“Every year, the majority of fire deaths in North America happen in the home,” says Lt. Steve Thompson of Greenville Professional Firefighters Local 1976. “Simply put, that’s unacceptable. There is a solution and it starts with the State Legislature and local support.”
Greenville Firefighters and fire safety advocates are endorsing the Nation-wide campaign May 19th initiated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to raise awareness of the growing dangers of home fires and the life-saving benefits of installing fire sprinklers in new homes.
“The purpose is to organize a unified day of action on May 19 with a focus on the tough problem of home fires and the documented reliability and effectiveness of home fire sprinkler technology,” says Lorraine Carli, Vice President at NFPA and President of HFSC. “By joining forces coast to coast, Greenville Firefighters are debunking persistent myths, helping consumers learn the facts before they build or buy a new home, and urging their State and Local Officials to support sprinkler codes.”
“Many people lose sight of the fact that home fires are dangerous not just to residents but also to firefighters,” says Lt. Steve Thompson. “Today’s new houses are built with lightweight construction and big open designs and they’re filled with synthetic furnishings. When exposed to fire, the lightweight construction materials fail fast, and that environment places firefighters at risk. The burning synthetics expose firefighters to toxins that lead to disease.”
Home Fire Sprinkler Day is an opportunity for everyone in our Community
to learn about new-home dangers, get the facts about lifesaving sprinkler technology and make progress against the home fire problem.
Facts about home fire sprinklers:
- Since 2009, the installation of fire sprinklers has been required for new construction of homes by all U.S. model building codes. California, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted home fire sprinkler requirements. These communities report far less fire deaths andgreatly reduced property damage from home fires.
- Fire sprinkler installation in homes lags behind installation in commercial properties where there are lower fire death rates. They lag in part due to myths, confusion, and opposition by some groups, such as home builders, who repeatedly campaign to block adoption of home fire sprinkler requirements. The home builders were successful in convincing the Pennsylvania Legislature in 2011 to delete the fire sprinkler requirement for new homes from the state building codes. While Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in home fire fatalities with 74 home fire deaths so far in 2018.
- Modern home fire sprinklers are inexpensive to install ($1.35 per sprinklered square foot., nationally).
- Fire sprinklers reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by 80 percent, and reduce property damage by 70 percent (NFPA).
- Because the sprinkler responds to the fire automatically and while it is still small, it controls the fire until the fire department arrives, slowing the spread of heat and poisonous smoke giving occupants more time to escape a fire safely. That prevents injuries and saves lives.
- Responding firefighters work in far less dangerous conditions when a home fire is controlled by a fire sprinkler.
- Fire sprinklers are usually supplied by the household water main. A small water tank and pump can be used where needed. They can be used in any climate. As with other plumbing, the piping is hidden behind walls and ceilings. Sprinkler covers can be used to conceal sprinklers.
- Home fire sprinklers operate individually. In a fire, the sprinkler closest to the fire activates. In the vast majority of home fires just one sprinkler is needed to control the flames.
- Sprinklers are activated only by the high temperature of a fire – typically between 135-165∞F. Cooking fumes, smoke or activated smoke alarms cannot activate sprinklers.
- Sprinklers are inherently “Green”. Fire sprinklers are environmentally friendly as the amount of toxic smoke placed into the atmosphere and the amount of contaminated water run-off are greatly reduced.
- Home fire sprinklers are designed to flow between 10-25 gallons of water per minute, compared to 150 gallons per minute from fire department hoses, greatly reducing the amount of water used resulting in less water damage and much less demand is placed upon the municipal water systems.
Learn more about Home Fire Sprinkler Day at nfpa.org/FireSprinklerDay.