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« Lightweight construction and the need for home fire sprinklers | Main | Most firefighter injuries occur battling home fires »

12/26/2012

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The study points out that the infrequency of an event is not related to its consequences. However, people tend to underestimate the consequences when events occur infrequently. To the general public, house fires are a low frequency event. Except for those who live in densely populated urban areas, people may not see fire trucks in their neighborhoods for months or longer - and then is usually an EMS call.

When preparing a presentation on residential sprinklers for city leaders, I checked to see if that town had experienced a house fire with a life loss in the past 6-12 months. If so, I finished my PowerPoint presentation with a NIST program to simulate how sprinklers would have prevented life loss. This made it up close and personal, and triggered the emotional hot buttons to emphasize that event consequences are the critical factor, not the frequency. I still have slides of one such simulation. Contact me at pcoughlin@kc.rr.com and I'll send them.

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