On Saturday, October 10, the Minnesota Chapter of the NFSA conducted a side by side demonstration at a community open house in support of National Fire Prevention Week. The event took place at the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department (SBM Fire) in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. The open house was an in-person event featuring a kitchen fire demonstration, a vehicle extrication exhibition, refreshments, apparatus displays, and the NFSA side by side demonstration.

About 40 people watched the side by side demonstration in person, but the burn was also livestreamed on both the NFSA Facebook page and the Minnesota Chapter’s Facebook page. While NFSA staff members Tom Brace, Joel Hewitt, and Tim Butler conducted the burn, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ryan Kunst (NFSA member) handled both cameras and the livestreaming production.

Livestreaming on Facebook is a great way to leverage the value of these demonstrations by dramatically extending the audience “reach.” Audience members “attending” via social media can view these demonstrations at a convenient time and they can watch and engage with presenters while maintaining COVID-19 social distancing rules from the comfort and safety of their homes or offices.

The Facebook Live platform allows us to analyze various audience demographics, number of views, the number of times the video was shared, time duration of audience participation, and the number of comments from people who watched our demonstration. In the case of the SBM demonstration, the MN Chapter video reached 50 people and the NFSA Facebook video reached over 1,200. That’s over 1,300 people that have seen this demonstration to date, and that number will continue to grow as it continues to be shared on social media in the days and weeks ahead.

You can find the videos here:

Minnesota NFSA Chapter Facebook Video

National Fire Sprinkler Association – NFSA Facebook Video

This side by side burn demonstrated once again the incredibly fast activation of smoke alarms (5-7 seconds), fire sprinklers activation (just 10 seconds after ignition), and the rapid development of an uncontrolled fire and the onset of flashover-in this case flashing over in just 3 minutes. Flashover is the point where a living room fire becomes a house fire; where a small fire becomes a big fire; and where a survivable fire becomes a deadly fire.

The NFSA recognizes the public education efforts of all our members. AHJ public educators are particularly important in building grass roots support and advocacy for the fire sprinkler concept because of their established public education programs and their popular local open house events. National Fire Prevention Month is a great time to focus on life-and property-saving education and a great time to taut the life-saving benefits of fire sprinklers. NFSA thanks the SMB Fire Department for their assistance with this demonstration and for inviting us to participate in their Fire Prevention Open House!