Did you know that the majority of fire deaths in North American happen at home? Last year in New Jersey alone, 52 people lost their lives to home fires, and 22 have died in home fires since the first of this year.
Many of these tragic deaths may have been prevented if a fire sprinkler system had been installed in these homes.
Raising public awareness about this life-saving technology and breaking down the myths and legislative barriers that hinder the use of fire sprinklers in homes are the focus of National Home Fire Sprinkler Week May 19-25. This initiative is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition-Canada.
“Fire safety education, installing smoke detectors and following prevention tips to reduce the chance of fire breaking out are all important, but fire sprinklers offer one of the best front lines of defense against the devastating impact of home fires,” explained David Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB).
“Fire sprinklers react within minutes, dampening flames and giving families more time to escape safely. Sprinklers help control the spread of fire, so by the time the fire department arrives many fires are well contained,” stated Kurasz. “Research by the National Fire Protection Association has found that the risk of dying in a home fire decreases by about 85 percent if sprinklers are present, and the amount of damage to a home can be reduced by 70 percent.”
Newer homes burn faster and hotter than older homes due to modern lightweight construction building materials, open floor plans and synthetic furniture that is highly flammable and can release toxic smoke. This shortens escape time to 3-4 minutes and increases the danger to fire fighters.
Since 2009 the installation of fire sprinklers has been required for new construction of homes built per the International Residential Code, which the State of New Jersey adopts in an amended format.
“There is currently a bill in the assembly, the New Home Fire Safety Act (A3974), that would require the installation of fire suppression systems in new single and two-family homes during the construction of the home,” noted Kurasz. “The impact of this bill if passed would be instrumental to saving the lives of many New Jersey residents in the future.”
The barriers to passing legislation and for people installing sprinklers are often related to misconceptions or myths which can be quickly dispelled through education.
NJFSAB conducts hundreds of FREE Fire Safety and Burn Trailer Demonstrations for schools, community groups, youth organizations, and municipalities across the state each year.
“The burn demonstrations help people see first-hand how fire sprinklers work and how quickly and effectively they control fires. Education is really the key to being able to answer questions about fire sprinklers and help the public understand the benefits of having a home that is protected by fire sprinklers,” he added.
To learn more about the New Home Fire Safety Act visit https://www.stopfiresavelives.com/