BALTIMORE - Officials with the Red Cross say house fires kill more people every year than all other natural disasters combined.
A reality that Sher Grogg is all too familiar with. She lost her brother, sister-in-law, and their four grandchildren in a fire in Annapolis back in January 2015, and since she has made it her mission to educate others about fire safety.
"I just want to let people know how fast fire is and how it doesn’t discriminate. Fire can get anyone, anytime, and you need to be prepared and take it seriously,” Grogg explained.
This week, firefighters across the country are bringing attention to what steps people can take to prevent house fires. Firefighters say that installing both smoke alarms and a sprinkler system can help reduce the chance of dying in a house fire.
“Fire is fast, and that is what we want to display during fire prevention week. Fire is fast but fire sprinklers buy you time,” said Chief Shane Ray with the National Fire Sprinklers’ Association said.
Ray says in recent years fire has become more toxic and spreads quicker because of the materials used in modern items and construction. He said the key to saving your life is an early warning, early suppression, and emergency response. All of this can be done with a smoke alarm and sprinkler system.
“Fire sprinklers could have possibly saved my families life and I want people to understand that they are important,” Grogg said. “They had smoke alarms that were wired to the security system so the emergency services got the information right away and it still wasn’t enough time to save their lives.”
It only took three minutes for Grogg's families house to be engulfed in flames.
To show people the drastic difference a sprinkler system can make, the fire department set up a side by side comparison of a fire with sprinklers and one without.
You can see in the video the fire with sprinklers is quickly extinguished, while the other fire continues to grow.
Chief Ray said 96 percent of the time a sprinkler will contain the fire to the room of origin.
Homes that are built now are required by law to install a sprinkler system, but older houses are not. While it costs twice as much to install a fire sprinkler system into an older home, it could be the difference of life or death.