Home Fire Sprinklers: Park Forest Fire Department Educates Area Real Estate Agents with FEMA Grant-Funded Program

pffd educates realtors on home sprinklers
The PFFD educates realtors on home sprinkler systems. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As part of a FEMA grant, officials from Park Forest Fire Department recently hosted area real estate agents at Dining on the Green banquet hall in Park Forest for an educational program about how to sell homes protected by fire sprinklers. The program, which included a presentation and live fire and sprinkler burn demonstration, is one of a number of similar programs being held throughout Chicagoland and northern Illinois.

The program helps real estate agents understand how fire sprinklers are an important safety feature of homes by describing how they operate and save lives. It also details the insurance benefits for the homeowners and communities that adopt the codes containing home fire sprinklers.

“Real estate agents are on the front line of education about home fire sprinklers. They are the voice that homebuyers trust when buying or selling a home, so it’s important that they know the correct facts about fire sprinklers so they can point them out as important fire safety features in homes,” says Tom Lia, executive director of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB).

The Park Forest Fire Department chose to host the educational program because of the village’s commitment to the fire and life safety of its residents. In 2008, the village adopted a local ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in all new construction one- and two-family homes, making the village one of more than 100 communities in Illinois to have such requirements. Since then, the village also added a fire sprinkler requirement for any home renovation that reaches 50 percent or more of the home’s value.

“Installing home fire sprinklers is like placing a firefighter on duty in every room of your home 24 hours a day,” states Park Forest Fire Chief Bruce Ziegle.

A fire and sprinkler burn demonstration concluded the program, as real estate agents were able to see the real-time growth of a fire and the effectiveness of fire sprinklers. The two rooms were similarly furnished, however, one room contained a single fire sprinkler and smoke alarm and the other only had a smoke alarm. The real estate agents felt the extreme heat and saw the quick growth of fire, which quickly melted and silenced the smoke alarm in the unprotected room. They were able to compare it with the quick response and cooling action of the fire sprinkler in the other room.

“The fire department received very positive responses from the real estate agents. Some agents even requested that we come to their offices and educate their full staff,” adds Lia. “With a lot of myths out there, such as fire sprinklers all activating at once in a fire, they were pleased to learn the actual facts, so they could do a better job of answering homebuyers’ questions and marketing sprinklered homes in more than 100 Illinois communities with home fire sprinklers.”