Friday, July 27, 2012

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Celebrates New Fire Sprinkler-Protected Office with Open House and Dedication Ceremony

ORLAND PARK, Ill., July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) hosted an open house and official dedication ceremony to commemorate its new fire sprinkler-protected office building in Mount Prospect. Purchased in December 2010, the approximately 6,000-square-foot building houses IFSA and also serves as headquarters for the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association with future plans for other nonprofit fire service organizations to move in as well.
With such prominent Illinois fire service organizations present in the building, it was important to IFSA that the building was retrofit with necessary safety improvements and, most importantly, a fire sprinkler system to protect occupants and the building.
"The fire sprinkler system is a key component of our new building," states Mary Werderitch, executive director of IFSA. "The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance is all about fire safety, burn prevention and public education, so having a fire sprinkler system to protect our own office and those who work and visit it truly supports the work we are doing and our mission."
The local fire sprinkler industry got involved and offered its assistance by making a donation of the complete fire sprinkler system. The nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) organized and coordinated the project, while numerous companies offered different components to complete the system.
"We were happy to be involved with the fire sprinkler installation in a building that contains such key Illinois fire service groups," says Tom Lia, executive director of NIFSAB. "The building is a working example of the guidelines set by the FEMA "America Burning" reports that state that fire sprinklers are a community's first line of defense."
Viking Supply Net supplied all the pipe and materials, USA Fire Protection determined the hydraulic calculations and drew the plans, Chicago Backflow supplied the backflow device and certification, and Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 provided the labor and installation.
"It's our pleasure for our member contractors to partner with the fire service in any way we can, especially on this important project," says John Zubricks, business manager of Sprinkler Fitters Local 281. "Fire sprinklers are the single, proven way to prevent fires from causing deaths and injuries, creating a safer environment for those who are in working in the IFSA office and all sprinklered buildings, both commercial and residential."
"The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance has strong education programs, so we are happy to give them our support," says Jeff Norton, director of marketing, Viking Supply Net. "There's no better way to provide education than having a working fire sprinkler system on display in their very own office."
About the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory BoardThe Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting progressive legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and governmental policy makers by demonstrating the proven performance of fire sprinklers in saving both lives and property. For more info, visit .
SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board
Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nursing home fire safety code, cost focus of meeting

Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 2:00pm EDT

Buffalo Business First Reporter-Business First
State health regulators will meet Wednesday to consider a Medicaid payment adjustment designed to help nursing homes meet a federal fire sprinkler requirement.
The Public Health and Health Planning Council’s committee on codes, regulations and legislation meets July 25 in Latham to consider the emergency adoption of amendments to the public health law that govern how quickly nursing homes are reimbursed for expenses through the Medicaid payment schedule.
All long-term care facilities and nursing homes that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs are required in meet requirements on automatic fire-safety equipment and sprinklers by mid-2013. The 2008 rule is part of the Life Safety Code, a compilation of fire-safety requirements for new and existing buildings published by the independent National Fire Protection Association.
About 100 nursing homes throughout the state have notified the Department of Health they’ll have financial difficulties meeting those requirements by the deadline due to financing issues.
The changes under consideration by the PHHPC committee would adjust reimbursements through Medicaid to begin in 2012 rather than 2014, the typical two-year lag under which reimbursements normally occur. The state amendment also sets the eligibility rules for facilities determined to be financially distressed.
Changes to the law were determined through collaboration with the Nursing Home Industry Associations.
The change is being considered for emergency adoption to allow financially challenged nursing homes to secure loans required to finance and perform the work by the Aug. 13, 2013 deadline.
Tracey Drury covers health/medical, nonprofits and insurance

For Sprinklers, Lead the Charge and Lead the Change

By Jakki MacLean
“Sprinklering America: We Can, We Should, We Must,” was the theme of the 24th Executive Fire Officer Program Graduate Symposium recently held at the National Fire Academy.  Accompanying this theme, the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) Maryland was used to examine five core competencies of executive leadership.  In response to the variety of presenters and demonstrations, these concepts were discussed with such intensity among symposium participants, I couldn’t help but ponder the diversity of opinions on the long trek home.

Recalling the various leaders in the Antietam battle — their knowledge, their style, their personality traits and the application of all of those in the work environment — I am reminded of how much our culture and value system influence not only our leadership styles and decision-making, but the very causes we defend and to what degree we are willing to defend them.
Applying this to “Sprinklering America,” there is clearly no doubt of the effectiveness of sprinkler systems as a life-saving tool and the data regarding the risk of residential fire death was undisputed. Yet less than 7% of the fire-service leaders attending this symposium have residential sprinklers in their own homes. What is the disconnect?
Truly there is an economic limitation for a number of folks. In Washington as in other areas of the country, many state and local workers have taken wage cuts, reduced hours, and furloughs, which have obviously impacted income. I spoke with a number of symposium attendees who are helping kids and grandkids as well. So that is a reality. In addition, there was discussion that a number of spouses aren’t at all supportive of retrofitting their homes, which would certainly impact one’s value system.
But the presentation by Dr. Burt Clark really caused me to challenge our risk reduction attitudes and behaviors. He discussed a number of risks that fire service professionals continue to engage in - risks for which we develop and implement entire prevention programs, technology, and legislation, expecting compliance from the general public. Even with the facts, even with the data, we as leaders continue in the types of risky behaviors from which we may literally be picking up the pieces of another. And yet we continue.
Whether it’s the use of seat belts or installing residential fire sprinklers or any other risk reduction measure, we know they work. We know they are worthwhile. We know they save lives.  Perhaps the reality is that we still don’t think it will happen to us. Maybe in our heroic efforts to convince others of the need for protecting themselves, we might first need to convince those of us who are leading the charge that we should be leading the change.
Jakki MacLean, EFO, CFM, is the fire-protection bureau chief and fire marshal for the Yakima (Wash.) County Building and Fire Safety Division

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gurnee Passes Progressive Residential Fire Sprinkler Ordinance

ORLAND PARK, Ill., June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Last night, officials from the Village of Gurnee passed a residential fire sprinkler ordinance by adopting the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC), which will require fire sprinkler systems in all new one- and two-family homes and townhomes effective immediately.
The International Code Council's IRC began requiring fire sprinklers in the 2009 edition and has since been adopted as a statewide measure in California and among numerous local jurisdictions nationwide. NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 are model residential codes from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that have required fire sprinklers since the 2006 editions and are also widely used by local jurisdictions across the nation.
According to the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), Gurnee now joins 77 other municipalities and fire protection districts in Illinois that require fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes through the adoption of the model codes provided by the International Code Council and NFPA. Gurnee is the fourth jurisdiction in Illinois to pass residential fire sprinkler requirements this year.
According to NFPA, 85% of fire deaths in 2010 occurred in the home, where people feel the most comfortable. Fire Chief Fred Friedl, Fire Marshal Tom Keefe, and the Gurnee Fire Department, as well as Community Development Director David Ziegler, were instrumental in the adoption of the IRC and its fire sprinkler requirements in order to avoid Gurnee residents from becoming part of the residential fire death statistics.
"As a measure leading up the vote last night, these individuals from the fire and building departments worked strenuously to educate their fellow peers and the Village Board about the benefits of fire sprinklers and help dispel the myths and misinformation about fire sprinklers," says NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia.
In fact, the Village Board took a few extra months to make sure that they fully understood residential fire sprinklers so that they were fully aware of all factors involved in making such an important decision.
"In the end, the Village Board understood the importance of the life-safety protection that fire sprinklers provide in homes," Lia notes. "With this fire sprinkler ordinance, Gurnee has become a model community for fire safety. Congratulations to Mayor Kristina Kovarik and all of the Village Board for recognizing the important role that fire sprinklers play in protecting the lives of Gurnee residents."
About the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory BoardThe Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting progressive legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and governmental policy makers by demonstrating the proven performance of fire sprinklers in saving both lives and property. For more info, visit .
SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board
Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sprinklers Helped Save Homes From Colo. Wildfire

An official in Colorado Springs says sprinklers helped save some homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- An official in Colorado Springs says home sprinklers helped save some homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire.
"I was up in Peregrine yesterday and I saw firsthand where some sprinklers were left on and houses were saved because of that," said Jerry Forte, CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities.
Forte said the utility company is going to remove water consumption for the time evacuees were out of their homes. The utility is also adjusting bills for customers whose homes were destroyed by the fire to a zero balance.
Utility workers are going house to house and business to business restoring power. They hope to reestablish gas service to 500 homes in the lower Mountain Shadows area by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. However, Forte said the rest of the area has a significant amount of damage and it's going to take significant amount of time to restore service.
While some 7,000 evacuees were allowed to go home in the Waldo Canyon fire zone over the weekend, some 3,000 people were still evacuated on Monday morning.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for the Mountain Shadows neighborhood from south of Wolfe Ranch Road and west of Flying W Ranch Road to 30th Street, and several streets east of Flying W Ranch Road.
Officials lifted evacuation orders for residents on Elleen Ct., Centauri Rd., Boardwalk Dr., and Corporate Plz Dr. at noon Monday. Evacuation orders were also lifted for home on Granby Court from addresses 4510 to 4795.
Officials plan to open more neighborhoods on Tuesday.
The Waldo Canyon Fire has been burning for 10 days. It has burned 17,827 acres and is 55 percent contained. The fire killed two people. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Highway 24 is also now open, although officials have asked the public to avoid using the highway to keep it clear for fire trucks coming and going from the fire.
Authorities said they have had at least 22 burglary reports in the fire zone, so far. There are also 60 reports of evacuees' cars being broken into while they were staying at nearby hotels.
On Monday, District Attorney Dan May had strong words for looters.
"To those who may be contemplating, thinking about burglarizing those homes, you better get prepared also," May said. "I hope you have packed your bags, we intend to evacuate you from our community and we intend to do that for many many years."
May said the first burglary charge can carry a prison sentence of up to 24 years. Each additional burglary charge can add another 24 years.
"I can assure the people of the Pikes Peak region that whenever we have probable cause to charge, we will be filing the maximum charges," May said. "We will be extremely tough on these cases."
Members of the Colorado National Guard are helping police officers patrolling the evacuated areas.
Fighting The Fire
Islands of unburned brush and trees in the fire zone continue to burn out and produce intermittent smoke columns.
However there has been no perimeter growth, said Incident Commander Rich Harvey.
"The fire is continuing to burn," said Jerri Marr with the U.S. Forest Service. "We still have places that are really hot, at the same time we have places where we've increased containment."
There are 1,581 fire personnel fighting this fire with the help of 11 helicopters. Full containment is expected July 16.
Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved.