After suffering severe burns in a commercial airliner crash in 1963, Alan Breslau went on to found The Phoenix Society in 1977. Breslau named his society after the mythical bird that lives for 500 years and then burns, only to rise from the ashes to live again.
The Phoenix Society advocates for burn prevention and recovery efforts. One of their initiatives supports the adoption of model building codes which include sprinklers as a minimum standard for all new home construction throughout the U.S.A. Local and national fire safety experts say widespread use of home fire sprinkler systems could save thousands of lives per year.
According to the Phoenix Society, more than 500,000 people suffer a burn injury that requires medical treatment in the US each year. Of these, more than 4,000 burn injuries are fatal. Since its inception in 1977, the Phoenix Society has worked with burn survivors, families, healthcare professionals, burn centers and the firefighting and safety industries to support recovery from burn injuries as well as to improve the quality of burn care and prevent burn injuries from happening in the first place.
The Phoenix Society promotes the installation of sprinklers in homes, businesses and public buildings as a “first line of defense” against burn injuries. They also ask the public to consider the following statistics:
- Following a 911 call, it takes 9-12 minutes (on average) for a fire department to arrive.
- Within this time, fire in a home or building will almost certainly have spread, resulting in potentially deadly smoke and heat damage.
- More than 3,000 people die and almost 14,000 suffer burn injuries in home fires each year in the US.
The Phoenix Society believes that awareness is a key component in burn prevention. To that end, they provide information through their website, including online video. The organization also encourages citizens to see the following websites for more information about how sprinklers can prevent burn injuries—and save lives: