Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Managing the sprinkler message

By Laura King   

Features Blogs Editor’s blog

I don’t like new year’s resolutions but I’m going to make one anyway – to blog more consistently in 2009. Goodness knows, there’s lots to talk about.

First, our online poll . It’s been interesting to
watch the responses to our question about your department’s biggest challenge
for 2009. A couple of days ago the number one answer was the budget; now it’s
volunteer retention at 42.9 per cent, followed by budget at 32.1 per cent. Let
us know what your department is up against this year.

– –

As many readers know, we’ve talked a lot here and
in Fire Fighting in Canada
residential sprinklers. Last week,
Philadelphia Fire
Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, Baltimore Fire Chief James Clack and
Washington, D.C. Fire Chief Dennis
Rubin joined United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade in asking all
U.S. residents
to install, maintain and test their smoke alarms.

According to a USFA press release, “the
effort was a result of one of the deadliest holiday seasons in recent memory
and several significant fires in the first days of 2009. Since Thanksgiving,
there were more than 158 fatal fires in the
U.S. resulting
in more than 200 fire fatalities.” 


In Canada
over Christmas, three children died in a fire in Newfoundland, a Toronto man
died after falling from an under-construction highrise that was on fire, a
Montreal woman died of smoke inhalation after an apartment fire, five
firefighters were injured in a blaze in Edmonton and elderly woman died in a
separate Edmonton fire, a five-year-old boy died in a townhouse fire in Oakville
and six-year-old twins and two adults died in a Saskatchewan house fire.

sprinklers have made a difference? Probably. Do we need to work harder to get the message out? Definitely. Certainly, Oakville Fire Chief Richard Boyes and several other Oakville fire department officials indicated in several news reports that things would have turned out differently had there been sprinklers in the Oakville townhouse where Bentley Slaughter died. Boyes, and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs of which he is president, are committed to the residential-sprinkler message. Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director of IRC Fire
Sprinkler Coalition
, sent me this message and link last Friday: 

Brooklyn Park, MN, Fire
Department does an OUTSTANDING job of residential sprinkler messaging following
a devastating home fire. Everyone on our side needs to see this, because
if we handle the press like this, we'll have a lot less trouble gaining

News video segment




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