MFD Fire Chief to Speak at Fire Sprinkler Summit

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 9:47am

Daylong Summit Will Feature Side-by-Side Sprinkler Demonstration

City of Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis will be among the speakers at a daylong summit to educate homeowners, home builders, and fire service professionals on the benefits of residential fire sprinklers. Davis is scheduled to speak between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 24.

This is the second annual summit held in coordination with the Wisconsin Fire Inspector's Association, the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, and the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, and the first to be held in Madison.

Home fire sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene. The presence of sprinklers in a building increases firefighter safety. But many myths still surround the cost and effectiveness of residential sprinkler systems.

Among the myths tomorrow's summit will address:
MYTH "Home fire sprinklers often leak or activate accidentally."
FACT Home fire sprinkler systems are much like home plumbing systems - when installed and maintained properly, there is a very low risk of leaks. Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to activate only when it senses a significant heat change, directing water to the area of the fire. Over the last 50 years, records indicate the likelihood of leaks from automatic sprinkler systems is very remote.

MYTH "When a fire occurs, every sprinkler will activate and everything in the house will be ruined."
FACT In the event of a fire, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, leaving the rest of the house dry and secure. Ninety percent of the time, just one sprinkler operates.

For communities that have chosen to adopt residential fire sprinklers as a baseline safety feature of their fire code, the results have been dramatic. The Scottsdale, Arizona ordinance dates back to 1986. Their results over the first 15 years of implementation:
-Of 598 home fires, 49 were in single-family homes with fire sprinkler systems
-There were no deaths in sprinklered homes.
-13 people died in homes without sprinklers.
-Average fire loss per sprinklered incident: $2,166.
-Average fire loss per unsprinklered incident: $45,019

Following a full day of educational sessions, tomorrow's summit will close with a side-by-side, live fire demonstration of similarly furnished rooms, one with sprinklers, and one without.

The demonstration will take place in the parking lot of the conference site at the Holiday Inn Madison at American Center, 5109 West Terrace Dr. between 3 and 3:30 p.m.


  • Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947