Visitors' objective is safety from fire
Protection group here for convention

Monday, May 18, 1998

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The National Fire Protection Association's 102nd annual fire-safety meeting opened Sunday at the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center downtown, with an array of exhibits ranging from stove smoke-detection systems to piranhas.

The NFPA event features more than 250 exhibitors displaying thousands of products in the fire protection industry. The exhibit continues today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The piranhas are an attraction of Ansul, based in Marinette, Wis., which touts its Piranha fire-attacking restaurant systems. But the deadly fish aside, fire safety was regarded Sunday as a matter of life and death. Possibly yours.

"It's not just the loss of property, but of lives," said J. Paul Rouse of The Guardian, a temperature-sensitive system mounted over a stove that distinguishes fires and automatically turns off the gas and electricity.

The meetings and exhibit are primarily for industry insiders, including Doug Anderton of Knoxville, Tenn., who works for International Equipment Co., a distributor of fire detection systems.

"It's obviously an important topic and the event has been a good one," said Mr. Anderton.

Speakers' sessions will be at 2 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Topics for discussion include: Risk Watch, an NFPA-sponsored fire safety program for children in preschool through grade 8; and Greater Cincinnati's two pedestrian traffic disasters -- the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire and The Who concert stampede.

Three out of four fire fatalities in North America are caused by smoke inhalation, and 94 percent of those occur before firefighters arrive, according to Brookdale International Systems, a Vancouver-based firm.

For more information, call (800) 344-3555.

Erica LeBorgne contributed to this story.



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