Rapid Response Home Fire Sprinkler System Protects Iraq War Veteran

In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of installing home fire sprinkler systems and to honor America’s service men and women, Tyco Fire & Building Products donated a Rapid Response Home Fire Sprinkler System to a house built in Ross Township, Pa., for veteran Spc. James Fair by Homes for Our Troops.

Homes for Our Troops provides new or renovated homes that are specially adapted for severely wounded military service members at no cost to veterans and their immediate families.

James Fair suffered life-altering injuries in Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2003 while stringing barbed wire around an ammunition supply point. He stepped onto a makeshift enemy bomb, causing an immediate explosion. He lost his hands and sight in both eyes. Shrapnel also severely injured his right leg and caused a traumatic brain injury.

“For soldiers like James Fair, who have been injured so severely, the challenges are great -- especially in regard to house fires where residents have just minutes to safely escape their homes,” said Darren Palmieri, product manager at TFBP. “James deserves to live in a home that is designed to meet his needs and keep his family safe should a fire occur. We are proud that Rapid Response can now protect a courageous young soldier who has selflessly protected our country.”

Statistics show that 80 percent of all fire-related deaths occur in the home. Home fire sprinkler systems are specifically designed to contain fire in its early stages to give time for the occupants to escape. Studies also show that when a sprinkler system is installed in a home, fire and water damage are reduced by 95 percent.

A fire sprinkler system’s effectiveness can be attributed to its design; it operates automatically only in the area of fire origin, preventing the fire from growing.

“Contrary to what we see in the movies, all the sprinklers in a system do not go off at once,” Palmieri said. “A sprinkler only reacts to heat from a fire, and in 90 percent of residential fires, one sprinkler is enough to suppress a fire.”

“Tyco’s generous donation has enabled us to provide veteran James Fair with an increased level of safety and security in his new home,” said Paul Gemme, senior project manager at Homes for Our Troops. “Many of the severely wounded men and women that we serve, including James, have returned from active duty with new fears resulting from injuries sustained in the war on terror. Tyco’s sprinkler systems are one way we can help calm those fears and provide veterans peace of mind in their daily lives.”

Tim Helch, business manager at Pittsburgh Sprinkler Fitters Local 542, echoed Gemme’s sentiment.

“An overwhelming number of local volunteers worked on the installation of Rapid Response in Fair’s new home to ensure that he is protected day and night,” Helch said. “It’s a great feeling to know that Rapid Response is always active and ready to protect this young man’s life as he has protected others. It’s important to all of us that no veteran is left behind after returning home in need.”

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