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NFPA campaign aims to increase number of homes protected by sprinklers (10/6)

October 6, 2008
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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced that it will coordinate a campaign to increase the number of homes protected by sprinklers, according to a recent press release. This is the second major fire safety campaign NFPA has undertaken recently. NFPA began the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes in 2006. As NFPA continues to work towards nationwide implementation of fire-safe cigarette mandates, it is launching this new campaign.

Among other things, the campaign will:
  • encourage jurisdictions to put in place home fire sprinkler requirements by adopting local ordinances or model codes including NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code®; NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, NFPA 5000®, Building Construction & Safety Code® and the International Code Council International Residential Code (IRC).
  • provide materials and resources to support the adoption of sprinkler requirements in communities all across the country.
  • create an online community for those interested in furthering the use of home fire sprinklers
“NFPA has long been an ardent supporter of home fire sprinklers for good reason. Home fire sprinklers are a proven technology that save lives,” said NFPA President James M. Shannon. “Beginning with the 2006 editions, NFPA model codes include provisions requiring home fire sprinklers in one- and two- family dwellings. NFPA served as a founding member of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, an organization devoted to public education around residential sprinklers. Over the last 18 months, NFPA conducted a series of focus groups to solicit input from the fire service on issues requiring a strong, coordinated effort to reduce the number of home fire fatalities and injuries. The sentiment of the groups was overwhelmingly in favor of a major initiative for home fire sprinklers.

“Our past activities have laid significant groundwork from which to move this effort forward now,” said Shannon. “The recent ICC vote to include a sprinkler requirement in the IRC is another important step and hopefully will provide additional momentum to this movement. NFPA is committed to doing all we can to make sure that more Americans and their families are protected by sprinklers. We also look forward to dovetailing our efforts with all other interested organizations.”

Properly installed automatic fire sprinkler systems are proven to save lives. While they have been used for more than a century to protect commercial, industrial and public buildings, NFPA’s campaign will push for the use of these devices in the home, where 80 percent of all fire deaths occur. According to NFPA research, sprinklers, together with smoke alarms, cut the risk of dying in a home fire 82 percent, relative to having neither.

“We need a campaign like this to spur the adoption of sprinkler mandates locally,” said Maryland Fire Marshal William E. Barnard. “That is essential to ensuring that this advancement in safety will start saving lives as soon as possible. We are proud that over half the municipalities in Maryland have adopted sprinkler ordinances or are covered by county-wide requirements for all newly-constructed residential occupancies. I encourage all members of the fire service to take the materials made available through this campaign to their local governments and reiterate how important this is to the safety of our citizens.”

“It is of the utmost importance that NFPA play a leading role in this campaign,” said New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan. “Their involvement lends a great deal of credibility to this issue, provides a single focus of public safety and brings needed resources to help spread the word about the importance of adopting these codes.”

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization 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. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org/sprinklers.

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