The recent fire on Fairchild Avenue in Fairfield on Aug. 23 shines a light on the effectiveness of a properly installed and maintained fire sprinkler system as a life and property saving device. While nothing can replace the presence of highly trained and heroic firefighters, in structures that feature these systems the risks to those brave men and women are often mitigated allowing them more time to safely enter the structure.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, structure fires were responsible for 3,240 civilian deaths in the United States 2013. There were an additional 14,075 civilian injuries and a total of $9.5 billion nationally in property loss as a result of structure fires.

A fire sprinkler system works to control and typically extinguish a fire before firefighters even arrive on the scene and provide those who are inside the structure the time they need to get out safely as seen in this recent event. I urge you to educate yourself on the current life safety codes and fire sprinkler requirements in your own city and state and learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the ravages of fire.

David A. LaFond

New England regional manager

National Fire Sprinkler Association