Maine now joins 21 other states that have formalized a sprinkler coalition. Initiated late last year, the Maine Fire Sprinkler Coalition is led by State Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, who offered candid comments to NFPA about his state's home fire problem, sprinkler opposition, and the coalition's attempt at changing the culture of sprinklers.
Maine experienced 26 fire deaths in 2014. Two residential fires were responsible for 10 of these fatalities. Are there any key finds from these tragedies?
What we’re finding is that the vast majority of fatalities are associated with fires that are in places that don’t have smoke detectors or inoperable smoke detectors. I've been around long enough to see the onset of smoke detectors in the late '70s and early '80s. Since then, we've seen the number of fire fatalities come down. However, national trends indicate that 98 percent of people believe they're protected by smoke detectors, but in reality it's about 60 percent. We need to [bolster] people's recognition of fire sprinklers as viable things that need to be installed.