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HFSC and Local Organizations Donate Fire Sprinklers to Paralyzed Homeowner

Frankfort homeowner Dan Turner (front) received a donated fire sprinkler system for his home. Those involved with the project included (in back, left to right) Jeff Feid, State Farm Insurance; Todd Groskreutz, Quantum Building & Design; Peg Paul, Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition; George "Chip" Pearson, plumber; Barb Jonas, Chicago Backflow; Shaun Maher, Dynamic Fire Protection; Fire Chief Jim Grady, Frankfort Fire Protection District; John Pritchard, BlazeMaster, and Great Lakes Plumbing & Heating (not pictured).

As part of a State Farm-funded grant program, the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) donated a residential fire sprinkler system to the residents of a home in the Brookmeadow Estates subdivision in Frankfort, Illinois.

Owner of the home and former Wisconsin pipefitter by trade, Dan Turner, is paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound due to an automobile accident six years ago. His father-in-law, John Raiger, sought assistance through the HFSC project because he believes that the home fire sprinkler system is an important lifesaving device. Raiger, a fire alarm installer with Electronic Systems of Illinois, has attended fire sprinkler demonstrations at local fire department events and cites the effectiveness of the demonstrations as his reason for researching fire sprinklers for his son-in-law and daughter’s home.

An open house was held for the first accessible fire sprinklered home in Frankfort and the fourth sprinklered home in the village overall.

“Given Dan’s immobility, my daughter needs to help him get out of the house, and make sure that their young children make it out okay,” says Raiger. “It gives me peace of mind knowing that they are protected by fire sprinklers and will be given the extra time they need to escape in the case of a fire.”

Although fire sprinklers were not part of the original plans, the homebuilder, Quantum Building & Design, was fully on board with the project. According to Shaun Maher of Dynamic Fire Protection, which donated the installation of the system, the fire sprinklers are installed according to NFPA 13D, which is the national standard for one- and two-family homes. Additionally, John Raiger will be connecting the sprinklers to the home’s security system. Great Lakes Plumbing & Heating donated the sprinkler system design plan, Chicago Backflow donated the backflow preventer, and BlazeMaster, a division of the Lubrizol Corporation, donated the fire sprinkler materials. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) coordinated the project.

“Quantum designed the custom home with many ADA-compliant products that meet Dan Turner’s needs, but without the home appearing too institutional. The fire sprinklers fit well into the accessible designs and will provide additional levels of security,” says Tom Lia, executive director for NIFSAB.

According to Larry Rauch, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the Frankfort Fire Protection District, the home is the first accessible home in the fire district to have fire sprinklers and the fourth sprinklered home overall.

Tom Lia, executive director of NIFSAB, discusses the home's incoming water supply and riser for the fire sprinkler system with an alderman from Palos Heights.

Tours of the home were available during an open house for the public that was held on August 17. Among the many in attendance were Village of Frankfort officials, Frankfort Fire Protection District firefighters, aldermen from Palos Heights, representatives from the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, and Illinois State Representative for the 70th district Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley). A presentation was held to recognize those organizations that helped make the fire sprinkler system installation a success.

Both NIFSAB and HFSC provided educational materials and information about home fire sprinkler systems. NIFSAB also performed numerous fire sprinkler demonstrations in a fire sprinkler demonstration trailer, showing the vital role that home fire sprinkler technology plays in saving lives and reducing property damage — in comparison with the deadly speed and destruction of fires.

The benefits of home fire sprinklers were on display as demonstrations were held throughout the day in a fire sprinkler trailer.

The Frankfort home is the first of 15 newly built homes that will be installed with fire sprinkler systems. It is part of HFSC’s national project to facilitate sprinkler system installations in new houses built by nonprofit groups working to benefit individuals and families in need of homes, such as “Habitat for Humanity” and “Home for Our Troops.” The project is made possible through a generous grant from State Farm, the largest property and casualty insurer in the United States.

“Fire sprinklers are highly effective for all residents but the unique technology is especially powerful for populations that are most vulnerable, including people living in poverty and individuals with physical limitations that can slow their ability to escape a fire,” says HFSC Chair Gary Keith. “Fire sprinkler technology has no equal, and that is why approximately 75 communities in Illinois have created ordinances requiring home fire sprinklers.”

 

This ad was run by NIFSAB in the September 8th edition of the "Frankfort Station" newspaper in appreciation of Quantum Building & Design.

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