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NIFSAB’s Tom Lia Now Blogging for NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative


Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), is now a contributing blogger for the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative. Lia will regularly post about the challenges and successes he experiences in Illinois. Here’s an excerpt of Tom’s first blog post: When I left the Orland Fire Protection District to take on a new endeavor at NIFSAB, there was no job description for me. In its meager beginnings, NIFSAB served...
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Building Safety Month Focuses on Fire Sprinkler Protection


This May, jurisdictions across the United States will celebrate advances in constructing safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient buildings and homes as part of the International Code Council‘s (ICC) national Building Safety Month. For the last 34 years, the Building Safety Month campaign has focused on improving public safety by increasing awareness about how building codes and code officials improve and protect the places where we live, learn, work, worship and play. The campaign has...
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NFSA Names Bob Tinucci as New Illinois Regional Manager

Bob Tinucci

Bob Tinucci accepted the position of Illinois Regional Manager for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) effective October 1, 2013. As of November, Tinucci fully completed the transition from fire chief at the Roselle Fire Department to his new NFSA position. Tinucci began his over 38-year fire protection career in 1974 as a firefighter with the Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District. Over the years, Tinucci worked his way up through the ranks to become Fire...
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Illinois Fire and Building Officials Meet to Strengthen Commitment to Home Fire Sprinkler Protection


Nearly 26 years since the Village of Long Grove enacted fire sprinkler requirements for new construction homes, Illinois now has 92 communities with such requirements. Many of those communities’ officials attended a special meeting at Lewis University’s Oak Brook campus this February. Local fire and building officials discussed their home fire sprinkler requirements and shared information about why those requirements play an important role in protecting their citizens and firefighters. They also heard from...
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Successful Activations (Jan/Feb/March 2014 Edition)

Successful Activations (Jan/Feb/March 2014 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.   February 2014   Northside College Prep High School Chicago Fire Department Fire sprinklers extinguished a fiery explosion in a cooking class in the high school, according to Chicago Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford. The fire occurred when students ignited a gas burner to heat hot chocolate. Although five students were injured in the initial explosion, the fire...
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Fire Sprinklers Extinguish Fire in Chicago High School Cooking Class, Highlighting the Importance of School Fire Safety

On February 19, a fiery explosion occurred during a demonstration in a cooking class at Northside College Prep High School in Chicago. The fire occurred when students ignited a gas burner to heat hot chocolate. According to Chicago Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford, the fire shot up to the ceiling and the school’s fire sprinkler system quickly extinguished it. “The sprinkler did its job,” said Langford. Although five students were injured in the...
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Illinois Among First Three States to Issue Proclamation for Campus Fire Safety Month 2014


Courtesy of Campus Firewatch: Illinois, Georgia and Wisconsin are the first three states to issue proclamations for National Campus Fire Safety Month in 2014. In the 10 years of the program, there have been 267 proclamations issued, plus resolutions in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, helping raise awareness about the importance of fire safety on the nation’s campuses. Since 2000, there has been a definite downward trend to campus-related fire deaths...
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Site of Three Fires Since 2007, Chicago High-Rise Opts to Ban Smoking Instead of Installing Fire Sprinklers

Condo owners of the 42-story high-rise at 2626 North Lakeview Avenue in Chicago recently instituted the city’s first full smoking ban in a high-rise condominium building, effective since January 31. The motive for the ban comes from the unsprinklered high-rise’s recent fire history: a double-fatal fire in January 2007, a fire in October 2012, and a fire causing injury to a resident in March 2013. Smoking materials caused at least two of the fires....
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Automobile Fire at Franklin Center High-Rise Suppressed by Fire Sprinkler System

Early morning on January 30, the Chicago Fire Department reported that a fire sprinkler system in the Franklin Center commercial high-rise at 227 W. Monroe suppressed a fire that was caused by an automobile in a lower level parking garage. “Too often we hear about the unsprinklered fires that cause major damage and injuries or deaths, but it’s even more important to highlight when larger fires are prevented thanks to the quick response of...
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Record-Low Fire Deaths In Chicago in 2013, But There’s More To Be Done


At a recent Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications news conference, Chicago Fire Department officials cited Chicago’s record-low fire deaths in 2013. They noted that smoke detectors, fire sprinklers and other fire safety improvements, public education and advances in emergency medical service were key factors that minimized fire deaths. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) recognizes Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford for acknowledging fire sprinklers as one of the important...
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Home Fire Sprinklers: Ask for Them!


When a new home is built in an area where codes do not require fire sprinklers to be installed, and the homebuilder does not offer sprinklers as an option, many homebuyers are not aware that they can ask for fire sprinklers. Every time a new home is built without fire sprinklers, generations of families miss out on the ultimate protection from fire. The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has launched new online content...
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Preventing Fire Sprinkler System Freeze-Ups as Another Arctic Blast Arrives in Illinois

Click on image for larger view

The cold temperatures are upon us. Fire prevention bureaus and building departments can save their communities money in repairs and water damage by reminding local residents and businesses to simply check to be sure their fire sprinkler systems are protected for the colder weather temperatures, especially below freezing. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board recommends an effective freeze-up prevention program that includes the following elements: Conduct a physical inspection of the facility, looking...
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Through Fire District Program, Retired Fire Official Retrofits Home with Fire Sprinklers

NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia and Carroll Fire Protection District Chief _______ award Tom Harnsberger a certificate in reocgnition of retrofitting his home with fire sprinklers.

Tom Harnsberger, a retired fire chief and current treasurer for the Carroll Fire Protection District, recently retrofitted his home with a fire sprinkler system thanks to a homeowner incentive program through the fire protection district. The Carroll Fire Protection District set up the incentive program through authorization by Illinois Public Act 095-0800, which allows the board of trustees of any fire protection district in Illinois to create an ordinance establishing a fire suppression grant...
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Fire Sprinkler Advocate Bob Gorvett (Hoffman Estates) Retires

Bob Gorvett

Chief Bob Gorvett retired from the Hoffman Estates Fire Department at the end of June after being involved with the fire department for his entire fire service career of 41 years — three years as a volunteer firefighter followed by 38 years as a full-time member. He served as the fire chief of the department for his last five years. Gorvett was a key fire official in getting a home fire sprinkler ordinance enacted...
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Fire Sprinkler Advocate George Michehl (Buffalo Grove) Retires

George Michehl

Deputy Fire Marshal George Michehl retired in August after nine years with the Buffalo Grove Fire Department. Prior to joining the department, Michehl spent over 28 years with the Glenview Fire Department (and Glenbrook Fire Protection District). In addition to educating his local community with educational materials and side-by-side demonstrations, Michehl had been a proponent of home fire sprinklers both on a state and national level during his tenure in the fire service. He...
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Illinois Fire Inspectors Recognize EIU for Completing Fire Sprinkler Retrofits in Residence Halls

EIU VP for Business Affairs William Weber (left) and EIU Safety Officer Gary
Hanebrink (center) receive the IFIA's Corporate Award
from IFIA President Joey Jeraminas (right).

At the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association‘s (IFIA) annual luncheon/meeting during Fire Prevention Week, the IFIA awarded Eastern Illinois University (EIU) with a Corporate Award for its proactive completion of fire sprinkler retrofits in the university’s residence halls. The IFIA’s award recognizes emergency personnel, children, young adults, adults and corporations who have greatly enhanced or contributed to local fire prevention efforts in their communities. EIU received the award as the first public university to achieve...
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Builder Installs Fire Sprinklers in His Family’s New Home

The McNaughton Family

When custom homebuilder Bill McNaughton chose to build his family’s new 3,800+-square-foot custom home in Western Springs, it was a “no-brainer” for him to install a fire sprinkler system for peace of mind and the life-safety benefits it provides in case of a fire. He wanted to be sure that his wife, Jennifer, and their 19-month-old son, William, are protected from fire when he is not home with them. McNaughton and his brother, Matthew,...
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Campus Fire Coalition Formed; Addresses Fire Safety Issues on Campuses


The nation’s three leading campus fire safety organizations have come together as the Campus Fire Coalition to create a portal to share and promote campus fire safety resources that can help schools and communities in educating students, parents and administrators about the importance of fire safety. These resources, developed by CampusFireSafety.com, Campus Firewatch and the Michael H. Minger Foundation, include videos, posters, guides and education programs that teach students what they need to know...
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Westchester Becomes Fire-Safe Community, Joining 90 Other Illinois Communities with Home Fire Sprinkler Requirements

Westchester Fire Chief James Adams (left), Captain Jeff Lebeda (second from right), NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia (right), and the Westchester Village Board.

In November 2013, the Village of Westchester voted to amend and update its building code, which included a requirement for fire sprinkler systems in new construction single-family homes. With the passage, Westchester is now one of 91 Illinois communities with home fire sprinkler requirements, resulting in safer homes for residents and responding firefighters alike. “Trustee Nick Steker helped spearhead the process by obtaining home fire sprinkler information from his attendance at the Illinois Municipal...
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Multiple-Fatality Home Fire Brings Attention to Village of Arlington Heights’ Omission of Home Fire Sprinklers in Building Code

An early morning fire on November 6th, swept through a two-story, single-family home in Arlington Heights killing three adults. Fire officials said that portions of the house collapsed, which made search and rescue difficult. According to the United States Fire Administration, the number of civilian residential fire fatalities in Illinois now totals 84 fatalities in 2013. “The majority of residential fire deaths, such as these three deaths, occur overnight when people are sleeping, often...
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Successful Activations (Oct/Nov/Dec 2013 Edition)

Successful Activations (Oct/Nov/Dec 2013 Edition)

Download a sprinkler save report to record your fire department’s latest successful fire sprinkler activations.   A Routine Miracle on 34th Street Macy’s (New York City) With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, a fire at the iconic Macy’s store on 34th Street at Herald Square in New York City would be devastating. The flagship store, with over a million square feet of retail space, is used as the focal point for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade,...
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Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board Questions High-Rise Fire Safety Ten Years After Deadly Cook County Administration Building Fire

Ten years have passed since six people died in a high-rise fire that did not have fire sprinklers at the Cook County Administration Building, 69 W. Washington, October 17, 2003. The City has since established additional fire- and life-safety measures to prevent future tragedies in commercial high-rise buildings. The nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) questions the safety of occupants who live in residential high-rise buildings that were built before fire sprinklers...
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November 20-22: IFIA Fall Fire Safety Seminar

Click on image above to view flyer

From Wednesday, November 20, through Friday, November 22, the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association will host its annual Fall Fire Safety Seminar at Medinah Banquets in Addison. The educational event is intended for fire inspectors, building inspectors, property maintenance inspectors, engineers, architects and all other safety professionals. There will be various presentations about fire sprinklers. For more information about fire sprinklers, please visit the NIFSAB booth during the trade show on Thursday from 8:00 am...
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ALERT: Illinois Fire Service Predicts Severely Heightened Number of Fire Incidents Through October


Officials in the Illinois fire service are predicting a dramatic uptick in intentionally set fires in the state of Illinois through October, stating that the fires will be widespread through dozens of communities. Studies have been able to pinpoint the locations of where the fires will occur and even the dates on which they will occur. Fire officials ask that community members in the following locations (and potentially more locations) stay alert and be...
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Palatine Rural Firehouse Now Fully Protected by Fire Sprinklers

Left to right: NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia, United States Alliance Fire Protection's Matt Campbell, Palatine Rural Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen and Deputy Chief Rich May stand in front of the newly fire sprinklered Palatine Rural Fire Protection District firehouse.

When the 14,000-square foot Palatine Rural Fire Protection District’s firehouse was built in 1999, it only featured fire sprinklers in the basement where a training room, workout room and storage area are located. The first floor of the firehouse, which includes a large three-apparatus bay, offices, and sleeping/living quarters for seven personnel, stood unprotected from fires. That is no longer the case, however, after Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen recently coordinated a fire sprinkler retrofit...
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