Maine Fire Chief Receives National Award For Home Fire Sprinkler Advocacy

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition awarded Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre from the Gorham Maine Fire Department with the 2018 Bringing Safety Home Award.

The award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC’s home fire sprinkler educational materials and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to educate local officials as part of an effort to upgrade or pass new home fire sprinkler legislation.

Lefebvre has been a champion for the lifesaving benefits of sprinklers for more than 20 years. He was a pioneer in offering incentives in subdivisions as an alternative for fire ponds/dry hydrants and continued his staunch advocacy to make his community safer throughout his career. His work set the stage for the successful adoption of a town-wide ordinance for new homes, which passed in October of 2018 for sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.

He worked with the town council to prove the case that sprinklers are effective at saving lives, preventing injuries and property loss, holding workshops and providing information that garnered understanding and support that led to its passage. Since he began his efforts, more than 200 homes have been sprinklered in Gorham.

“Chief Lefebvre is an example of a growing cadre of local champions taking on the work to reduce loss from home fires by acting locally,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and HFSC president.

As the Bringing Safety Home Award recipient, Lefebvre was awarded a $1000 grant to further fire sprinkler advocacy and educational efforts in his community. Previous recipients have included members of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association who helped defeat a legislative bill that would have weakened Maryland’s statewide requirement for sprinklering new homes. Fire chiefs influential in passing fire sprinkler requirements in their town have also received this award.