Fire Team USA Draws Record Attendance At Fire Protection Conference

Feb 03, 2009, 17:52 ET from Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board

ADDISON, Ill., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 170 fire and building officials and community leaders from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and other states attended Fire Team USA's fire protection informational and training conference at the Medinah Shriners facility in Addison, Illinois.

Funded through a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, the conference is an initiative to bring fire chiefs and marshals, elected officials, building officials and other stakeholders together to learn and share fire prevention methods and alternatives that affect quality of life and improve public policy on fire protection.

Topics included fire protection priorities and codes, the politics of life safety, mobilizing the community stakeholders, and the various resources available to educate and improve public policy. Speakers also discussed the details behind NFPA 13D, the standard for the installation of fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

Congressman Peter Roskam, Illinois's 6th District, whose district includes Addison, addressed the audience talking about why he believes it's important to support the fire service. He opened his comments talking about his personal experience with a house fire as a child. Congressman Roskam said he has cosponsored and supports the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, a bill that reduces the tax depreciation time for retrofitting fire sprinkler systems in buildings from 39 years to five years. He joined the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the largest caucus in Congress with over 320 members. As a new member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Roskam said he would continue to support the fire service at the committee level.

Other elected officials who attended the event included Joe Moore, Alderman, Chicago, 49th Ward and Carole Pankau, State Senator, 23rd District. Alderman Moore said he was attending the event to learn more about fire protection issues.

At the end of the conference, those who attended withstood the 20-degree weather to watch a live burn demonstration in the facility parking lot. Two rooms were built and furnished. A fire sprinkler was installed in one room, the other room was not protected. Fires were started in both rooms to show how quickly flashover occurs without fire sprinklers. Flashover is when all the contents in the room start on fire. Flashover occurred in about three minutes. Addison firefighters used hoses to extinguish the fire. In the room protected with a fire sprinkler, the smoke alarm sounded at 10 seconds. The sprinkler activated in about 30 seconds and extinguished the fire. Fire protection educators believe the side-by-side burn demonstration is an effective way to teach people about how quickly fire spreads and how effective fire sprinklers work to save lives and property.

SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board