A FIRE INDUSTRY COALITION IS USING A $600,000 grant from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to educate the home building industry on how installing fire sprinklers in new homes can reduce fire deaths.

The program, “Built for Life,” is being managed by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). The HFSC's steering committee consists of eight major industry trade associations, including the American Fire Sprinkler Association and the National Fire Protection Association.

Peg Paul, communications manager for the HFSC, will manage the builder program from her offices in Frankfort, Ill. Paul says the grant, which was awarded last June, specifies that the HFSC has 12 months to carry out the program.

There are two parts to the education program. One will be a video that the HFSC will promote at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., in January. The video will point out common misconceptions builders have about fire sprinklers. Some include not knowing that home fire sprinklers can be hooked up to a standard water main and not realizing that one sprinkler can cover up to a 20-by-20-foot area.

“Today's sprinklers can cover a wide area,” says Paul, adding that the second part of the program will be selecting builders in 10 cities nationally to install sprinkler systems in model homes.