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Amongst U.S. Fire Departments, Illinois Ranks Highest for Fire Sprinkler Education Advocacy

Fire departments in Illinois are taking their job of extinguishing fires one step further by proactively creating education programs that teach the public about fire prevention and fire suppression with home fire sprinklers being the main focus.

Their commitment to advocating home fire sprinklers is in large part due to their participation in the national nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s (HFSC) “Built For Life Fire Department” (BFLFD) program. According to HFSC, the BFLFD program, which is funded through a FEMA grant, “encourages and recognizes all U.S. fire departments that make home fire sprinkler education a focus of their community outreach.”

With 146 fire departments currently signed up for HFSC’s BFLFD program, Illinois accounts for roughly eight percent of the nearly 1,800 fire departments taking part in the program nationwide, making the state home to the most BFLFDs.

The Illinois Fire Services Association – Residential Committee is making fire sprinkler education a priority for both the fire service and public, and Chief Robert Tinucci, chair of the committee, is actively encouraging more of Illinois’ 1,100 fire departments to sign up for the BLFFD program.

“We want to show that Illinois has the most progressive fire departments in the nation when it comes to fire sprinkler education,” says Tinucci. “Fire sprinklers not only enhance life safety for residents living in protected homes, but they also provide safer conditions for the men and women in the fire service who fight the blazes daily. The protection provided by fire sprinklers offers a more reliable and fire-safe environment, removing the inherent dangers of residential fires and saving lives.”

Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board notes some of the large-scale fires in Illinois that have made national headlines in recent years. “For those that have experienced the difference between a horrible, large-loss fire and a fire that has been kept to a minimum or even extinguished by fire sprinklers, it’s hard to ever imagine why anybody wouldn’t want fire sprinklers in their home — or any building for that matter.”

The BFLFD program offers readymade resources, making it even easier for forward-thinking fire departments in Illinois and nationwide to start their own home fire sprinkler education programs. Resources include written materials to reach out to the public and local media outlets as well as instructions for building side-by-side fire demonstrations that compare a fire sprinklered room versus a unsprinklered room. BFLFDs also receive priority access to HFSC’s newest educational tools and materials.

Fire departments interested in joining the “Built For Life Fire Department” program and beginning home fire sprinkler educational outreach of their own can visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s website for more details.

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