed home lost his life in January to a fast moving fire in Massachusetts. Based on the real estate listing, the home was built in 2019. According to news accounts, the fire service was unable to reach the man as the fire was well underway when they arrived. Unfortunately, this scenario matches the facts and research. Today’s homes burn hotter and faster because of unprotected lightweight construction and modern furnishings. While in decades past you may have had about seven to eight minutes to escape a home fire, now you may have as little as two minutes to get out. Smoke alarms are essential in providing early warning to occupants but should be combined with home fire sprinklers to keep fires small and give people time to escape. NFPA research shows that the risk of dying in a reported home fire is about 80 percent lower where sprinklers are present. The local fire chief was quoted in a press release following the event saying, “Despite the best efforts of our Public Safety Dispatch system and our fire department, the fire consumed the contents and spread throughout the structure within minutes,” explained Natick Fire Chief Michael Lentini. “These tragedies shouldn’t happen in new homes in our quaint community or anywhere in our Commonwealth. We know that fire sprinklers buy time for the occupants to escape and for fire departments to arrive. I hope this tragic event can bring decision-makers together to increase education and awareness of the danger of fire.” Massachusetts has omitted the home fire sprinkler provision from its building code and not acted on a bill that has been repeatedly filed that would allow local communities to enact requirements on sprinklers. Massachusetts Residential Fire Sprinkler Coalition Chair and Retired Fire Chief Paul Zbikowski was quoted in the same press release saying, “We constantly ask ourselves how we can reach the public so that they understand how quickly fires occur with today’s modern furnishings. Everyone says that new homes won’t burn. Well, this is an example that that is simply not true. We must re-evaluate our Massachusetts Code and not remove the provision that can address this threat straight on. We are essentially building sub-standard homes when we leave this life safety feature out.” It is heartbreaking to see this type of story when we have the knowledge and means to better protect citizens and first responders from fire. Massachusetts should join other states and jurisdictions that have required all new one and two family homes to be built with home fire sprinklers. Learn more at the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative.  Photo: NBCBoston.com
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