By: Robert Avsec
Joanne Genadio, Marketing Manager at National Fire Sprinkler Association, is one of my LinkedIn colleagues. Joanne is a “Superstar” Promoter of Fire Sprinkler Systems and she recently posted the following discussion topic on the National Fire Sprinkler Association Group at LinkedIn (Knowing her zeal for the topic, I’m going to reproduce Joanne’s entire text from the post, so those of you who are not on LinkedIn and a member of the group can see her message).
Houston Motel Not Protected with Fire Sprinklers, 4 Firefighters Dead, 5 injured
A fire in an unsprinklered Houston motel over the weekend led to the death of four firefighters and hospitalization of five others. Since news of the tragedy first broke on Saturday, June 1, NFSA’s South Central Regional Manager Cindy Giedraitis has been on a fact-finding mission to gather details regarding the building. Giedraitis is NFSA’s “boots-on-the-ground” representative in Texas. In the wake of this tragedy NFSA has provided factual information to Congressman Jim Langevin, sponsor of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Since the building was constructed in 1966, prior to modern building codes requiring fire sprinkler protection in this type of occupancy, tax incentives, such as those made available in the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, are viewed as the best approach to getting these types of buildings retrofit with automatic fire sprinkler protection. For more details, view the link and contact NFSA South Central Regional Manager Cindy Giedraitis at National Fire Sprinkler Association.
I’m strongly of the opinion that a fire sprinkler-based fire suppression system is the only way to prevent loss of life when fire decides to attack a building. Civilians and firefighters alike are put at a totally unnecessary level risk when a fire happens in a building without such a system. I recently wrote about this topic in an earlier post on this site.
Unfortunately, policy makers only pay attention following a tragedy—which in many cases was of their making (or not)—so once again we must sound the refrain, “They (our 4 departed Houston brother & sister firefighters) must not have died in vain.” We must get sprinklers in all new construction, both residential and commercial. And while we’re at it, make it mandatory that all hotels, motels, dormitories and other commercial occupancies where the owners take money in exchange for providing people a place to stay, must prominently post signs on the property, information on their websites, etc., that says:
“WARNING: You are about to stay in a building that is not protected by a fire sprinkler-based fire suppression system. The owner of this building knows that fire sprinkler-based fire suppression system is the only way to prevent loss of life when fire decides to attack a building.
Civilians and firefighters alike are put at a totally unnecessary level risk when a fire happens in a building without such a system. The owner has made an informed decision to accept that risk and all consequences of that decision, which may include the loss of life in the event of a fire.”
I’ve got a huge sign under the lid on my washer machine that tells me at least 10 things that I should not do when using the machine, e.g., don’t put gasoline or oil soaked clothing in the machine as this can create an explosion hazard. Shouldn’t we at least require such labeling on occupancies not protected with fire sprinkler-based suppression systems?
I think that would get people’s attention. What do you think?