“Sometimes people just need to see it to believe it,” says Sarah Kelly of WAFS. Many of our own team members had never seen the demonstration. That’s why the WAFS together with the Ocoee Fire Department intentionally ingnited two fires in front ofa live audience on October 25 in Ocoee, Florida. “There’s nothing like the heat and smoke of a real fire to help adults and children understand just how fast a home fire is,” says Wayne Gey, CEO of WAFS. “With our side-by-side comparison, we demonstrated both the danger of fire and the value of having a fire sprinkler system installed.” This dramatic, yet safe, form of education has become increasingly popular with fire departments across the country. Our team witnessed firsthand why a typical home fire becomes deadly in three minutes or less.
We built two structures to simulate the room and contents of a typical home. Each room contained common furnishings, window treatments and a working smoke alarm. Only one of the rooms contains a fire sprinkler.
“By providing this unique live fire comparison, people not only gain an appreciation for fire power; they also realize what an incredible advantage it is to have a fire sprinkler system installed if fire breaks out,” said Wayne Gey
Many people already understand how vital it is to have working smoke alarms to warn us of a fire. But home fire sprinklers are not as well known or understood. That’s one reason why the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) secured a federal Fire Prevention & Safety Grant to develop a free kit to help fire departments build and present side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations in their communities.
Following an emergency call, it takes 9-12 minutes, on average, for a fire department to arrive on the fire scene. By that time, a fire in an unsprinklered home will have spread, causing smoke and heat damage and threatening the lives of the residents. Local and national fire safety experts say widespread use of home fire sprinkler systems could save thousands of lives per year In a sprinklered home, the fire gets under control right away, limiting damage and protecting residents and first responders. Here are some other facts about home fire sprinkler systems:
• Fire sprinklers are supplied by household water – usually off the water main. Just like ordinary plumbing, sprinkler system piping is hidden behind walls and ceilings.
• The sprinklers are positioned along the piping and can be seen in ceilings or up high along certain walls.
• Sprinklers are activated only by the high temperature of a fire – typically between 135°-165°F.
• Burned toast or other smoke cannot set off a sprinkler; neither can a smoke alarm that activates.
• Sprinklers are designed to flow between 10-25 gallons of water per minute. That’s about 10-15 times less water flow than fire department hoses, and under far less pressure.
• By operating while a fire is still small, a sprinkler controls or extinguishes a fire, slowing the spread of poisonous smoke and deadly heat.
• That fast and effective action gives family members more time to get out safely, saving lives.
• And, the sprinkler confines the fire damage so that surrounding rooms are protected, saving valuables.
Visit HomeFireSprinkler.org to learn more about this life-saving technology and to see video clips and animations that answer common questions. You can even read about real-life fires where sprinklers saved lives. If you’re building a new home, renovating or thinking of buying, take a few minutes to learn how you can add this life-saving fire safety option.