March 20, 2023

Common Voices

Fire is a hungry animal with a ferocious appetite that does not discriminate against what it consumes. Fire should be everyone’s fight. What we need is a group of passionate people that are determined to stand up to fire, and fight for a safer America. A coalition that serves as an advocacy group for victims of fire and family members of victims of fire. Thankfully there is a group that does just that and more, and that group is called Common Voices. Common Voices is an Advocates’ Coalition determined to create a “Fire Safe America”. Their vision is to turn tragedy into advocacy.


In 2007 The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) held a meeting in New Mexico for a focus group of fire safety advocates. The result of that meeting was the birth of the organization known today as Common Voices. Common Voices was formed to deliver the message that “Fire Sprinklers Save Lives”. Since 2007 Common Voices has launched several public education programs to educate those that have not been affected by fire in the hopes to bring light and energy to the need for better fire protection in the country. The coalition does public appearances and speaks to groups about their personal loss and how it could have been prevented by fire sprinklers. They also have a heavy social media presence and have been in the mainstream news on several occasions. Each advocate has their own unique story to tell about tragedy and loss. Some were victims themselves, and others loss loved ones close to them in fires. In 20225, Common Voices launched an initiative to record the stories of all their advocates. Common Voices said, “the dream/plan is to have these stories provide the inspiration for a streaming service to create a Doc-u-series and/or a documentary called “The Truth Burns.” We believe that these stories are courageous, and that they can make a difference and prevent others from suffering similar tragedies. We hope you will join us in our efforts, share the links via all social media platforms, join our coalition with a donation. Working together, we can save lives, and we thank you for believing in our cause, supporting our advocates, and joining our movement for a Fire Safe America.” The Truth Burns – Common Voices (fireadvocates.org)


Fire sprinklers are a life saving device that is often overlooked or deemed to be a non-essential part of the building process. As Common Voices points out, fire sprinklers save lives. For those not familiar with fire sprinklers, here is a rundown: fire sprinklers buy the homeowner time, time buys life. In short, fire is very fast, would you have enough time to escape a home fire? A house fire can become deadly in as little as two minutes. Between three to five minutes the fire can flashover. Flashover is when the fire becomes so developed and hot that all the contents and smoke in the room become the same temperature that everything erupts into fire at the same time by way of a violent flashover. When flashover occurs, no one survives. Fires burn quickly and are more deadly today because of what we have in our homes as well as the lightweight construction that makes up our homes. Our furniture and belongings are made of resin-based plastics and synthetics that make fire burn hotter and faster creating 200% more toxic smoke then home fires from our grandparent’s era. In a home fire you have less than two minutes to escape before the house will be consumed by smoke. If the smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night, would you have enough time to escape? If there were small children or older adults with disabilities, could they get out on their own in time?


Home fire sprinklers are designed for one purpose, and that is to control the fire to buy time for the homeowners to get out safely. A fire sprinkler can control a fire in as little as a minute and a half. Only the sprinkler head closest to the fire activates. That stops the fire and smoke from spreading. Fire sprinklers work automatically and immediately and are only activated by heat, not smoke. It’s like having a firefighter on duty in your home 24 hours a day. The National Fire Protection Association document NFPA 13D spells out the criteria of what a residential fire sprinkler system needs to be able to do. The system is only required to protect occupied spaces in the home. An occupied space can include a living room, bedroom, kitchen and hallways or any common space that is typically occupied by a resident. NFPA 13D specifically applies to one- and two-family homes, manufactured homes, and town houses with the sole mission of life safety. The fire sprinkler system must be able to support up to two fire sprinkler heads flowing water at one time and be able to do so for a minimum of ten minutes. There are many different styles and applications of fire sprinklers that fit any need there may be. Each sprinkler has its own temperature sensitive part. This is what holds back the water. If a fire starts, the high heat from it causes that temperature sensitive part to break open, thus releasing the water onto the fire. For a home fire sprinkler, the sprinkler head will typically open between 135 degrees and 165 degrees. In most fires in sprinklered homes, just one sprinkler head is enough to control the fire. As stated above, the movies have lied to us all, only the sprinkler head closest to the fire will activate, not all the sprinkler heads in the home. Also, a fire sprinkler will not cause as much water damage we are led to believe. A Residential fire sprinkler will flow approximately 10-26 gallons of water a minute, which is 1/10th of what a fire hose would flow into the home.


Today’s homeowners are safety conscious and want to protect their families and pets. 74% of homeowners say they are more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers. Interested in learning more about fire sprinklers for your home? Visit the National Fire Sprinkler Association at Find a Contractor – NJFSAB & PenJerDel (New Jersey), & Pennsylvania Contractors – NJFSAB & PenJerDel (Pennsylvania) and we will be happy to put you in touch with a local fire sprinkler contractor. A local fire sprinkler contractor will be able to answer all your questions and afford you the opportunity to protect those you cherish by outfitting your residence with a home fire sprinkler system. If you or a loved one has suffered loss and tragedy as a result of a fire, you can get in touch with Common Voices to tell your story. They can be reached at Contact Us – Common Voices (fireadvocates.org) .


*Self-Preservation is a Basic Instinct. Common Voices advocates set the stage for why a focus on the impact of fire is worth a glance. Pause and think about our instinct to survive and ask yourself why do we become complacent when it comes to fire safety? The myth “it’ll never happen to me”….sometimes, the truth burns. Fire is Everyone’s Fight – Common Voices.

March 20, 2023

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