Learn about home fire sprinklers during live burn demonstrations during Fire Prevention Week

As part of national Fire Prevention Week, the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board is teaming up with fire departments in the greater Chicago region to conduct live burn demonstrations at their open house events.

These dramatic and effective demonstrations will show the public how fast fires can become deadly, while conveying the crucial benefits of fire sprinklers.

Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 8-14 and this year's theme is: "Cooking safety starts with you. Pay attention to fire prevention."

In the side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations, two similarly furnished rooms, each with smoke alarms, will be set on fire.

One room will feature a single fire sprinkler, the other room will not.

Attendees will be able to feel the extreme heat and see the rapid spread of fire in the unsprinklered room and contrast it with how quickly the sprinkler responds and controls or extinguishes the fire in the other room.

Besides these up close and personal demonstrations, fire departments will discuss typical fire department response times, the importance of working smoke alarms, and well-practiced escape plans.

"Because today's homes tend to have open designs and furniture and other contents made from petroleum-based plastics and synthetic materials, a fire can turn deadly in less than two minutes," said Erik Hoffer, executive director.

"These fires burn hotter and faster than years ago while also producing more deadly, toxic smoke," Hoffer said. "With these demonstrations, people can see how fast the entire room ignites and reaches flashover, which not even firefighters in their full gear can survive.

"Simultaneously, they can see how heat automatically activates a fire sprinkler, stopping the fire from becoming deadly and giving people precious time to evacuate," Hoffer said.

There are more than 115 Illinois communities that have ordinances or codes requiring fire sprinklers in all new construction homes.

Fire sprinklers not only help safeguard occupants and property, they also protect the lives of first responders.

Home fire sprinklers have controlled or extinguished thousands of cooking fires over the years, but the best strategy is to prevent these fires from starting in the first place. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires by far, accounting for about half of all U.S. home fires.

During Fire Prevention Week, fire departments will also be educating their communities about the simple but crucial actions they can take when cooking to keep themselves and those around them safe.

Below is a list of upcoming fire and sprinkler burn demonstrations. Please contact NIFSAB or the fire departments for more details.

Saturday, Sept. 23:

Des Plaines Fire Department, Glenview Fire Department, Naperville Fire Department, Pleasantview Fire Protection District, and West Dundee Fire Department

Sunday, Sept. 24:

Mundelein Fire Department

Saturday, Sept. 30:

Buffalo Grove Fire Department, Itasca Fire Protection District, and Lemont Fire Protection District

Sunday, Oct. 1:

Lockport Township Fire Protection District

Monday, Oct. 2:

Moraine Valley Community College -Fire Service Program

Wednesday, Oct. 4:

Warrenville Fire Protection District

Saturday, Oct. 7:

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District, Elk Grove Village Fire Department, Evanston Fire Department, Hammond (Indiana) Fire Department, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, La Grange Park Fire Department, Lansing Fire Department, Norwood Park Fire Protection District, Palatine Fire Department, Roberts Park Fire Protection District, and Schaumburg Fire Department

Sunday, Oct. 8:

Countryside Fire Protection District

Monday, Oct. 9:

Western Springs Fire Department

Tuesday, Oct. 10:

La Grange Fire Department

Wednesday, Oct. 11:

Chicago Ridge Fire Department

Friday, Oct. 13:

Beecher Fire Protection District

Saturday, Oct. 14:

Batavia Fire Department, Bolingbrook Fire Department, Hillside Fire Department, Hinsdale Fire Department, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, Homewood Fire Department, Lake Bluff Fire Department, Northbrook Fire Department, Richton Park Fire Department, Rolling Meadows Fire Department, Romeoville Fire Department, St. Charles Fire Department, Streamwood Fire Department, and Villa Park Fire Department

Sunday, Oct. 15:

Forest View Fire Department

Saturday, Oct. 21:

Hoffman Estates Fire Department and Oswego Fire Protection District

Sunday, Oct. 22:

Bloomingdale Fire Protection District

Monday, Oct. 23:

Hampshire Fire Protection District

Saturday, Oct. 28:

Highland Park Fire Department

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