Faces of Fire Mayer and Sheryl Fistal

Maine couple shares story of loss to advocate for home fire sprinklers

November 12, 2013 – In 2006, Mayer and Sheryl Fistal moved from New Jersey to Falmouth, Maine to live in their brand new, custom built, retirement dream home. Three months after moving in, a fire spread from the fireplace located in their living room, and grew, rapidly spreading heat and smoke throughout the house. The Fistals are the latest to share their story in the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Faces of Fire Series and advocate for the use of home fire sprinklers in new homes. The campaign is part of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home campaign.

The Fistals, their guests, and their dog escaped serious injury, although Sheryl suffered smoke inhalation. The house was a total loss and they were left with only their vehicle and the clothes they were wearing. Everything else was lost.

The devastating loss suffered by the Fistals was just one of the more than 360,000 home fires that occur every year in the United States, causing billions in direct damage and thousands of deaths. However, when sprinklers are present, the risk of death decreases by about 80 percent and the average property loss decreases by about 70 percent per fire.

Video: Mayer and Sheryl Fistal tell the story of the fire that destroyed their home.

The Fire Sprinkler Initiative provides resources for the fire service and other sprinkler advocates who want to demonstrate the need for home fire sprinklers in their community. Tools and field resources are available to help advocates talk with local elected officials and others about the life-saving impact of sprinklers.

In addition, the official website contains information to help home fire sprinkler advocates navigate the legislative process to get sprinkler ordinances introduced and passed in their communities and allow them to come together to share their ideas, successes, and tools with other advocates across the country.

While the Fistal’s story and the entire Faces of Fire series are tragic reminders of the destruction that home fires can cause, it is also a powerful tool that illustrates the importance of actively taking the proper steps to prevent these kinds of incidents. Installing home sprinklers can, and has, saved lives throughout the country, and will continue to do so as we all do our part to promote fire safety.

When the Fistal’s rebuilt their home there was no question that a fire sprinkler system would be included in the plans. “As you get older in life, you are not apt to respond as fast as you would when you are young, you’re not as quick to realize what’s happening…sprinklers are definitely worth the investment,” said Mayer. “Now I feel very secure…,” added Sheryl.

About “Faces of Fire”
“Faces of Fire” is a project of the National Fire Protection Association. The campaign is a tool to help people across the country to promote the use of automatic fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. By containing fires before they spread, home fire sprinklers protect lives and property. The personal stories told through the campaign show the experiences of those who escaped or lost loved ones in home fires, those whose lives and property were protected by home fire sprinklers, and others who recognize the value of home fire sprinklers.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275