Clarendon Hills Fire Chief Leahy Receives National Award for Home Fire Sprinkler Advocacy

Bringing Safety Home award recipient Chief Brian Leahy (center), along with HFSC Communications Manager Peg Paul (left) and NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia (right).

Bringing Safety Home award recipient Chief Brian Leahy (center), along with HFSC Communications Manager Peg Paul (left) and NIFSAB Executive Director Tom Lia (right).

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition awarded Fire Chief Brian Leahy from the Clarendon Hills  (Illinois) Fire Department with the 2015 Bringing Safety Home Award, presented at the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit on October 13th in Phoenix, Arizona.

The award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC’s home fire sprinkler educational materials and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to ensure that decision-makers have accurate information as new or updated home fire sprinkler codes are considered. Leahy was nominated by Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board Executive Director Tom Lia.

“Chief Leahy was one of the pioneers of home fire sprinkler advocacy here in Illinois and still continues that work today,” says Lia.

Fifteen years ago, Chief Leahy spent hours meeting with his mayor and elected officials to educate them about the benefits of home fire sprinklers. His village manager presented him with 33 “concerns” brought up by those who opposed a fire sprinkler requirement. With limited resources, Leahy addressed every concern. His efforts resulted in the passage of an ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family homes. Clarendon Hills became the fifth community in Illinois to do so, but the ordinance was the first in one of the state’s teardown-and-rebuild community. Leahy’s list to the village manager is known as the Clarendon Hills “List of 33” and is still used as a resource in other communities looking to enact home fire sprinkler requirements in new homes.

Today, more than 700 Clarendon Hills homes and the families that occupy them are protected with fire sprinklers.

 

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