February 13, 2015 – While most Super Bowl commercials aim for humor, Nationwide® opted to focus on reality with a shocking commercial that promoted household safety measures that can prevent the deaths of children.
Common Voices is an organization that understands firsthand that there are preventable child deaths. Common Voices is an advocates’ coalition determined to create a Fire Safe America and supports people who have been impacted by the ravages of fire. We applaud the educational fire safety outreach on Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen campaign website. However, one important life-saving technology is missing — fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers go one step beyond smoke detectors, in that they can actually extinguish a fire and provide occupants with a safe path of escape.
The Nationwide ad can help bring attention to our nation’s fire problem, as well as fire sprinklers as the solution. The insurance company should expand its messaging to include fire sprinklers, especially since most insurance companies, including Nationwide, offer discounts for installing home fire sprinklers.
“There is much that we can do as parents to keep our children safe,” says Common Voices advocate Justina Page from Houston, Texas. “Technology exists and current codes should be in place to make sure people don’t die in fires.” Page understands all too well; she lost her 22-month-old son in a house fire in 1999.
“Why do we have to have tragedy after tragedy when we know what can solve our fire problem? Fire sprinklers are needed today. Too many people are dying because of fire. Let’s work to protect our most vulnerable citizens – our children and the elderly are most at risk.”
Two of the Common Voices advocates are burn survivors who were burned as children. Jeff Jordan was six weeks old and Pam Elliott was five when each of their homes fire occurred. Both are now advocates for life-saving fire sprinkler technology. An additional three of the advocates are mothers who have lost children in fires. Common Voices understands the tragic impact that fires bring to families. However, each advocate has made the decision to become passionate advocates for technology that can save the lives of others.
“It goes without saying that our mission of creating a Fire Safe America is one that provides many challenges,” explains Elliott, who suffered life-threatening burns as a five-year-old. “It’s time for all of us to join together and share information that can prevent future injuries and deaths — we know how to impact these problems and we can make a difference.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association, children, older adults and people with disabilities are at higher risk of dying in a fire. Fire sprinklers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — ready and waiting for a fire that they will control. To date, the U.S. has never seen a multiple loss of life fire in a structure that has a properly installed and properly maintained fire sprinkler system.
Common Voices supports the educational resources available at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (www.homefiresprinkler.org) and also National Fire Protection Association’s “Fire Sprinkler Initiative” (www.firesprinklerinitiative.org).
Additional resources are available at www.fireadvocates.org, www.nfsa.org, www.usfa.fema.gov, and www.strategicfire.org.
To view the Common Voices advocates’ public service announcements, please visit www.fireadvocates.org.
Whether it is Super Bowl Sunday or any other time of the year, we hope that each family will take time to practice fire prevention and include fire safety in their game plan for life.