Why does Home Fire Sprinkler Week exist and why does it make a difference?
The week of May 19-25 marks another Home Fire Sprinkler Week. Around the country, numerous coalitions, fire departments, and professional organizations will be conducting live burns to show the effectiveness of sprinklers. For many of the homeowners, this will be their first time hearing about home fire sprinklers as an option, and they will no doubt have questions about how sprinklers are installed and maintained, and why there is such a thing as Home Fire Sprinkler Week in the first place.
Above all else, homeowners should understand the following two things: 1.) fire sprinklers react to heat not smoke, and 2.) fire sprinklers only go off one at a time. If more homeowners knew these two facts, we would no doubt see more sprinklers installed in homes. Beyond these two facts, however, there is still much homeowners should know about sprinklers.
By far the most important question a homeowner should ask when having a sprinkler system installed is who is doing the work. The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB) recommends using a fully certified and insured sprinkler fitter contractor when having a system installed. A list of contractors in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania can be found here.
After a contractor installs a residential fire sprinkler system the NJFSAB recommends an annual inspection of the system. Many contractors that install fire sprinkler systems will also inspect them in accordance with the locally adopted model code.
Fire sprinkler systems are easy to install in new construction, and there are many qualified and skilled contractors, so why do we see so few home fire sprinklers systems? Well, for years fire sprinkler systems were only marketed towards business owners as a means to protect their investments. As the years went on, many started to realize the life safety potential of fire sprinklers. With the introduction of the 13R and 13D systems, there has been an increase of fire sprinkler installations in apartments, townhouses and one- and two-family homes, and—as a result—a marked decrease in fire deaths in the areas these systems are installed. While sprinkler systems proved wildly successful in homes, their presence was limited to certain communities where they were mandated. Fire protection professionals, knowing the true potential of these systems, decided to make a concerted effort to promote sprinklers across the country.
Enter Home Fire Sprinkler Week, a week-long initiative promoted by the National Fire Protection Association and the National Fire Sprinkler Association, with help from hundreds of fire departments, code officials, and other professionals to advocate for fire sprinklers in homes. This initiative, which grew from Home Fire Sprinkler Day, promotes sprinklers through side-by-side burns and public and fire department education. This grassroots campaign sees substantial coverage from media outlets throughout the country and prompts elected officials to sponsor legislation that advances home fire sprinklers and protect legislation where fire sprinklers are already required.
On behalf of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, PenJerDel Chapter and the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, we invite you and your family to utilize us a free resource for any fire protection questions you may have after Home Fire Sprinkler Week. Additionally, we encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to ask them to advocate further for legislation that advances life safety systems in your community.
To learn more about fire sprinkler systems, or to book a demonstration at your community, contact the NJFSAB online or call 866-226-6006.