The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has been awarded a FY 2016 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. Funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the grant will underwrite a multifaceted national education program aimed at increasing home fire sprinkler installation in new homes.
For decades, homes have had the biggest share of the U.S. fire problem. Each day, an average of seven people die in home fires. Fifty-nine percent of firefighter fatalities at structure fires are in one- and two-family homes (NFPA).
“Home fires remain a national disaster, both for residents and first responders, and that loss has been staggering for too long,” said HFSC President Lorraine Carli. “Home fire sprinklers save lives but too few new homes are built with them. The grant makes it possible for HFSC to provide local decision-makers with a perceptive approach that will directly increase the number of homes protected by fire sprinklers.”
HFSC will lead the comprehensive program, partnering the fire service and local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) with homebuilders, developers and planning/zoning boards in more than 100 markets. The fire service and AHJs will be equipped with resources to communicate the need for fire sprinklers in new home
developments planned by developers and considered by the local boards. Trade ups (incentives offered by local officials in exchange for installing fire sprinklers) are the centerpiece of this new program.
“Although trade ups are working well in some jurisdictions, the concept is still new to most fire departments and AHJs,” said Carli. “Our program will educate about the value of using trade ups to achieve community risk reduction. We will supply free resources fire departments can use in any community to improve awareness and increase sprinkler installation.”
“Today’s fires are fast, becoming deadly in less than three minutes,” said Carli. “They present a range of injury and health hazards to firefighters, including exposure that can lead to cancer and other diseases. Fire sprinklers quickly control heat, smoke and flames, reducing responder exposure.
HFSC is working to increase awareness among the fire service of the unique protective benefits of home fire sprinklers –for residents and responders. This grant will go a long way in helping us further that work.”
HFSC will post new information, updates and resources about the grant activities at homefiresprinkler.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/hfscorg and on Twitter @HFSCorg. You can also follow HFSC activities on Pinterest at pinterest.com/hfsc and by joining HFSC’s networking group on LinkedIn.