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Pamela Elliott


Burn survivor describes human impact of fire

Burn survivor Pamela Elliott addresses attendees at NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Durham, North Carolina.

Burned in a house fire when she was five years old, Pamela Elliott has become an important voice in the push for home fire sprinkler requirements. She told attendees at NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit that her physical scars--she suffered third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body--were no match for her emotional wounds the fire caused later in life. "I became an angry, snotty, bitter woman," she says.

Discovering her life's purpose, Elliott persevered and became a nurse in a number of fields. Following the completion of sprinkler advocacy training by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, she's become a vocal supporter for sprinkler requirements. An op-ed she penned in 2014 was commended by NFPA and other safety groups and showcases the power of standing strong in support of sprinklers in new homes.

"I've learned many things on this journey," she told summit attendees. "I'm not defined by my scars. I'm defined by my heart and mind. It's my hope that the work that you do will prevent you from ever hearing another story like mine."

 Download Elliott's summit presentation.