By Sher Grogg

Fire occurs in scores of homes across America, and it leaves a horrible aftermath.

No one thinks it will happen to them, but approximately 358,300 fires occur in homes every year across America.

On average, nine people die every day in fires, of which seven are at home.  That’s 80% of fire fatalities at home, where you feel safest.

Approximately 15,775 people are injured in fires every day, of which 11,825 are at home.  That’s 75%!

There is a home fire every 86 seconds, in America.

Clearly, you are at your greatest risk of death or injury in a home fire, yet sprinklers are not required in your home.  Why not?  They’re required in schools.  You wouldn’t send your child to a school without fire sprinklers because you want to protect them when they are not with you. Yet, we let them sleep in a home without fire sprinklers, where over 50% of deaths occur overnight, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when our reaction times are slower, and our families are spread out.

Fire sprinklers should be mandated for home safety like seatbelts and airbags are mandated for auto safety.

My family never thought it would happen to us, least of all to my brother’s family who lived in a stone fortress surrounded by water.

But it did, and the six of them were unable to escape.  They all perished in a horrific blaze.

Fire sprinklers were not mandatory when they built their home, and they were not educated on the facts.  Builders will not educate consumers on the facts.

My family had state of the art smoke detectors, wired to the alarm system for fastest response from the fire department.  Yet that, the stone walls, the steel beams, exit doors to outside in each of the rooms they were found in, water surrounding them, and the 85 firefighters on the scene could not save them.

The fact is fire is fast.  Faster now than ever before.  Flashover, the point at which everything in the room combusts, and the room bursts into flames can occur in under three minutes, and did, in my brother’s house that tragic night.

No one survives flashover, and fire departments cannot make it to your home in under ten minutes, on average.  Do the math, flashover in under three minutes, and ten-minute response time.  The only thing that can buy time to follow an escape plan is a home fire sprinkler system, which will slow the fire and allow you the time to escape until firefighters arrive.

You might think I am promoting fire sprinklers because I can gain from it financially, but that is not the case.  I am here to give you the knowledge I didn’t have to save my precious family. I have it now, to save yours.

If I can save a needless death by educating you to the facts, I hope to honor my family’s memory.

Please visit Common Voices and I at for facts and tips for fire safety.

First and foremost, please make sure you have working smoke detectors on all floors of your home, including the basement.  Also have one in the kitchen and at each bedroom door.

Make sure to have, and practice, a fire safety plan with your children both at day and night time.

Lastly, install home fire sprinklers.

I know you still don’t think it will happen to you, but like lotto, it just might.  Don’t roll the dice.  Invest in your family. Trust me, it’s a small price to pay…I wish we had.

Sher and her brother Don

DOITFORDON Holiday Safety Campaign