“When your life is altered completely and normal is no longer a word that applies to you, it can be a totally life-changing incident,” said Air Force Captain Anthony Simone, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a rescue helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2010. He gave those words during a May ceremony in Manhattan, Illinois, where he received the keys to his new home provided by Homes for Our Troops. The nonprofit builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for veterans. Though sad about the horror he and his family have gone through post-injury, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board is thankful his home is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and also includes fire sprinklers.
NIFSAB and the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition first heard about Simone, his family, and Homes For Our Troops from Manhattan Fire Protection District Chief Dan Forsythe. When we first saw the plans, we noticed a closet that seconded as a safe room for hurricanes. Although we do not have hurricanes in Illinois, we do have fires. Home fire sprinklers are essential in protecting the entire home—not just a single room—in the event of a fire.
We decided that donating fire sprinklers and the installation was in order. We worked closely with Chief Forsythe and Bill Sutterlin from Advanced Fire Protection to ensure a quality design and installation in accordance with NFPA 13D. The water was supplied by a well pump.
After the key ceremony, we pointed out the fire sprinklers during tours of the home. We also conducted numerous live demonstrations in a fire sprinkler demonstration trailer.