About this project

On April 8, 2017, a capacity crowd of 200 gathered for a dedication ceremony of the newly installed fire sprinkler system in the home of the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) at the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum.  The system and its companion residential sprinkler mock-up prop were designed to increase awareness and appreciation of why such systems are needed now more than ever.

The Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association (CRFSA) — a chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) — and its members who operate fire sprinkler and life safety companies, donated all aspects of the retrofitted fire sprinkler system, including design and installation.

Anyone interested may visit the NFHC to see the new sprinkler system, which includes features to help emergency services personnel and the general public better understand fire sprinkler installations and how they assure safety from unwanted fire.

Project background

The process leading up to the sprinkler system dedication took 20 months. We believed that we needed an automatic fire sprinkler system to:

  1. Protect our collection from fire.
  2. Demonstrate our support for fire sprinkler systems.

Key individuals like NFHC President Ron Coleman and the late James C. “Robbie” Robertson (a NFHC founding member) had championed this need since the beginning of the NFHC initiative.  It was Chief Ken Gaiser who contacted the National Fire Sprinkler Association’s Shane Ray seeking support for the idea. In August 2015, NFSA/CRFSA representatives agreed to work together to donate services for design and installation of a retrofitted fire sprinkler system for the NFHC.

The completed system showcases various types and styles of sprinkler heads, such as pendent, upright, sidewall/ glass bulb, fusible link/concealed, semi-recessed, etc., with signage to help explain components such as valves, risers, gauges, drains, and a spare sprinkler head box that includes wrenches and spare escutcheon plates.

An accompanying static display alongside the main wet riser area features a standalone dry valve and a pre-action/deluge valve. The display also presents key components of a static residential sprinkler system.  The materials utilized came from various manufacturers. Stressed to visitors are concepts of proper design, installation and maintenance.

The system is complemented by historical aspects of sprinkler technology, equipment and writings from the past 135+ years, including a Parmelee sprinkler head manufactured in 1878.  The Parmelee head, donated by the late Dr. Harry E. Hickey, is considered the first functional sprinkler head.

In appreciation

The NFHC extends its gratitude to the following companies and individuals who made this fire sprinkler system project possible.

  • National Fire Sprinkler Association – funding
  • Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association – funding
  • Livingston Fire Protection of Hyattsville, Maryland – overhead pipe installation
  • Bruce and Matt Boyd of Emmitsburg, Maryland – excavation
  • Reliance Fire Protection of Baltimore, Maryland – underground installation
  • TYCO/Simplex‐Grinnell of Baltimore, Maryland – riser installation
  • Westminster Security of Westminster, Maryland – wireless tamper and flow switches
  • Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum