Keith Flood (second from right) is the 2017 recipient of the Bringing Safety Home Award. Honoring Flood during NFPA's recent Sprinkler Coalition Chair Summit was (from left) Fred Durso, communications manager for NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative; Tim Travers, NFPA regional sprinkler specialist; NFPA President Jim Pauley; and Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
The Bringing Safety Home Award is a joint effort by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative. The award honors members of the fire service and other sprinkler advocates who use HFSC and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to educate decision makers on fire sprinklers and convince them to support sprinkler requirements. The 2017 recipient was Keith Flood, fire marshal for the West Haven, CT, Fire Department.
Keith launched the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition in October 2014. The night before the kickoff event, local firefighter Kevin Bell was killed in the line of duty while conducting firefighting operations at a house fire. While some wanted to postpone the event, Keith insisted that the event take place in order to honor Kevin and promote a technology that might have saved his life.
The event was a success. Keith used resources and guidance by HFSC to build a side-by-side demo, send out media alerts, and create the proper speaking points. His fire department is also one of HFSC’s Built for Life Fire Departments, meaning it promotes fire sprinklers during its outreach efforts.
Following the coalition’s launch, Keith has been instrumental in championing for pro-sprinkler laws. Recently, Keith and the coalition have been diligently urging Connecticut’s code-making body to adopt a fire sprinkler requirement for new homes. He’s been an active voice on a codes and standards subcommittee, educating this group on the necessity of a statewide, fire sprinkler requirement. Keith has been instrumental in leading thoughtful discussions on this technology. Thanks to his efforts, this committee recently voted to require sprinklers in all of the state’s new townhomes. Keith will continue to champion for this requirement as a state legislative body weighs in on this potential requirement.
In front of TV cameras last year, Keith joined NFPA at a news conference following the death of a six-year-old girl in her home following a fast-moving fire. The family moved into the home only months before the incident. Responding to a local homebuilder’s claim that “nobody is dying in new homes from fire,” Keith reinforced the point that the home—which was a new home—also has its fire challenges and its working smoke alarms weren’t enough to save this child.
Previous award recipients
Stephan Cox (left) and Richard Smith with the Maryland State Firemen's Association accept the 2016 Bringing Safety Home Award from Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and president of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) awarded the Maryland State Firemen's Association the 2016 Bringing Safety Home Award, presented at the Fire Sprinkler Coalition Chair Summit in Quincy, Massachusetts. The award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC's home fire sprinkler educational materials and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to ensure that decision-makers have accurate information as new or updated home fire sprinkler codes are considered.
Accepting the award on behalf of the association was Stephan Cox, chair of the association's legislative committee, and Vice Chair Richard Smith. Both were influential in helping defeat a legislative bill that would have weakened the state's sprinkler requirement. Under Cox's leadership, Smith brought the Maryland fire service and interested parties together to defeat this legislation. Additional efforts were made to convene numerous panels at the bill's hearing. Their willingness to work both sides of the legislative aisle while educating legislators on the importance of home fire sprinklers is a lesson in effective sprinkler advocacy.
Chief Brian Leahy accepts the 2015 Bringing Safety Home Award from Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and president of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) awarded Fire Chief Brian Leahy from the Clarendon Hills, Illinois, Fire Department with the 2015 Bringing Safety Home Award, presented at the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.
The award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC’s home fire sprinkler educational materials and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to ensure that decision-makers have accurate information as new or updated home fire sprinkler codes are considered.
Fifteen years ago, Chief Leahy spent hours meeting with his mayor and elected officials to educate them about the benefits of home fire sprinklers. His village manager presented him with 33 “concerns” brought up by those who opposed a fire sprinkler requirement. With limited resources, Leahy addressed every concern. His efforts resulted in the passage of an ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family homes. Clarendon Hills became the fifth community in Illinois to do so, but the ordinance was the first in one of the state’s teardown-and-rebuild community. Leahy’s list to the village manager is known as the Clarendon Hills “List of 33” and is still used as a resource in other communities looking to enact home fire sprinkler requirements in new homes.
Today, more than 700 Clarendon Hills homes and the families that occupy them are protected with fire sprinklers.
Presenting the 2014 award to Fire Chief Chuck Walker (center) was (from left) Tim Travers, NFPA; Vickie Pritchett, National Fire Sprinkler Association; Peg Paul, HFSC; and Jeff Hudson, NFPA.
The 2014 recipient of the "Bringing Safety Home" award is Fire Chief Chuck Walker with the Ashland City Fire Department in Tennessee. Walker was instrumental in passing a home fire sprinkler ordinance in Ashland City in 2001, educating all key stakeholders with HFSC education materials at “lunch and learn” meetings and through the use of side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations. At final inspections for sprinklered homes, the fire department leaves the homeowner with HFSC’s educational “Living with Sprinklers” video.
“Tennessee has ranked in the top two or three states for fire deaths across the country for many years,” says Walker. “Being a growing community, we were easily convinced that in order to protect the growth and prevent fire deaths, especially with a combination volunteer/paid fire department, residential sprinklers were the way to go.”
After his success in Ashland City, Walker assisted Cheatham County in becoming the first county in the state of Tennessee to pass fire sprinkler requirements in 2005. Every homebuilder who testified at the county adoption process voted in favor of home fire sprinklers. “It is truly a great honor to receive this award,” says Walker.
The 2013 award recipient was Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Minick from the North Charleston Fire Department in South Carolina. Chief Minick volunteered to chair the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition and to spearhead a series of live flashover and fire sprinkler side-by-side demonstrations held across his state in partnership with the South Carolina Fire and Life Safety Education Association. More than 20 of these dramatic demonstrations have been held since 2011, utilizing materials and information from both HFSC and NFPA’s Initiative.
From left: Peg Paul (HFSC) Lorraine Carli (NFPA), former Maryland Fire Marshal Bill Barnard, and former NFPA vice president Gary Keith.
On August 2, 2012, during the IAFC's International Conference, former Maryland Fire Marshal Bill Barnard received the “Bringing Safety Home” award. Due to Marshal Barnard's efforts, Maryland not only adopted a home fire sprinkler requirement in all new one- and two-family homes, but a law passed during the 2012 legislative prohibits the weakening of the code by local jurisdictions.