BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Firefighters attending a training conference in Biloxi watched a dramatic demonstration Wednesday morning.
Two mock living rooms were torched to show the importance of smoke detectors, and the effectiveness of residential sprinkler systems.
"What we're trying to do is show people the importance of residential sprinklers in their homes," instructor Diane Woods told the group of firefighters.
The demonstration involved two small rooms, complete with recliners couches and lamps. A fire began with newspaper in a waste basket, and flames spread as the temperature soars. The fire quickly consumed the living room.
"Just about everything in that room is combusting now," said Woods. "Smoke alarm went off, in just a matter of seconds. You can now see the smoke."
Moments later, the sprinkler system popped on.
"I hope they'll look at this and see the importance and not look at dollar signs. Nowadays, it's not that expensive to put sprinklers in a home. Most people will go out and sprinkle their lawns, but they won't sprinkle their homes to save their families lives," said Deputy Chief Vincent Payne, with the Biloxi Fire Department.
The instructors also emphasized the role of working smoke detectors.
"We go to more fires where there's a smoke alarm that's been up there for 15 years and it doesn't work. A lot of people don't realize the sensor in a smoke alarm is only good for ten years," said Woods. "You can replace all the batteries you want. But if a sensor is more than ten years old, it's not going to work," said Les Woods.
Dozens of firefighters and fire safety educators from across the region are attending the training conference at the Gruich Community Center in Biloxi.