According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a home fire can become deadly in as little as two minutes. Common synthetic furnishings burn hotter and faster than natural materials and produce toxic deadly smoke. Although the number of home fires has come down over the years, you are more likely to die if you have a home fire today than you were in 1980.
During the COVID-19 crisis, recent news coverage has shown that stay at home mandates are in direct correlation with an increase in home cooking fires. This emphasizes the importance of the need to educate about fire safety. Home fire sprinklers can help eliminate these tragedies, but legislative barriers and a general unawareness of this technology have prevented its use in new homes.
The Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a project of the NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) are co-hosting Home Fire Sprinkler Week, a North America wide virtual effort to show the value of home fire sprinklers from May 17-23.
“Previously, public demonstrations to show the speed of home fires and the powerful protection of home fire sprinklers were the centerpiece of this week, attracting large crowds all over the country,” says NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and HFSC’s president, Lorraine Carli. “But life is very different today with the fire service at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And as public gatherings are inadvisable, this year we are acknowledging social distancing and simplifying fire service participation by providing a varied digital platform to flood the Internet with facts and messages of life safety.”
Throughout the week, fire departments and other public safety advocates across the US will access digital content at the Home Fire Sprinkler Week Website and encourage their audiences to read and share daily messaging. They’ll post home fire sprinkler videos, graphics and other information on their websites, through social media and via local news outlets.
On Wednesday, May 20th, NFPA and HFSC will host a Facebook Live event at 11 am EST/10 CST featuring dramatic video of two identical home fires with very different outcomes. Viewers will be able to compare fire growth, spread and damage with and without fire sprinklers. The event will include remarks from U.S. Fire Administrator Chief Keith Bryant, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President Chief Gary Ludwig and NFPA President Jim Pauley.
Setting aside this week of focus is important. In every state, homes are the core of the overall fire problem for both civilians and first responders. Each year, these fires cause eight of every 10 fire deaths and seven of 10 fire injuries. “If we can build with home fire sprinklers, we will dramatically reduce home fire deaths for generations to come,” Carli said.
Fire sprinklers are proven to keep home fires small, preventing injuries, deaths and limiting property damage. All national model fire codes recognize this track record by requiring sprinklers in new construction. Yet their installation in one- and two-family homes lags behind other occupancies. Home Fire Sprinkler Week will underscore the home fire problem and raise awareness of the availability of life-saving fire sprinklers for new homes.
For free resources and media information visit Home Fire Sprinkler Week Media Resources