As national Fire Prevention Week (October 9 – 15) nears and fire departments prepare their public education activities for the weeklong event, a newly released video aims to educate homeowners about the dangers of fires in today’s homes as well as the benefits of home fire sprinklers.

The Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a nonprofit group of Illinois fire service organizations and fire safety advocates, created the hand-drawn whiteboard video and it can be found on YouTube.

“This video dispels the myths that people see in Hollywood movies and believe to be true. Unlike on the big screen, fire sprinklers do not all activate at once and they cannot be set off by smoke. They are individually activated by the extreme heat of a fire,” says Tom Lia, executive producer of the nonprofit Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB). NIFSAB is a member organization of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that over 9 out of 10 structure fire deaths occur in homes. In addition, national studies from UL and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have proven that today’s home fires are burning hotter and faster than ever before due to the open-design concepts, lightweight construction and synthetic furnishings and contents. Residents can have as little as three minutes to escape in today’s homes, compared with almost 30 minutes to escape in homes of the past. The faster growth of fire and smoke also means greater dangers for responding firefighters.

To protect residents and first responders, over 100 communities in Illinois now require fire sprinklers in the construction of new homes in order to combat the home fire problem. Yet, even though home fire sprinklers are becoming more popular, many homeowners still are not familiar with them.

“As we near Fire Prevention Week, we hope Illinois fire departments and communities will post this video on their websites, broadcast it on their local cable television stations, use it in their public education outreach activities year-round, and share it with others, so that more homeowners are aware of the life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers,” adds Lia.

Fire departments looking to use the video for public education purposes should visit the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative article about the video.