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Welcome to Residential Fire Safety Institute

The Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI) is a public interest group created in 1982 to promote fire-safe homes through built-in fire protection and fire safety education. The U.S. has one of the worst records for residential fire deaths in the industrialized world. Residential fires account for 80 percent of all fire deaths. Our mission is to improve that dubious record. Originally known as Operation Life Safety, our name changed to the Residential Fire Safety Institute in June, 1999.

This site contains information for consumers and fire departments about fire safety in all residential occupancies from single-family homes to high-rise hotels. The specific items covered are residential fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and heat detectors.

Email the Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI) at

2011 Life Safety Achievement Award Deadline Approaching July 31, 2012…..

NASFM Fire Research & Education Foundation, Residential Fire Safety Institute and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance presents...
2011 Life Safety Achievement Award

In partnership with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, the NASFM Fire Research and Education Foundation and the Residential Fire Safety Institute are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize your agency for your outstanding efforts on behalf of fire and life safety. The Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized fire prevention efforts since 1994. Nominations for the 2011 Life Safety Achievement Award are now being accepted, and we invite you to apply. The following is background and the detailed criteria for the award. 

Since 1994, the Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI) has recognized fire departments for having outstanding fire safety statistics and prevention programs during the preceding calendar year. In recognition of these proactive fire prevention efforts aimed at improving their community's fire and life safety behaviors, fire departments may be eligible for the Life Safety Achievement (LSA) Award.

Since inception, the Life Safety Achievement Award was granted to any fire department that achieved zero fire deaths in the previous calendar year. This is certainly a worthy goal and one that will continue, but it alone does not reflect the excellence we seek in fire prevention programs. Over the past seven years, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company of Grinnell, Iowa, has sponsored this prestigious Award and will be doing so again this year. Recipients of the LSA Award will receive a certificate suitable for framing that recognizes your department's accomplishments. The certificate will be signed by the President of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) Fire Research & Education Foundation, the NASFM Fire Research & Education Foundation Executive Director and the President of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.

Many factors combine in a fire prevention program to make our communities and our citizens safer. The Life Safety Achievement Award reflects this key combination of factors. To qualify for the 2011 LSA Award, the Fire Chief must submit an application outlining various aspects of the department's fire prevention efforts. We require that a fire department meet all of the criteria listed below.

Life Safety Achievement Award Criteria:

  • Zero fire deaths or at least a 10% reduction in fire deaths from the previous year.
  • An active fire prevention program in place within your department. Briefly describe your
  • program.
  • Dedicated commitment to fire prevention activities. Briefly describe your department's
  • commitment and the resources committed, which may be financial or in-kind.
  • Evidence by some measure (department-determined) that your fire prevention efforts increased
  • over the previous year and are making a positive difference. Please explain briefly.

The Life Safety Achievement Award campaign for 2011 began in January 2011, and all submitted applications must be received no later than July 31, 2012. Award notification will be made in September,so that you will have it in time for Fire Prevention Week.

If you have any questions about the Life Safety Achievement Award, please submit your inquiry to the RFSI general help line at

To download the 2011 LSA Criteria click here.
To download the 2011 LSA Application click here.

RFSI Announces Release of Bridging the Gap: A Guide to Implementing
a Residential SprinklerRequirement

Fire officials across the country are adopting residential fire sprinkler requirements, but what happens after a jurisdiction adopts a model code or ordinance? Addressing this challenge is the mission of a grant funded project completed by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation) and the Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI).

A comprehensive guide has been developed to help you to answer the question "I have established a residential fire sprinkler requirement - now what?" The guide provides you with the information that you need to know regarding policy issues, stakeholder involvement and critical decision points. Also provided is detailed information on incentives that can be offered to builders, developers and home owners, an extensive listing of sprinkler related industry best practices and sample checklists and other model documents that will be helpful in you implementation process.

Click here to obtain additional information on the Residential Sprinkler Requirement Implementation Guide.

NFPA issues updated Safety Alert regarding antifreeze in sprinkler

NOTE: This Safety Alert replaces previous antifreeze alerts dated July 2010 and August 2010.

Download the latest Safety Alert, issued April 5, 2011 (PDF, 119 KB)

Following reports of a fire incident involving a sprinkler system that contained a high concentration antifreeze solution, research and standards development activities were begun to address concerns raised by the combustibility of antifreeze solutions in residential sprinkler systems. As information became available, NFPA published two successive Safety Alerts providing guidance from NFPA in its role as a safety advocate and announcing Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA sprinkler standards that were issued by the NFPA Standards Council. The TIAs and the additional NFPA guidance offered in those Safety Alerts were interim actions while the responsible standards development Technical Committees reviewed the results of the research and reached consensus on further amendments to the NFPA sprinkler standards.

The sprinkler committees have now completed the review and consideration of the issues related to the use of antifreeze in sprinkler systems and, based on the available information, have reached consensus on four TIAs that were issued by the NFPA Standards Council (PDF, 81 KB) on March 1, 2011. The four TIAs achieve a more comprehensive approach to the treatment of antifreeze in NFPA sprinkler standards, and provide new requirements for the use of antifreeze in both new and existing residential occupancies and in non-residential occupancies as well.

The NFPA Safety Alert Regarding Antifreeze in Residential Sprinklers and more information on this topic can be found at

Quick Links:

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About Residential Fire Sprinklers

You never know when or where a fire will start in your home. What if you could have a firefighter stationed in every room 24 hours a day, ready to stop a fire the minute it broke out? That is what fire sprinklers are - instant firefighters. They are installed in the ceiling or high on a wall and are attached to the same water supply that feeds your home's plumbing fixtures. Residential fire sprinklers are small. In fact, they fit in so well that you have to point them out for people to notice them. How a Fire Sprinkler Works.

An article from Public Management magazine, August 2001 issue:


Since 1982, the OLS Newsletter has brought you current news on issues involving home fire safety in the form of a quarterly hard copy report. We now bring you an updated electronic version that will become the most comprehensive source of breaking news, action alerts and updates on current events related to residential fire sprinklers, carbon monoxide detection, smoke alarms, home fire safety education and other life safety information.

Please subscribe via

You will receive the new OLS News Brief on a monthly basis, and more frequently as news breaks.

We ask that you inform your counterparts that share an interest in home fire safety concerns. We also welcome you to send information to us that is worthy of re-broadcast to our extensive network.

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