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Illinois Fire Departments Take Advantage of Home Fire Sprinkler Education Stipends

The Plainfield Fire Protection District was awarded a $1,000 stipend from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to perform a side-by-side demonstration for home fire sprinkler education.

As part of a grant funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has been awarding $1,000 stipends to fire departments nationwide that are members of its free BUILT FOR LIFE Fire Department (BFLFD) program.

The stipends are intended to boost fire department’s home fire sprinkler education efforts and were offered in two categories: side-by-side demonstration stipends and public service announcement (PSA) media stipends.

Here in Illinois, the fire departments from Plainfield, Tinley Park and Charleston applied for the $1,000 stipends and were three of the 50 total BFLFDs nationwide that received stipends.

The stipends for side-by-side demonstrations help fire departments fund the construction of two simulated rooms that are similarly furnished — one with and one without a fire sprinkler system. Any remaining money can go toward funding for the corresponding educational event or any materials used for future home fire sprinkler education.

As part of its open house event for national Fire Prevention Week (October 7-13), the Tinley Park Fire Department plans to conduct a side-by-side demonstration on October 13, 2012,

Plainfield Fire Inspector Mary Ludemann points out the fire sprinkler in the sprinklered unit of the side-by-side demonstration.

The Plainfield Fire Protection District conducted its side-by-side demonstration in late May 2012, working closely with Dynamic Fire Protection to install the fire sprinkler system and demonstration narrator Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. In the sprinklered room, the fire sprinkler activated in 17 seconds, just seconds after the fire alarm sounded. While the fire sprinklers extinguished the fire in the sprinklered unit, the unsprinklered unit grew quickly, reaching flashover in under two minutes.

The fire department was able to garner media attention from the Plainfield Patch online newspaper.

Visit the NIFSAB Facebook page for additional photography from the Plainfield event.

Each year since 2009, the Charleston Fire Department hosts a side-by-side demonstration in the tailgate area of Eastern Illinois University’s football stadium during Parents & Family Weekend in October. The fire department used the HFSC stipend to fund its event on October 8, 2011, event and will also be using it for the 2012 event.

In 2011, the Charleston Fire Department promoted the event through and received media coverage from a local radio station, WEIU-FM campus radio station, Charleston Times-Courier local newspaper, Daily Eastern News campus newspaper, and WEIU-TV. It was also publicized on the Facebook page for university housing.

Not only had Charleston Fire Department earned a side-by-side demonstration stipend, but it also earned one of 50 stipends to help place HFSC’s home fire sprinkler PSAs in the local media. The fire department will be running HFSC’s video PSAs and corresponding print advertisements during national Fire Prevention Week in 2012.

WEIU-TV will run the 30-second videos on 16 different channels in its service network, which amounts to 450 spots through 33 communities in East Central Illinois. The Journal Gazette & Times Courier will run a “buy one get one free” quarter-page print ad. The newspaper covers 15 communities with a daily circulation of 12,000. The Daily Eastern News, which reaches 10,000 students and is available at various businesses throughout town will run the ad on four consecutive Fridays in October.

All three fire departments have taken advantage of their free membership in HFSC’s BUILT FOR LIFE Fire Department program and continue to successfully educate their community members about home fire sprinkler protection.

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