On the evening of March 9, Alsip Fire Chief Tom Styczynski received a special recognition award for his continued efforts to save lives and property by educating the public about the benefits of fire sprinkler protection. The nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) and the Illinois Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA-IL) jointly presented the award to Styczynski at the NFSA-IL chapter meeting.
“I’m honored to receive this recognition. I have always been a strong believer in fire sprinkler systems. They protect buildings and are proven to be lifesavers for occupants and firefighters,” said Styczynski.
In his long tenure with the Alsip Fire Department, which includes having served as fire chief since 2012, Styczynski has helped the suburban village of approximately 19,000 residents make a name for itself in the media spotlight. Through the Alsip Fire Department’s involvement with countless educational fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations, Alsip has been featured on not only local Chicago television newscasts but also newscasts across the country and the nationally broadcasted “Today Show.”
Coordinating with groups such as NIFSAB, the national nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), and the former Home Safety Council, each of those televised fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations have shown the dramatic differences between fires in two simulated rooms – one with fire sprinklers and one without sprinklers. The demonstrations show the tremendous speed of typical home fires and the potential for deadly destruction, but more importantly illustrate the vital importance of fire sprinkler technology in saving lives, reducing property damage and protecting responding firefighters.
Side-by-side demonstrations conducted by the Alsip Fire Department have been featured in HFSC’s home fire sprinkler education programs and videos that are shared with fire departments nationwide. Also, the demonstrations have been an important education tools during the fire department’s annual Fire Prevention Week open houses for the local community.
Styczynski and the Alsip Fire Department’s steadfast belief in the value of fire sprinklers is most evident by the successful educational efforts that led to the village of Alsip enacting its own ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in new construction homes in 2007. When the first new home with fire sprinklers was completed, the fire department participated in an open house event to showcase the home’s fire sprinkler system and further educate village officials. Currently, Alsip is one of over 100 Illinois communities that have adopted fire sprinkler requirements for new construction homes.
“I would like to thank Mayor Patrick Kitching and the village board for enacting the village’s fire sprinkler ordinance,” noted Styczynski.
“Without Chief Styczynski’s expertise and support in our mutual fire safety efforts over the years, we could not have completed so many important educational programs,” stated Tom Lia, executive director of NIFSAB. “Though those efforts, tens of millions of individuals across the nation have learned about the life- and property-saving benefits provided by fire sprinklers.”