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Why Fire Sprinklers Can Be a Firefighter’s Best Friend

From NFPA Today and NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative blogs:

An offensive fire attack takes on an entirely different character in a building equipped with a properly designed, installed, and maintained sprinkler system, say National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) officials Russ Sanders and Ben Klaene in their column, “The Sprinkler Factor,” in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. Sprinklers make fire department operations easier and significantly reduce the risk to firefighters, primarily because firefighters’ efforts are directed at keeping the system fully operational and laying backup lines for final extinguishment.

In fact, NFPA issued “Home Sprinkler Impact on Firefighter Injuries” in May 2011. The report compares structure fires reported to U.S. municipal fire departments, to structure fires in homes with no automatic extinguishing equipment from 2006-2010, and presents estimates of an additional benefit from home sprinklers.

Analysis of home structure fires with wet-pipe sprinklers present showed a 65% reduction in firefighter injuries at the fireground per 1,000 home structure fires.

When comparing that reduction in injuries with NFPA’s “Firefighter Injuries in the U.S.” estimate of 70,090 line-of-duty firefighter injuries in 2011, 30,505 (43.5%) of which occurred during fireground operations, imagine the reduction in injuries if fire sprinklers were present at the fireground. The facts are simple: home fire sprinklers are proven to better protect firefighters.


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