By SHERIDAN CYR
With the Southington Fire Department on hand, officials signaled the spark and two identical rooms burst into flames on the property of K&M Fire Protection Services in Plantsville on Thursday morning. The demonstration, sponsored by the local fire protection company, is designed to show the potentially life-saving benefit of having in-home fire sprinklers during a house fire.
West Haven fire marshal and Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition chair Keith Flood led the demonstration, which consisted of a burn trailer designed with rooms that mimicked an average home’s living room. Both rooms had fire alarms, but only one room had an overhead sprinkler.
Flood announced that a person has about a 50 percent chance of surviving a fire in a home with just a smoke alarm, versus an 80 percent chance of survival in a home with overhead sprinklers.
The room outfitted only with a smoke alarm took about three minutes to become completely engulfed in flames. Often times, three minutes is not enough time for the fire department to arrive on site after an emergency call is made.
In the second room, the sprinkler system activated after about 30 seconds, and suffocated much of the flames, giving the fire department enough time to arrive and safely put out the rest of the fire.
The burn units were built and provided by the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). These demonstrations began in 2014 at the University of New Haven.
“Having these units enables us to go to communities around the state and to do these burn demonstrations to help educate people and spread awareness,” said Flood. “This provides us with a perspective of how fast you really need to move once a fire starts.”
Dan Rodriguez of the Safety Department of Davis-Ulmer Sprinkler Co. watched the demonstration from the sidelines. “This gives people a chance to see what we really do to prevent home fires,” he said.
Vickie Pritchett, Director of Outreach at NFSA, explained that the organization represents the people who install, make, and supply K&M Fire Protection products.
“Every time I see one of these demonstrations, it feels like the first time I’m seeing it,” said Pritchett. “Every day, these workers do what they perceive to be just doing their job and installing these products. It’s much more than that to us. They are in the business of saving lives.”
The demonstration was held as part of a safety field day for the businesses’ employees.
To contact K&M Fire Protection Services, visit www.kandmfire.com or call them at (877) 591-1970.