Live Fire and Sprinkler Demonstrations at the Big E Helped Underscore the Life-Saving Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers

During September, more than 1.6 million people traveled to Massachusetts to attend The Big E, the nation’s only multistate fair, representing all six New England states. For the first time at the Big E, people attending the popular exposition had the opportunity to experience live home fire and sprinkler demonstrations side by side, witnessing firsthand the difference between destructive flashover in one room and automatic sprinkler protection in another.

The states took turns hosting the flashover/sprinkler demonstration daily at a premium position behind the Avenue of the States area at the fair. Drawing impressive crowds, the collaborative effort was bolstered with support from the National Fire Sprinkler Association, which organized the side-by-side demonstration trailers.

Representatives from fire departments around the region volunteered to extinguish the unsprinklered fires as part of each demo. State fire marshals, members of state fire sprinkler coalitions, and other New England fire service members were also on hand. These helpers were able to answer questions, and they noted they heard many comments indicating observers were surprised at how fast fire spreads and how well a fire sprinkler controls the fire.

At each demonstration after the fires were extinguished and cooled off, people were invited to view the rooms up close so they could see the damage from the unsprinklered fire themselves and compare it to what little damage occurred in the room protected by the sprinkler.

A special shout-out to all the members of the fire service who volunteered their time to ensure home fire sprinklers were front and center at this big exposition. Their support helped increase awareness about the speed of a home fire. And their role underscored the life-saving benefits when fire sprinklers are installed. There is no question that people had a fun day at the fair; they also learned important fire safety information and had some stubborn myths punctured right before their eyes.

For more information about home fire sprinklers, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition webpage.

Top photo: Sprinkler demonstration at the Big E in Maine
Bottom photo: Sprinkler demonstration at the Big E in Connecticut

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Lorraine Carli
VP, Outreach & Advocacy, Working to save lives and property through awareness, action and collaborations.

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