Something unique is taking place in Nampa, Idaho, just up the road from Boise. Through its Chamber of Commerce, the town of 104,000 people has been hosting a leadership program each year for the past two decades that educates would-be community leaders on issues impacting their area. The goal of Leadership Nampa is to give these budding leaders a fresh perspective on challenges and opportunities as a means to shape their professional future and the future of their community.
A component of the program is a visit with the Nampa Fire Department, which recently instructed approximately 30 program participants--the youngest in high school--on home fire sprinklers. A side-by-side burn demonstration is an effective attention-grabber, says Nampa Fire Marshal Doug Strosnider.
"They were listening and absorbing information because they were asking questions [during the demonstration]," Strosnider tells NFPA. "My hope is that as future consumers and buyers of homes, they're going to make a demand. They're going to say, 'I want sprinklers.'"
Strosnider would like to expand these burn demonstrations to showcase today's fire problem and how damage and death could be lessened by sprinkler installations. "I'd love to get 1970s-era furniture, light a fire, watch it burn, and then burn upholstered furniture we all live with today," he says. "What burns today kills people and firefighters so quickly."
Strosnider is hopeful that continuous, educational efforts will one day initiate a consumer push for sprinklers in his state. "We have to take the time to educate people on sprinklers, and at some point the educated will come around--and will demand it."