'Sprinklers save lives,' Twin Cities firefighter demonstrates the importance of sprinklers

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“Sprinklers save lives,” is the message Twin Cities firefighters are trying to get across.

The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) gave a demonstration, showing the importance of early warning and suppression, which are smoke detectors and fire sprinklers. 

NFSA is demonstrating side-by-side a room with and without fire sprinklers. They're making a point after a deadly high-rise fire killed five people in Minneapolis last November. 

The building was built too early to require sprinklers by law, according to NFSA. 

“The other thing this demonstration will show is the power and how fast fire is,” said Shane Ray, President of the local National Fire Sprinkler Association. 

They set both on fire to show the different outcomes.

The fire sprinklers in this first demo room act fast. It sprays 13 gallons every minute right above the source. Seconds later, it's nearly out. When firefighters arrive, they only need to tackle small hot spots.

“The sprinkler system won't completely put out the fire, but it gives us time to actually get in there, put the fire out, and save lives,” said Minneapolis Fire Department Capt. Daniel Olson.

Without those sprinklers, all you see are smoke and flames. Firefighters arrived within minutes, but by then it's too late.

“The changes of survival drops significantly,” said Olson. “You see a lot of smoke right away, and that's fuel for the fire to continue to get hotter and hotter. Those gases are poisonous, for anyone in that room at that time if they couldn’t get out, chances are they wouldn't survive.”

NFSA is making a case to add safety precautions, saying it'll give every person caught in a fire a better chance of making it out alive.

The issue could be addressed at the State Capitol this session. One bill being considered would require high rise buildings above 75 feet to have sprinklers by 2032.