Friday, October 28, 2016

Jonathan Offord wins national fire sprinkler competition


  • The competition began June 11 with 140 apprentices sitting for a written examination
  • The top seven apprentices won expense-paid trips to compete in the national competition
  • AFSA's Annual National Apprentice Competition was created to promote apprentice training and give recognition to the apprentices
Front Row (LtoR): Apprentice Competition Chairman Don Kaufman, Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, New Mexico; John Cowger, Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota; Logan Moser, Mutual Sprinklers, Tyler, Texas; Donald Stone, Western Fire Protection, Inc., Poway, California. Back Row (LtoR): Thomas Adams, J.G. Tate Fire Protection Systems, Poway, California; Joseph Mientkiewicz, SimplexGrinnell, Rochester, New York;  Gregory Schneider, Superior Fire Protection, Tulsa, Oklahoma;  Jonathan Offord, Commonwealth Fire Protection, Leola, Pennsylvania.
DALLAS, TX - Jonathan Offord, a fire sprinkler fitter apprentice with Commonwealth Fire Protection inLeola, Pennsylvania, took first place and a $5,000 cash prize at the American Fire Sprinkler Association's (AFSA) 23rd Annual National Apprentice Competition. The contest was a featured event during AFSA's 30th Annual Convention & Exhibition, A Grand Ole Opportunity: AFSA in Nashville, held September 14-17 in Nashville, Tennessee. More than 1,200 attendees watched as seven apprentices constructed and pressure-tested a miniature sprinkler system in the jam-packed exhibition hall.
The competition began June 11 with 140 apprentices sitting for a written examination proctored at testing sites throughout the United States. The top seven apprentices won expense-paid trips to compete in the national competition, held during AFSA's Annual Convention & Exhibition. During the competition, participants took another, more thorough written examination and then installed a steel and CPVC sprinkler system. The systems are pressure-tested and participants were graded on accuracy, craftsmanship and safety.
Logan Moser with Mutual Sprinklers in Tyler, Texas won second place and a $3,000 cash prize and Joseph Mientkiewicz with SimplexGrinnell in Rochester, New York took third place and a $2,000 prize. Honorable mentions and $1,000 prizes were awarded to: Thomas Adams, J.G. Tate Fire Protection Systems, Poway, California; John Cowger, Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota; Gregory Schneider, Superior Fire Protection, Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Donald Stone, Western Fire Protection, Inc., Poway, California. Competition winners also received a commemorative plaque, cash prizes and tools.
Started in 1994 by the late Robert L. (Bob) McCullough, then chairman of the Education & Apprenticeship Committee, AFSA's Annual National Apprentice Competition was created to promote apprentice training and give recognition to the apprentices who are actively enrolled in the AFSA Apprenticeship Program. Over 20 years later, the competition continues to bring fire sprinkler apprentices from AFSA local chapter and member training programs from all corners of United States together in the association's foremost showcase of excellence in training among future industry leaders. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How a sprinkler system can save your life during a house fire

from wtnh

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– We’ve got your back on keeping safe at home in case of a fire. It’s National Fire Prevention Week and Tuesday West Haven firefighters and students team up to show just how fast a fire can spread.
The West Haven fire marshal is trying to educate people about the importance of fire sprinklers in the home. As part of an educational program, Tuesday there will be a live, side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstration. At West Haven High School, students built the model display homes. One has fire sprinklers. Both will be put to the test.
Firefighters want to show people how quickly fire spreads in today’s new homes and how quickly home fire sprinklers can extinguish fires. Fire Marshal, Keith Flood says he wants future builders to understand the need for fire sprinklers in homes.
“With a smoke detector alone you have a fifty percent chance of surviving a house fire. With a smoke detector and a sprinkler system you have an 80 percent chance. So there’s a big difference in there of getting out of a home alive with a sprinkler system versus just a smoke alarm,” said Flood.
Flood says fire sprinklers react quickly, he says sprinklers can dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire. Flood says people should take advantage of life saving technology. He wants sprinklers to be required in every new construction.
Every home can have fire sprinklers installed. And if you’re buying a home and it’s being built from the ground up, ask the builder about installing a sprinkler system inside your home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fire sprinkler helps control structure fire caused by cigarette


, Reno Gazette-Journal4:12 p.m. PDT July 18, 2016

The Reno Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 895 Kuenzil Street at 3:43 a.m.
The fire started in a third floor apartment from a carelessly discarded cigarette. The fire caused moderate fire damage but was contained to the living area by an activated fire system.
The two sleeping occupants who were home at the time of the fire escaped without injury. 14 tenants of the apartment complex were temporarily relocated by the American Red Cross.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, if you have a fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by 82 percent when fire sprinklers are present. Statistics show fire sprinklers can stop a fire in less than 90 seconds.
Although there were no injuries reported on this incident, The Reno Fire Department would like to remind everyone smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States, and to take necessary safety precautions.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Christie extinguished legislation requiring life-saving fire sprinklers in new homes

from njtoday

For more than 20 years, states have quickly adopted most building safety features blessed by the Washington-based nonprofit that recommends minimum codes for the nation but that’s not what happened after the International Code Council decided in 2008 that every new American home should have fire sprinklers.

Housing industry trade groups poured money into lobbying and political contributions. Their well-to-do members strong-armed local officials or dazzled them with hometown projects.
Their efforts set out a playbook for how influential business interests are winning in state capitals across the country. The housing industry spent more than $517 million on state politics in the last decade, second only to lawyers, according to numbers compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

To date, industry groups have helped block efforts to make sprinkler systems mandatory in new homes in at least 25 states. Only California and Maryland, along with dozens of cities, have adopted the International Code Council’s recommendation and required the devices.
ProPublica published a detailed investigation of how the fight played out in South Carolina.
The New Jersey legislature passed bills requiring residential sprinklers in 2014 and 2015, both times with roughly 60 percent majorities in each chamber.

The first time Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill by not signing it. The next time, he issued a conditional veto, stripping the legislation of its central component, the mandate.
The author of both measures, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat from Sayreville, headed up the transportation committee investigating the governor’s involvement in the Fort Lee lane closure scandal.

After Christie blocked his bill a second time, Wisniewski said he couldn’t “help but wonder if he burned the bill because he doesn’t like the sponsor.”
Wisniewski called the veto by Christie, who raised money from housing industry donors both as a candidate and head of the Republican Governors Association, “a slap in the face to a community of public safety officials who have endorsed, supported and fought for this legislation.”

In his veto message, Christie said he rejected adding thousands of dollars to the cost of new homes as “citizens continue the struggle to rebuild their lives after Superstorm Sandy.”
He did, however, request that state officials review the cost of requiring sprinklers in townhomes, where fires can more easily jump from one unit to the next.

His spokesman denied that any animosity between the governor and the bill’s sponsor played a role in the veto, although it was Wisniewski who led the investigation into Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, which tanked his presidential ambitions.

In 2015, the state’s builders and Realtors spent almost $748,000 lobbying — which together ranks them sixth in spending.

Monday, May 16, 2016

NDP embark on speedy agenda to install fire sprinklers in seniors lodges

Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson, centre, cuts the ribbon at the opening of Kingsland Terrace in Calgary on April 29, 2016. SUPPLIED / POSTMEDIA
The province will install fire-suppression sprinklers in 50 prioritized government-owned seniors lodges this year and another 50 over the two following years, Seniors Minister Lori Sigurdson vowed Tuesday.
The NDP government has allocated $30 million this year and another $30 million over the next five years to install sprinkler systems in government-owned seniors lodges and continuing-care facilities deemed at highest risk.
“We’re confident we’ll get it done,” Sigurdson said in an interview. “We want to move quickly on this. The safety of seniors is a priority for this government.”
She said many of the province’s 6,600 seniors lodges and continuing-care facilities were built in the 1960s and ’70s before the building code required the installation of sprinkler systems.
“We are in tough economic times, but I think this is a good indication of what is important to us,” Sigurdson said. “We are supporting seniors and making sure they are safe.”
Concerns were raised about the safety of seniors residences after a fire at a Quebec seniors lodge killed 32 elderly residents in 2014.
Sprinklers installed in the living units of seniors facilities help suppress fires and give seniors with mobility issues more time to evacuate.
Most of the 24,000 seniors housing units in Alberta also aren’t fully equipped with fire suppression sprinkler systems because they weren’t required under the building code until 1990.
While the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have made sprinklers mandatory in all seniors facilities — government and non-government — Alberta has made no move to require privately operated facilities built before 1990 to install them.
“We’re focused right now on ensuring we meet timelines to upgrade the identified facilities, but after that’s complete we’ll assess to see what next steps we need to take,” Sigurdson said.
Ministry spokesman Timothy Chu said the government is focusing on facilities deemed most in need based partly on the mobility of senior residents as well as the facility’s proximity to fire departments.
Chu said there have been many challenges in installing the sprinkler systems in older facilities in small communities.
There are no architectural drawings or floor plans for some buildings, and some facilities don’t have sufficient water pressure, he said.
“A lot of these facilities . . . have asbestos and lead in them, so contractors have to deal with that before being able to do a lot of these renovations,” he added.
The government has created a performance measure in its three-year ministry business plan that calls for 65 per cent of the 100 top-priority seniors lodges to be equipped with sprinkler systems by the end of this fiscal year, 80 per cent by the end of the following year and 100 per cent by 2018-19. 
“When appropriate fire and safety mechanisms exist within facilities, residents’ safety and survival is much improved,” says the document.
Liberal Leader David Swann applauded the government’s commitment to protect seniors.
“I am very pleased they are moving ahead with it,” he said. “It’s an essential part of taking care of our seniors and it’s a government responsibility, especially in publicly funded homes, to make sure that those are in place as quickly as possible.”
PC Leader Ric McIver noted that his government launched the sprinkler installation program, but he said there’s an onus on the management and staff of the facilities to make sure seniors are safe.
“For the homes that are waiting for the fire suppression systems, I am hopeful that the management and staff there are prepared to assist seniors as required if something occurs before the systems are in place,” he said.
McIver said he hoped extra staff training and fire preparation is ongoing “because seniors in care deserve to be protected.” 
The ministry business plan states that only 33 per cent of 37,000 units of provincial housing stock is in good condition, with 62 per cent in fair condition and five per cent in poor condition.
Sigurdson said the province is striving to address $1 billion in deferred maintenance in the housing stock, which she said was inherited from the previous government. 
“Our government is working very hard to close that gap and make sure that Albertans have safe and affordable accommodation,” she said.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Debate requiring sprinklers in new homes continues


  • Debate requiring sprinklers in new homes continues

    Bill would allow owners to opt out

    Published  8:06 AM EST Jan 20, 2016

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. —A year after six members of a family were killed in an Annapolis-area mansion fire, lawmakers in the General Assembly are debating sprinklers in new home construction.
    The heart of the issue is should sprinklers be a requirement for all new homes in Maryland? An Eastern Shore lawmaker said the current mandate is hurting the housing economy.
    On Jan. 19, 2015, a set of grandparents, Don and Sandra Pyle and four of their grandchildren died in a massive fire in a mansion that had state-of-the-art smoke alarms. but had no sprinklers inside the home.
    When the Pyles received permits for the custom-built home. sprinklers were not required for new homes in Anne Arundel County. State fire officials said sprinklers could have given the family a chance to survive. .
    "My life has changed forever, but my brother and my sister-in-law and the kids don't want us sitting around crying," Sher Grogg, Don Pyle's sister said.
    Grogg said that she is still grieving, but now she's also fighting to keep a law on the books that requires sprinklers in all new Maryland homes.
    A new bill threatens to drop the statewide mandate and let counties allow homeowners to opt out.
    "Taking away the fire sprinklers is like taking away the airbag to me," Grogg said. "You know you have the seatbelt but you don't have the airbag."
    Del. Chris Adams, an Eastern Shore Republican, is sponsoring the county opt out bill. Adams, who is also a real estate developer, said that the sprinkler mandate has had a devastating impact on the rate of new home construction in his district.
    Adams said the added expense on the Eastern Shore comes in part because the water pressure and infrastructure is not always in place in the more rural parts of the state. His bill requires builders to tell homeowners about the costs and benefits of sprinklers.
    "Upon request of the buyer, the builder would install sprinklers in the home. As a result, these decisions will be made by consumer choice and not government mandate," Adams said in a statement.
    Grogg says she does not want families choosing between money and their safety.
    "The cost of a life is priceless," Grogg said. "You can lose furniture, you can lose belongings, but once a life is gone, it's gone."
    State fire officials said that the average cost to install sprinklers in Maryland is $1.35 a square foot, which for a 30-year mortgage is $30 more a month.
    But, Adams said those numbers are low for the Eastern Shore, adding that sprinklers can add $6,000 to the price of a home and that's pricing people out of homes