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The Philip J. DiNenno Prize Awarded to the Affordable Home Smoke Alarm
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Flashpoints: The Philip J. DiNenno Prize Awarded to the Affordable Home Smoke Alarm

In June, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognized the affordable home smoke alarm as the technical achievement to win the inaugural Philip J. DiNenno Prize. The award and $50,000 in prize money was presented at the NFPA Conference & Expo to Lyman Blackwell, who co-developed the smoke alarm with the late Duane Pearsall.

The prestigious DiNenno Prize recognizes important innovations that have had a significant impact on public safety, including building, fire, and electrical safety. The prize is named for the late Philip J. DiNenno for his extraordinary contributions to fire safety.

The affordable home smoke alarm was developed in the 1960s by Pearsall and Blackwell, who recognized a need for an inexpensive and easy-to-install smoke detector that could bring fire safety to every household. Assisted by many team members, they realized their goal when the new, battery-powered home smoke alarm entered the marketplace in 1972. The percentage of U.S. homes with smoke alarms increased from 22 percent in 1977 to 96 percent in 2010.

"The affordable home smoke alarm is one of the most important fire safety inventions of our time, helping save tens of thousands of lives in home fires,” said Jim Pauley, NFPA president. "With the inaugural DiNenno Prize, we honor this essential innovation and all those who helped realize the vision for the affordable home smoke alarm, and we honor Phil DiNenno who was one of the greatest leaders in fire and life safety.”

In honor of the late Philip J. DiNenno, the highly regarded former CEO of Hughes Associates who passed away in 2013, NFPA established the DiNenno Prize in 2014. A prize committee considers nominations submitted from around the world.

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