Last year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) launched the Fire Sprinkler Initiative – Bringing Safety Home, a nationwide effort to mandate the use of home fire sprinklers. This effort is based on key facts that we in the fire service know first hand.
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 386,500 home structure fires in 2008. These fires caused:
- 2,755 civilian fire deaths
- 13,160 civilian fire injuries
- $8.2 billion in direct damage
Roughly 83% of all civilian fire deaths in 2008 resulted from home structure fires. Nationwide, once every three hours someone is fatally injured in a home fire.
Increasing the use of home fire sprinklers is critical to not only public safety but to firefighter safety. Sixty-two percent of fireground firefighter deaths occur in residences and the vast majority of the residential firefighter deaths happen in one and two family homes.
Home fire sprinklers are a proven way to protect lives and property against fires at home.
These life-saving systems respond quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire. When sprinklers are present, they save lives. According to NFPA, if you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present. Additionally, people in homes with sprinklers are protected against significant property loss—sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 74% per fire.
All model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. These requirements offer the highest level of safety to protect the people of your community and protect our brothers and sisters who are called to fight fires. We are in a unique position to advocate for the increased use of home fire sprinklers and share important information such as
- Home sprinkler systems respond quickly to reduce the heat, flames, and smoke from a fire, giving families valuable time to get to safety.
- Roughly 90% of the time, fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.
- Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to go off when it senses a significant heat change.
- Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.
The IAFC strongly urges you to visit www.firesprinklerinitiative.org and sign up for the electronic newsletter. Take action in your community to Bring Safety Home.
Chief Jeff Johnson, EFO, CFO, MIFireE
IAFC President and Chairman of the Board