Looking for an effective approach to home fire sprinkler advocacy? Pay close attention to the efforts made by the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Coalition members turned out in droves to a recent public hearing on a sprinkler bill introduced by state Rep. Ruth Balser and Sen. Kenneth Donnelly and another sponsored by state Rep. Michael Brady. Balser, who spoke at the public hearing and at summits initiated by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, has been a vocal ally in the push for sprinkler requirements in Massachusetts.
Joining Balser at the hearing were staff from NFPA and the National Fire Sprinkler Asssociation, staunch sprinkler supporter State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, state fire service organizations, and the burn survivor community, including Paul Machado, the newest member of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's Faces of Fire Campaign. Machado was injured while responding to a 2013 home fire in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Advocates were rallying behind the Balser/Donnelly bill, which gives towns the option to require sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes, and Brady's bill, which would require sprinklers in these settings statewide. The rallying didn't stop there.
Grabbing the attention of other legislators, the coalition initiated a live burn/sprinkler demonstration on June 23 in Boston, giving about 100 lawmakers and attendees an alarming glimpse of the brevity of fire spread. Narrating the event was NFPA Regional Sprinkler Specialist Tim Travers. "New homes and new home furnishings are burning faster than ever before," Travers told The Boston Globe and other news outlets attending the event.
Here are other photos from the event: