Summit brings together fire safety stakeholders

LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) If you were driving in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Tuesday afternoon, you may have noticed a raging fire just off Interstate 89. It was intentionally started to spark a conversation.

It started as small flame in a residential living room as fire officials watched nearby. In a matter of minutes, it turned into a raging inferno that needed to be knocked down. In another simulation, a small flame is quickly extinguished by a sprinkler system.

"Residential sprinklers do play a very important measure in fire safety," said Vermont State Fire Marshal Michael Desrocher.

But, residential sprinklers for single family homes are not required in Vermont or New Hampshire. "Public education is one of our most effective fire prevention tools," Desrocher said.

The Fire Safety and Carbon Monoxide Awareness and Prevention Summit brings together stakeholders in both New Hampshire and Vermont.

"We lose about six folks a year -- and two on average -- to carbon monoxide death," said New Hampshire Fire Marshal Paul Parisi.

Earlier in the day, a dog trained to sniff out accelerants put her skills to the test.

"We have a number of vendors here today that help support this effort and make sure that we can get the message out there," Parisi said.

The summit began a couple of years back after a carbon monoxide scare in Norwich. While it focuses on prevention, it also strengthens the partnership between between first responders.

"I would like to believe that there is no boundary between the states when it comes to safety," Desrocher said.

"Every year, across the United States, it's estimated that about 3,000 people die due to fire. Organizers of the summit say drawing attention to those numbers can help save lives.