Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on March 1, 2018.

Collective Action

A nationwide event in May aims to raise awareness of home fire sprinklers


On average, seven people a day die in home fires in the United States. Home fire sprinklers have been proven to reduce the risk of dying in such a fire by 80 percent, yet legislative barriers and a lack of knowledge surrounding the technology have limited their use.

On May 19, NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative (FSI) and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) hope to spread positive messages about home fire sprinklers to lawmakers, the media, and the general public throughout the country­—and in parts of Canada—during the first-ever Home Fire Sprinkler Day.

“The alarming number of home fire deaths and injuries each year should be on the radar of every decision maker and member of the media as well as the public,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, and HFSC’s president. “Through this event, we hope to illuminate the fire problem and its solution on a national scale. Fire sprinklers have been a U.S. model building code requirement since 2009, yet challenges to its adoption still exist. Taking action collectively will send a powerful message that fire sprinklers are widely accepted and must be embraced throughout North America.”

The main goal of the event is to initiate at least one live side-by-side burn demonstration in every state and raise awareness of home fire sprinklers in Canada, said Fred Durso, an NFPA communications manager who oversees FSI. The burns involve lighting mock rooms—one sprinklered, another unsprinklered—on fire to show the dramatic difference sprinklers make, and are one of the most effective advocacy tools, Durso said.

NFPA and HFSC are also providing suggestions for other events to promote home fire sprinklers, including having fire departments hold open houses featuring fire sprinkler information and displays, inviting the media to walk through a sprinklered home, spearheading social media campaigns, and more.

Durso also said anyone who is interested in participating in the event should contact their regional fire sprinkler coalition or start the planning process now. Learn how to take action at the Home Fire Sprinkler Day webpage.

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: NFPA