Topic: Home Fire Sprinkler Initiative

Live sprinkler

The biggest problem with fire sprinklers? Not enough places have them.

The recently published 2021 edition of NFPA US Experience with Sprinklers report shows, that properties with sprinklers have lower rates of fire deaths and injuries. In most occupancies, property loss is also reduced. From 2015 to 2019, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,000 structure fires per year (10 percent) in which sprinklers were present. Sprinklers are in all kinds of buildings, ranging from homes to hospitals, schools to stores, etc.  Compared to reported fires in properties with no automatic extinguishing systems (AES) such as sprinklers, range hood extinguishing systems, etc., when sprinklers were present, the civilian fire death and injury rates per fire were 89 percent and 27 percent lower, respectively. The rate of firefighter injuries per fire was 60 percent lower. Sprinklers are highly reliable and effective in suppressing fires and reducing loss. Sprinklers operated in 92 percent of such fires and were effective at controlling the fire in 96 percent of the incidents in which they operated. Overall, sprinkler systems operated and were effective in 88 percent of the fires considered large enough to activate them. One sprinkler is usually enough to control a fire. In 77 percent of the structure fires where sprinklers operated, only one operated. In 97 percent, five or fewer operated. Fire spread was confined to the object or room of origin in 95 percent of reported structure fires in which sprinkler systems were present compared to 71 percent in properties with no AES. Home fire sprinklers The report also includes a section specifically on sprinklers in home fires. Despite the fact that more people die from home fires than fires in any other occupancy, sprinklers were present in only 7 percent of reported home fires.  Compared to fires with no AES, in home fires with sprinklers present, rates per reported fire were: 88 percent lower for civilian deaths, 28 percent lower for civilian injuries, and 78 percent lower for firefighter injuries The average loss per fire was 62 percent lower for home fires with sprinklers compared to fires in properties with no AES. Sprinklers operated in 95 percent of the home fires in which the systems were present and the fires were considered large enough to activate them. They were effective at controlling the fire in 97 percent of the fires in which they operated. Taken together, sprinklers operated effectively in 92 percent of the fires large enough to trigger them. Learn more about home fire sprinklers from the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative. Check out the full report for more information about sprinklers in all occupancies.
Firefighters watching virtual reality

Fire Sprinkler Side-by-Side Burn Brings Reality Closer to Home with New Virtual Reality Video

I did not truly understand just how effective fire sprinklers were until I saw the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s (HFSC) virtual reality live fire video demonstration. I have interned at NFPA for a few months, so I knew going in that fire sprinklers are key for fire safety. However, this video showed me that fire sprinklers are so much more effective than I originally thought and have the power to save one’s belongings, home, and even life. They should be installed in every home. The other week in Ashland City, Tennessee, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and HFSC teamed up to record a live fire video shoot at a single-family home. The video they made was produced for virtual reality, allowing the user to get a 360-degree view during the video so they can see every angle of the house and what is happening. In the past, fire departments have conducted side-by-side live burns to demonstrate the power of fire sprinklers. However, doing a live burn demonstration is not always practical. They would require at a minimum construction of the units and EPA burn approval. Having access to virtual reality technology brings fire sprinkler education to a whole new level that is not only more personal, powerful and memorable, but eliminates the added layer of physical set up, rehab and travel. The demonstration takes place in two identical rooms. One room has a fire sprinkler and the other doesn’t. Both fires were started on the window curtain. The video starts with the room with the fire sprinkler. The impact of the sprinkler is almost immediate. The sprinkler, activated by the heat of the fire, goes off after about 30 seconds. At this point, the fire has engulfed one side of the window curtain. When the sprinkler activates, the fire is put out entirely. Once the fire is put out, I could see that the damage from the fire is limited to a small corner of the room. While the room is soaked, the video notes that a family would be able to move back into the room within a couple of days. The video then switches to the room without the fire sprinkler. The fire again quickly engulfs the window curtain. However, with no fire sprinkler, there is nothing to slow the fire down. After one minute, the fire is raging. After 90 seconds, one side of the room is completely engulfed in flames. Flashover takes place just over two minutes. The room becomes completely black with smoke and so hot that one of the cameras stopped operating. The sheer speed that flashover took place was eye- opening. The video shows the aftermath of the room. It is completely destroyed. Everything is black. It is completely unhabitable. After watching the video, it is easy to see how fire sprinklers can save lives. This live fire video shoot further demonstrates the need for every home to have a fire sprinkler system installed. According to NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them. the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires. when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time. the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren't. The virtual reality video is scheduled to be completed later this year and will allow people to experience firsthand a fire with and without fire sprinklers, right in their own living room. A 2D version of the video will also be created for free, on-demand access via Internet. Watching the video will change your outlook on home fire sprinklers; I know it changed mine. Learn more about HFSC’s virtual reality education kit through this short video. Photos with captions are also available.

Lewes Becomes Second City in Delaware to Require Fire Sprinklers in all New Homes

The fight to put fire sprinklers in every home took a step in the right direction earlier this month as the city council for Lewes, Delaware approved an ordinance to require fire sprinklers to be put in every new home constructed in the city. This ordinance comes at the response of Lewes and the surrounding area having dealt with several major fires over the past few months. Lewes joins Newark as the only cities in Delaware to have strict requirements for fire sprinklers in homes. Council member Andrew Williams told Delaware Public Media that this new requirement helps protect the city as it continues to rapidly grow. “As the county develops and Lewes continues to develop and we rely on a volunteer fire team, many of them are coming from outside the city and it’s more congested for them to get to fires, therefore, it’s becoming more and more dangerous for our residents,” said Williams. Fire sprinklers have repeatedly been proven effective at preventing large scale fires, thus saving lives and properties. According to NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report:  the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them. the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires. when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time. the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren't. By reducing the threat of a large fire, fire sprinklers also help protect firefighters from onsite injuries and cancer. Cancer in firefighters is a serious issue. According to two studies from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, they find that: Firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnosis. Firefighters also face a 14 percent increase in cancer related deaths compared to the general US population. Lewes took a step in the right direction to protecting their city. They join hundreds of cities across the country in requiring this life saving element. In addition, California, Maryland, and Washington D.C. require fire sprinklers in all new homes. Learn more about NFPA’s fire sprinkler initiative on our website.
House on fire

HFSC and NFSA Team up to Show the Effectiveness of Home Fire Sprinklers Using Virtual Reality

Last week in Ashland City, Tennessee, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) teamed up to record a live fire video shoot at a single family home. But this shoot was unique from any other live fire video shoot. HFSC conducted the shoot to produce an unprecedented, virtual reality, 360-degree house fire and sprinkler educational video. The video, which is scheduled to be completed later this year, will allow people to experience firsthand a fire with and without fire sprinklers, right in their own living room. The viewer will be able to see flashover as the flames and smoke spread and better understand how the high heat from fires activates a sprinkler and how the sprinkler controls the blaze. Viewers will ultimately be able to compare the damage in the two rooms after the fire is put out. A 2D version of the video will be created for free, on-demand access via Internet. To help ensure HFSC captured the footage, NFSA teamed up with the Ashland City Fire Department. Together they secured a single-family house earmarked for demolition and obtained permission to use it for live fires. The home was ideal because it had two rooms that could be set up as identical living rooms.  The shoot was a major success. This live fire video shoot further demonstrates the need for every home to have a fire sprinkler system installed. According to NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report:  the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them. the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires. when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time. the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren't. Learn more about HFSC’s virtual reality education kit through this short video. Photos with captions are also available.  
A sprinkler head

NASFM is helping NFPA Spread the Word About Home Fire Sprinklers

The effectiveness of home fire sprinklers is undeniable. Sprinklers respond immediately to fires, meaning they fight a fire before firefighters even arrive. In most cases, this reduces a significant amount of property damage and can even save lives. However, from 2010-2014, home fire sprinkler systems were only found in seven percent of all home fires, according to NFPA. It is imperative to spread the word about home fire sprinklers as they truly have the power to save lives. Jon Narva, the director of external relations at the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), sat down with Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) president, Lorraine Carli, to talk more about this subject as a part of a video series created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HFSC. Educating the public about home fire sprinklers is a huge objective for NASFM. Narva emphasized this point, stating that what is necessary to get more people to install home fire sprinklers is to “focus on education, that has to remain key and continuing to develop the programs to help the marshals get the word out, not just to the firefighters or first responders in their state, but to all the stakeholders as well,” he said. NASFM is playing a huge role in promoting home fire sprinklers because of how effective they are at stopping a fire before it engulfs a home. Home fire sprinklers are “really a no-brainer,” Narva said. “NASFM’s mission is to protect human life, property, and the environment and that describes home fire sprinklers.” According to Narva, home fire sprinklers can also help reduce safety risks in any community. “Community risk reduction really takes a look at the whole picture of all the risks that are out there,” he stated. “If we can reduce the fire risk through fire sprinklers, we’re able to dedicate resources to higher risk or more recent risk areas and protect the community overall.” To help promote home fire sprinklers, NAFSM worked with HFSC to develop programs that give people incentives for installing home fire sprinklers. Listen to the full interview with Narva and Carli to learn more about why it is so important to educate the public about home fire sprinklers:   If you missed any of the previous interviews, including Carli’s most recent discussion with Kevin Quinn, the 1st vice chairman at the National Volunteer Fire Council, find the full video series on HFSC’s website.   Help NFPA and HFSC celebrate its 25th anniversary this year; share the facts about the affordability, reliability, and effective protection of home fire sprinklers. For additional information, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative websites.
Kevin Quinn

Home Fire Sprinklers Reduce Risks for Volunteer Firefighters

There are 1.1 million firefighters nationwide, 67 percent of which are volunteers. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) represents the interests of volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. Kevin Quinn, the first vice chairman at the NVFC, sat down with Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) president, Lorraine Carli, to talk more about why home fire sprinklers are important to the volunteer firefighters as a part of a video series created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HFSC. In the video interview, Quinn emphasizes the importance of home fire sprinklers as they save numerous lives, “by knocking those fires down before they become that deadly, whether it be for residents, or for firefighters, volunteers and career alike,” he said. Quinn mentions while every home should be equipped with home fire sprinklers, they are especially important in rural areas. Of all the country’s volunteer firefighters, many are in rural areas. “Water supply is an issue for rural areas and there’s a little bit more of a response time,” Quinn said. “So, the home fire sprinklers are going to be impactful on those residential homes that have protection.” Home fire sprinklers stopping a fire before it can spread puts firefighters at much less risk and reduces injuries from fighting structure fires. However, it also prevents firefighters from inhaling carcinogens from fires, reducing their risk of cancer. Cancer in firefighters is a serious issue. According to Two studies from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, they find that: Firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnosis. Firefighters also face a 14 percent increase in cancer related deaths compared to the general US population. In the video, Quinn states that the NVFC helped put together the Lavender Ribbon Report, which is 11 of the best practices to reduce exposure and minimize any kind of additional risk put on firefighters. “Volunteers are your neighbors helping others,” Quinn said. “They give up so much and dedicate so much and we appreciate each and every one of them for what they do. But we also have to let them realize that there are other means such as home fire sprinklers that will help protect them, their communities, and their families.” Listen to the full interview with Quinn and Carli to learn more about how home fire sprinklers reduce risks for volunteer firefighters:   If you missed any of the previous interviews, including Carli’s most recent discussion with Mike O’Brian, a fire chief from the Brighton Area Fire Authority and a board member on the International Association of Fire Chiefs, find the full video series on HFSC’s website.   Help NFPA and HFSC celebrate its 25th anniversary this year; share the facts about the affordability, reliability, and effective protection of home fire sprinklers. For additional information, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative websites.
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