NFPA Journal - March/April 2013 - (Page 36)
nfpa’s public education division
irst graf. I was a kid, travelhen
ing with my family on
some kind of road trip, I
often asked, “Are we there yet?” The
answer was usually, “Not yet.” The
same question can be asked about
the acceptable number of fire deaths
in the United States. And the answer
should be the same, as well.
In the late 1970s, about 6,000
people died in home fires each year.
Today, that number is around 2,600.
The number of people injured in
thE FaCEs OF FiRE stories
are varied, but the message
is not: home fire sprinklers
home fires has been cut from about
21,000 to 12,000 a year, with codes
and standards, public education,
this is a call-out.
and the widespread use of smoke
alarms all combining to reduce that
number. In 2012, a number of major
cities, including New York City and
Philadelphia, announced some of the
lowest numbers for fire fatalities since
they began keeping records. While
we have made great strides against
fire, however, there is more that can
NFPA launched the “Fire Sprinkler
Initiative: Bringing Safety Home”
project in 2009. Armed with compelling statistics and research reports
that show sprinklers are an effective,
inexpensive way to reduce the losses
associated with fire, we stepped up
our efforts to push for home fire
sprinklers as a requirement in all new
one- and two-family homes.
The facts are clear. Sprinklers
reduce civilian fire deaths by 83 per-
NFPA JOURNAL JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011
cent and reduce direct
property damage per fire
by 69 percent. Recent
research also shows that
sprinklers reduce civilian fire injury medical
costs by 53 percent and
are responsible for an
estimated 65 percent
reduction in fireground
injuries for firefighters.
Sprinklers cost about
$1.61 per sprinklered
square foot in new construction.
While the numbers
are key to making our
argument, there is also
ORIGINAL “FACES” Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. of Virginia,
top, and Princella Lee Bridges of South Carolina were two
another critical compoof the first people featured in Faces of Fire stories.
nent to this effort—the
stories of individuals who
have been affected by
fire. Every home fire has an impact on
Brower, Jr., of Loudoun County,
real people. They are the first respondVirginia. A home fire trapped
ers and occupants who die in those
four of Brower’s firefighters, serihomes, and their families and friends
ously injuring one. Most recently,
whose lives are forever changed. They
Sam Davis of Cape Coral, Florida,
are the burn survivors who must go
stepped forward to tell his story.
on. They are the community members
He is a successful builder who
whose neighborhoods are altered.
includes home fire sprinklers in
They are the building officials and
every new home he builds—not
water purveyors who deal with the
because he has to, but because he
rebuilding process in the wake of
knows that if even one life is saved
tragedy. They are the builders who
from a fire it will be worth it. The
recognize that sprinklers could have
stories vary, but the message does
saved much of what was lost. They are
not: Home fire sprinklers save lives
all the Faces of Fire.
and reduce property loss.
In 2010, NFPA added Faces of Fire
NFPA is looking for more Faces
to the Fire Sprinkler Initiative. Many
of Fire. If you know of one, conof those people have been featured
tact us at firesprinklerinitiative@
in stories and ads in NFPA Journal.
nfpa.org. We’re making progress,
One of the first to be profiled was
but we aren’t there yet.
Princella Lee Bridges of South Carolina, who was severely burned in a
lorraine carli is vice president
of nfpa’s communications division.
home fire. Another is Chief W. Keith
A fire safety progress check, and a call for new Faces of Fire
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - March/April 2013
NFPA Journal - March/April 2013
In a Flash
Cover Story: Storage Occupancies
Fifty Years of Smoke Detection
Fire Analysis + Research
NFPA Journal - March/April 2013