AUTHOR: Lorraine Carli

A family sitting on a bed
Activated sprinkler

Home Fire Sprinkler Week Kicks off with a Focus on Protection: Fire is Fast, Sprinklers are Faster

Today’s Home Fire Sprinkler Week theme is Fire is Fast, Sprinklers are Faster. A home fire can become deadly in just two minutes or less – that’s fast! Homes are filled with synthetic furnishings that burn hotter and faster than natural materials, producing highly toxic smoke. New homes are most commonly built with unprotected lightweight wood construction, and designed with large, open spaces - a deadly combination. Sprinklers are faster because they work automatically, before the fire becomes deadly. This week, we are building awareness about both these things - how fast a home fire actually is and how fast fire sprinklers are at stopping a fire. High heat from a fire activates the closest sprinkler, putting water on the fire. In the majority of home fires, only one sprinkler activates, controlling and often putting out the fire. In a recent survey of homeowners, 80 percent said they wanted home fire sprinklers once they learned how they work. Understanding these facts is key to demand and why we are raising awareness this week. Today’s messages feature the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s (HFSC) virtual reality video that was created from actual home fire flashover and fire sprinkler activation footage. This immersive experience is memorable. With user-controlled 360-degree, full-room views, viewers experience the fires in real time, as if they are actually in the room, seeing the fires and sprinkler activation from any angle. Home Fire Sprinkler Week is an excellent time to increase awareness in your community that Fire is Fast, Sprinklers Are Faster, and is co-hosted by HFSC and NFPA.  Please share these messages today. For more information on today’s theme and resources to share, visit the HFSC website.

Join in this May to Improve Home Fire Safety During the Fifth Annual Home Fire Sprinkler Week

You know something that too many people in your jurisdiction just don’t realize – unprotected home fires burn hotter than ever today and become deadly in just two minutes or less. That risk isn’t only to civilians; responding firefighters face dangers ranging from apparatus transport to suppression to fire ground toxic exposures. In short, home fires present a costly, dangerous challenge in every community. You can help communicate about these dangers and their remedy by joining in for Home Fire Sprinkler Week, May 15-21, 2022. The Week is co-hosted by the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative project and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). You’ll be teaming up with our organizations as well as fire departments, other safety advocates and sprinkler industry representatives from across North America. Together, we will roll out new online digital tools and messaging to ensure the life safety benefits of installed home fire sprinklers receive the kind of public awareness they deserve.   Our organizations established this week because more than three-quarters of all civilian fire deaths occur in home fires. The vast majority of these fatal fires are preventable and their causes are largely the same as they have been for many years. That stubborn and needless challenge is being faced by the fire service in virtually every community. The free content being shared during Home Fire Sprinkler Week will help departments of any size and type achieve their community risk reduction goals through local education and outreach. Participation in this Week is more important than ever. Consumers as well as local officials and others still fall victim to the myth that new homes don’t burn. But buying in to that fallacy is jeopardizing opportunities for greater public safety. In most regions, new-home construction is brisk, with an estimated one million new-home completions anticipated this year. Without improved public awareness, outreach to local decision-makers and increased public education, only a fraction of them will be protected with the technology proven to prevent injuries and save lives. Please mark your calendar, and plan to join us this May to help fill the digital world with fire safety facts over five days. I think you’ll be pleased with the array of powerful educational tools on the dedicated Home Fire Sprinkler Week Website. Every day features a different theme along with corresponding digital content and messaging. You choose which to use, or use them all! I’ll be telling you more about these important topics each day of Home Fire Sprinkler Week. But here’s a sneak preview of what you can expect: HFSC’s exciting new virtual reality video resources, other videos, animations and graphic art, and messaging that corresponds to daily themes. All the online content is free to you and ready to go at a click. They’ve been designed for easy sharing so you can make your support of home fire sprinklers viral through your social media, email, and website. If you’re planning public outreach, the free materials on the Website will also help you promote, organize, and reinforce your event education. Whether virtual or in-person, you can customize the digital tools for your stakeholders, homebuilders, consumers, and others, and potentially reach new audiences important to your CRR work. I look forward to having you on the team!

Saving Lives and Protecting the Earth - One Home at a Time

This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” While it might not seem like it at first glance, there is symmetry with this theme and the work of fire and life safety advocates. We often think locally; but our work to protect the public and first responders is clearly global. Through code and standard development and use, educational outreach, and safety advocacy, our work is, in fact, an investment in the planet. Without even counting the costs of attending to fire injuries and fatalities, every fire that is prevented means less smoke, polluted air and water; it means less destroyed property and fewer damaged furnishings that end up in landfills. But every unwanted fire can’t be prevented, so our work in making structures safer if fire strikes is absolutely critical. Because three-quarters of civilian fire deaths occur in homes, much of our energy rightfully goes to these structures. And with new-home construction flourishing in most states, new one- and two-family homes present a crucial opportunity for fire sprinkler installation. When building a new home, there is one investment that goes beyond any other. Installed home fire sprinklers protect the people who live in the home, responding firefighters, property and valuables, and the environment. Admittedly, fire sprinklers as a green building resource is a different way to think about a life safety system. But a green home just isn’t legitimately green without fire sprinklers. A new construction home built with sustainable materials, energy efficient features and smart devices falls short of protecting our environment if it catches fire and is not protected with installed home fire sprinklers. Unprotected homes burn fast. From building materials to the contents in them, these fires turn deadly in a heartbeat. Even recycled products and our furniture are made of synthetic products that produce toxic smoke and burn hotter and faster than natural materials. Not only can a house fire today become deadly in as little as two minutes, it produces toxins that can harm the health of responding firefighters, pollute the air and our water supply and create tons of waste. Protecting new homes with fire sprinklers is the solution. It is the best technology to protect homes and residents, and our planet. In 2010, FM Global partnered with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to conduct full-scale fire tests comparing the environmental impact of sprinklered and non-sprinklered home fires. Last year, FM Global reaffirmed this groundbreaking work showing that a home fire with installed sprinklers cut greenhouse gas emissions by 97.8%. Water usage to fight the fires was reduced between 50% and 91%. Fewer persistent pollutants, such as heavy metals, were found in sprinkler wastewater versus fire hose water. The high pH level and pollutant load of wastewater from the fire fought with fire hoses is an environmental concern. In its new Environmental Impact of Residential Fires Review, FM Global reviewed the fire losses in the United States for the period of 2009 through 2019. During this period, more than 1.8 billion pounds of greenhouse gases had been released into the environment due to fires in homes that were not protected with fire sprinklers. It was estimated that more than 9.5 billion gallons of water was used to extinguish these fires – contaminated water that in most cases is not captured or treated and is discharged into the soil or storm drains. For decades now, fire and life safety advocates have been calling for fire sprinkler protection in homes. FM Global’s research supports this call to action and proves that a home protected with home fire sprinklers is not just a good investment to protect residents, firefighters and our belongings; it is also a good investment in our planet. For more information and to download the report, visit the HFSC website.

2022 NFPA 13D Annex B includes Incentives for Builders, Developers, and Communities

Regardless of whether fire sprinklers are mandated in new one- or two-family dwellings by the use of a code or ordinance, or if sprinklers are installed voluntarily by the developer, builder or homeowner, the system should be installed according to NFPA 13D, the standard for one- and two-family dwellings and manufactured homes. The intent of NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, is to provide an affordable sprinkler system in homes while maintaining a high level of life safety. NFPA 13D is intended to prevent injury and life loss. It requires sprinklers to be installed in living areas, sprinklers are not required in smaller bathrooms or closets, pantries, garages or carports, attached open structures, attics, and other concealed non-living spaces. The standard requires at least 10 minutes of sprinkler water on the fire in its initial stage of development. That controls the fire early, giving residents the time to safely escape and the fire department time to respond. A typical home fire will be controlled and may even be extinguished by the time the fire department arrives. NFPA 13D has been around for more than 45 years and is constantly being reviewed, tweaked, and republished to reflect the latest in technology and our experiences with fires. The 2022 Edition contains an important new feature, Annex B, to provide the fire service and other fire sprinkler advocates with informative tools to expand the use of installed sprinklers in new homes. Annex B contains valuable resources for helping advocates educate planning officials, community leaders, developers, builders, and consumers about the value of home fire sprinklers in new homes.  However, like all annexes within NFPA standards, Annex B in NFPA 13D is not a mandatory part of the standard and it would not be included as part of any incorporation by reference within a statewide code or local ordinance.    Annex B contains six important sections: Community process and infrastructure Site planning and development Building construction Community risk reduction Environmental stewardship Sustainability of homes and affordable housing While the fire service and fire sprinkler advocates will recognize most, if not all, of the key points, resources and references contained within Annex B, this is the first time all this valuable information has been gathered and categorized in a single document.  The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) offers free resources based on the information in Annex B, that AHJs can use to educate stakeholders involved in new home developments. Visit for more information. More information and free access to view NFPA 13D 2022 Edition can be found at
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