Fire Sprinkler Initiative presents first Home Fire Sprinkler Champion Award to Tom Lia

April 16, 2013 – The Fire Sprinkler Initiative® (FSI), a project of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), announced its first recipient of the Home Fire Sprinkler Champion Award:  Tom Lia, the executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board for over a decade.

If there is a reported home fire, the risk of dying decreases by 83 percent when sprinklers are present. This award, presented at the annual Bringing Safety Home Fire Sprinkler Summit, honors home fire sprinkler advocates who have demonstrated leadership and dedication to activities that increase the use of home fire sprinklers in the home. These activities can be enacted through educating the community, stakeholders and policy makers, or assisting jurisdictions in the adoption of home fire sprinkler mandates.

“Tom is a terrific example of what this effort is – passionate, driven individuals working all across the country to save lives and property from fire with the proven, effective technology of fire sprinklers,” says Jim Shannon, NFPA president. “As a result of his leadership, hard work and dedication, more than 80 communities in Illinois have adopted NFPA 13D single-family home fire sprinkler ordinances.”

Since 1999, Tom has participated in more than 325 side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstrations in northern Illinois and other areas around the country. He credits them with helping elected officials and policymakers understand how quickly fire can spread and why fire sprinklers save lives. In fact, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s Fire and Sprinkler Burn Demonstration kit was developed based on Tom’s model. As a result, thousands of fire departments around the country are using this effective tool in their own communities

Tom has been executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board since 1999. At the start of his tenure in 1999, three communities had adopted NFPA 13D ordinances and 28 had progressive fire sprinkler code threshold changes. As a result of his leadership, hard work and dedication, 88 communities in Illinois have now adopted NFPA 13D single-family home fire sprinkler ordinances. A total of 175 political entities have made progressive fire sprinkler code amendment threshold changes. Tom has also assisted community adoption efforts in areas outside of Illinois.

The Bringing Safety Home Sprinkler Summit, which takes place April 15-16 in Chicago, brings together fire service representatives, design professionals, building officials, policy makers, burn survivors and other safety advocates for networking, sharing of lessons learned and understanding of best practices. It features recognized experts and advocacy resources to make the case for home fire sprinkler requirements.

About the Fire Sprinkler Initiative®: Bringing Safety Home
The Fire Sprinkler Initiative®, a project of the National Fire Protection Association, is a nationwide effort to mandate the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at

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