Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fire Sprinkler Education Reaches Milestone in Illinois: Bartlett Fire Protection District Hosts 500th Fire Sprinkler Demonstration

from prnewswire

ORLAND PARK, Ill.Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, October 25, the Bartlett Fire Protection District hosted Illinois' 500th fire sprinkler demonstration using the side-by-side concept. Hundreds of attendees viewed the demonstration at the fire district's Fire Prevention Month open house.
The side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstration concept involves two similarly furnished rooms — one protected with a fire sprinkler and the other unprotected. Attendees were able to experience the quick response of fire sprinklers versus the non-sprinklered fire, which rapidly grew to flashover, the extreme temperature at which everything in the room ignited in flames.
"It takes as little as three minutes for a fire to become deadly due to the synthetic furnishings and lightweight construction in today's modern homes," says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). "Hundreds of Illinois fire departments have chosen side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstrations as the most effective public education to illustrate the value of home fire sprinklers."
"Fire sprinklers, both residential and commercial, save lives. These side-by-side demonstrations are an excellent tool to educate the community and promote the installation of fire sprinklers," says Bartlett Fire Chief Mike Falese. "The Bartlett Fire Protection District was honored to be the site of the 500th side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstration and appreciates all the work NIFSAB does to support the fire service and endorse fire sprinklers."
With assistance from NIFSAB, former Lake Villa Fire Protection District's Bill Tauchen initially developed the side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstration in 2000. The goal was to educate elected officials and community members, but it also has reached homebuilders, real estate agents and various other groups throughout the years. As NIFSAB and fire departments conducted more demonstrations, the units evolved and became mobile, reusable and easily shared between fire departments. Lia's expertise with the demonstrations has led to him being called upon to coordinate demonstrations throughout the U.S., while his model is featured in educational materials nationwide through a FEMA grant-funded program from the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
"NIFSAB can't take credit for this program as its success sits on the shoulders of the Illinois fire service," says Lia. "Without the proactive home fire sprinkler educational outreach efforts of Bartlett Fire Protection District and others throughout the state, NIFSAB never would have reached this milestone or the tens of thousands of attendees."
Currently, nearly 100 Illinois communities require fire sprinklers in new construction homes.
To view photos from the demonstration, please visit
About the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB)
NIFSAB is a nonprofit 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 (NIFSAB)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue demonstrates how home sprinklers save lives


Published On: Oct 03 2014 12:44:37 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 03 2014 12:48:03 PM EDT

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Next week is Fire Prevention Safety Week and on Friday the Miami-Dade Fire Department set a fire to demonstrate one way homeowners can protect their lives and their property in the event of a fire emergency.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Rule Requires Fire Sprinklers In Large Houses

from cbsnews

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – New building codes in Minnesota will require sprinklers in homes over 4.500 square feet.
It applies only to new home construction.
Firefighters say sprinklers are 96 percent effective in confining or extinguishing fires.
Fire sprinklers have been required in businesses and schools for decades.
“We have virtually zero loss of human life in buildings that are equipped with working sprinklers and a working smoke alarm, “said Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen.
And now they’ll be required in some new homes too.
“Homes over 4,500 square feet will have this littledevice,” Esbensen said. “It’s 1.35 cents a square foot, about one percent of the cost of a new home.”
St. Paul firefighters used this demo to drive their point home that sprinklers save lives.
One room has fire sprinklers, the other doesn’t. The room without them is set on fire first.
It takes four minutes for a flashover to occur, temperatures reach 2,000 degrees. Thick, black smoke can keep anyone from getting out alive.
The St. Paul Fire Department has so much confidence in sprinklers that its chief sits inside the room equipped with sprinklers while it is set on fire.
At 135 degrees, or 1 minute and 15 seconds into the fire, sprinklers come on and put the flames out.
But not everyone believes new homes need them.
“This is really going to impact people’s ability to buy the homes of their dreams,” said Shawn Nelson, president of the Builder Association of the Twin Cities.
Nelson says the extra money to install sprinklers will slow up home construction and keep some from building.
“For every thousand dollars you raise the price of a home in the Twin Cities market, 2,000 families can’t afford that home,” Nelson said.
Homes that have sprinklers typically get a 10 percent discount on homeowners insurance.
The new codes begin Jan. 1.
Officials say they want to see how this goes before they’ll consider sprinkler requirements in smaller homes.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Despite Rules, U.S. Nursing Homes Still Lack Fire Sprinklers



Tens of thousands of the country's most vulnerable people are living in nursing homes without adequate sprinklers or that are missing them altogether, according to government data.
Despite a history of deadly nursing home fires and a five-year lead-up to an August 2013 deadline to install sprinklers, 385 facilities in 39 states fail to meet requirements set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency whose duties include regulating nursing homes. Together, those facilities are licensed to house more than 52,000 people, according to data from the agency known as CMS.
Forty-four of the homes have no sprinklers at all.
"That is intolerable in this day and age," said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, which advocates for nursing home residents. "It's not like they don't have money to put these systems in. They have the money. They just choose not to do so."
CMS, which had warned last year it would not grant extensions to the sprinkler rules, said 97 percent of facilities meet requirements, which are basic fire-safety tools in many structures, but especially important in nursing homes where residents may be unable to quickly evacuate.
"CMS and states are actively engaging with the rest of the facilities to verify their compliance with this regulation and will take appropriate actions for noncompliance to ensure the safety of residents," the agency said in a statement to The Associated Press.
There have been numerous deadly nursing homes fires over the past century, but it wasn't until 2003 that CMS has required sprinklers in newly constructed facilities. That year, two blazes — at Greenwood Health Center in Hartford, Connecticut, where 16 people were killed, and NHC Healthcare Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where 15 were killed — refocused attention on fire safety in nursing homes. Neither of those buildings had automatic sprinkler systems, raising the issue of whether federal rules should require that older facilities be retrofitted.
Five years later, in 2008, CMS did issue that requirement, giving homes another five years to comply.
States have sometimes strengthened their own fire-safety laws, particularly if they experienced a nursing home tragedy, as Tennessee did after the Nashville fire. No Tennessee homes show up on the CMS list of offenders.
David Randolph Smith, an attorney who represented the families of numerous victims in the NHC blaze, said he took for granted that facilities around the country were also in compliance.
"That's really quite shocking," he said. "Lots of things catch on fire in these buildings. Some of them are so old that they have polyurethane insulation. They're tinder boxes in many cases."
However, there has been progress since December, when CMS said 714 homes were not in compliance. An analysis of ownership data shows there are currently 204 for-profit facilities failing to meet sprinkler rules; 145 nonprofits; and 36 run by local and state governments.
Sprinkler costs in nursing homes vary widely. After the 2003 Greenwood fire, officials in Connecticut estimated the average cost of upgrading facilities that were partially equipped with sprinklers at $270,000. The average for nursing homes with no system in place was $363,000.
In older buildings it can be a more complicated job, which could include cutting through walls, dealing with asbestos-encased pipes and managing original layouts not designed for such modifications. Tom Burke, a spokesman for the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said though some facilities may have encountered physical barriers to installing sprinklers, across the larger industry fire-safety measures have been "steadfastly supported" and adequate sprinklers have been installed.
"Its value as a safety and patient safety feature is undisputed," he said.
Some facilities on the list of noncompliant homes say they have met the requirements and weren't sure why they were cited. CMS said the list was accurate as of July, but some facilities may not have been surveyed since meeting compliance. Surveys generally happen annually, so facilities that have added sprinklers could still be on the list if the modifications weren't completed before their last inspection.
For those who remain out of compliance, CMS said it could take a variety of enforcement actions, including denying payment and terminating a facility's provider agreement. A small number of the noncompliant facilities may be granted extensions for extenuating circumstances, such as if they are building a replacement to their current structure or undergoing major renovations.
A 2004 Government Accountability Office report noted no facility fully equipped with sprinklers had ever had a multiple-casualty fire. Still, focused on medical care and other daily concerns, many incoming residents and their families never give it any thought.
June Liccione, of New Rochelle, New York, oversaw her mother's care before her death several years ago. She went in and out of nursing homes as her health declined due to diabetes. At least two of the homes she resided in are among those not meeting sprinkler rules, but Liccione said she was so worried about her mother being fed, properly medicated and getting the care of good nurses, she didn't even think about it.
"There were so many other things to worry about," she said, "I didn't worry about a fire."
Sedensky reported from West Palm Beach, Fla. Follow him on Twitter at .