Local, national fire experts show need for home fire sprinklers
Demonstration in Plymouth, MA follows recent deaths of four area residents in house fires
After house fires killed four area residents in just the past three months, the Plymouth, Mass. Fire Department and national fire safety experts vividly showed the life-saving difference home fire sprinkler systems can make.
Plymouth fire officials joined the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and the National Fire Protection Association in a live demonstration of fire sprinklers this afternoon. The demonstration provided a graphic display of how quickly home fire sprinklers work to subdue heat, flames and smoke in a very dangerous situation.
Nearly 3,000 Americans die each year in house fires. It is estimated you could have as little as three minutes to escape a home fire should one occur.
"Sprinklers save lives," said G. Edward Bradley, Plymouth Fire Chief. "Frankly, we are seeing too many people die in residential fires in this area. Home fire sprinkler systems are the best protection you and your family can have to escape a fire in your home. This demonstration shows that quite clearly."
The demonstration included a side-by-side room display where sprinklers had been installed in only one of the rooms. The other room was not sprinklered. Both rooms were set on fire. Home fire sprinklers are designed to activate when a certain degree of heat increase is reached, so as the temperature in the display went up, the sprinklers went off. As seen in the demonstration, the fire in the sprinklered room was controlled quickly by overhead sprinklers. In contrast, the fire in the room without sprinklers burned out of control until the Plymouth Fire Department put out the fire. The fire and smoke damage in the spinklered room was significantly less than in the room without sprinklers. The demonstration was narrated by Ron Hazelton, a national home repair expert and spokesperson for the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Recounting a successful sprinkler save elsewhere in Massachusetts, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said, "Sprinklers are like having a firefighter in every room ready to put out the fire." With home fire sprinklers, not only can the lives of residents be saved, but the lives of the fire fighters who bravely step in to take control of the situation can be saved as well."
"We have long known the benefits of sprinklers in other types of buildings. It is time one and two family homes have that same level of protection," said Jim Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). "Statistics show that approximately 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in homes; however, when home fire sprinklers are present, the chances of dying in a house fire decrease by about 80 percent. That is why NFPA is so committed to home fire sprinkler requirements in all new one- and two-family construction. It's simply about saving lives."
Currently, all model building codes call for sprinklers in new construction of one- and two-family homes. Roughly 90 percent of the time, fires are contained by the activation of just one sprinkler. In homes where sprinklers are not present, the fire can burn for minutes, raging out of control, filling the home with toxic smoke and resulting in far greater losses. A recent report from NFPA shows that sprinklers can reduce the average property loss by 71 percent per fire.
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