Mary Kay Ludemann, Fire Marshal and Jon Stratton, Fire Chief, of the Plainfield Fire Department

Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers.

The environment is which firefighters operate today has dramatically changed over the past decade. Unfortunately, much of the change has put firefighters at greater risk.

Lightweight construction in residential buildings reduces cost, allows for open floor plans and provides the structural integrity needed in an everyday setting. However, they fail quickly and violently under fire conditions. To make matters worse, the furnishings in today’s homes consist of synthetic materials that burn at extremely high temperatures during fires. Together lightweight construction homes and synthetic furnishings have reduced the time it takes for flashover to occur, which all too often is happening as firefighters arrive.

On a positive note, the last decade has also seen an increase in the number of communities that require residential sprinkler systems. The awareness about the benefits of residential fire sprinklers is on the rise, but Illinois firefighters must continue to advocate for the lifesaving systems. Fire sprinklers ensure that ‘Everyone Goes Home.’”