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A Balanced Approach to Fire Protection Offers the Greatest Benefits

A balanced approach to fire protection that includes the installation of both fire detection and suppression systems will save lives according to the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), and for that reason, NBFAA urges that consumers support two legislative initiatives now pending in Congress.

"The members of NBFAA are committed to the fight to save lives from fire-related deaths and believe that, in addition to the firefighting community, there are two major weapons in that fight – detection and suppression,” says NBFAA President George P. Gunning, CEO of USA Alarm Systems. “Sprinklers and smoke detection together cut a person's risk of dying by 82 percent and provide for greater protection of lives, homes and businesses. Two important pieces of legislation that are currently pending in the 110th Congress, H.R. 2882 and H.R.1409, have the potential to save lives. We strongly urge consumers to get behind these bills.”

The College Life Safety and Fire Prevention Act, H.R. 1409, introduced by Rep.Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., and several co-sponsors, would establish a demonstration incentive program within the U.S. Department of Education to promote the professional installation of fire alarm detection systems or other fire prevention technologies in qualified student housing, dormitories, and other university buildings.

H.R. 2882, the "Long-Term Care Life Safety Act," introduced by Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-NY, is designed to establish a grant program within the Department of Health and Human Services to promote professional retrofit installation of fire alarm detection systems and other fire prevention technologies in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and hospice facilities.

"Only automatic and manual fire alarm systems give advance notice to all of the occupants, staff and just as importantly, the fire departments and emergency first responders, explains NBFAA Government Relations Committee Chairman Michael Meridith, president, Security Equipment Inc. “The elderly in these facilities often cannot save themselves, and many times lack the hearing capacity to listen for the shrill beeping of a smoke alarm. Smoke detectors installed on a fire alarm system are UL-listed for commercial use and have audio and visual notification appliances required by the Americans with Disabilities Act for the hearing impaired. It is this advanced warning that accounts for a decline of more than 50 percent in residential fire deaths in the U.S. since the1970's.”

The NBFAA believes that the life safety community must work together to ensure a balanced fire protection system so as not to rely on any one fire prevention technology to protect lives and property. The association approved a white paper this year, "A Balanced Approach to Fire System Design: Alarm & Detection Alongside Suppression," that outlines NBFAA's position. The white paper is available on NBFAA's Web site at

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