What is the best way for people to understand what a home fire sprinkler system looks like and how it works? Show them a display with all of the components. Thanks to a generous donation from AGF Manufacturing, Inc. along with other industry partners, fire departments throughout the country are doing just that, building home fire sprinkler displays and using them for community outreach.
It all started when the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) received a grant from State Farm to develop a comprehensive guide for building a full-scale NFPA 13D sprinkler display. The result was a kit for fire departments that included a material and tools list, step-by-step instructions, various riser designs and suggested component labels. At the time, HFSC worked with the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB), which had built dozens of the displays to educate builders, local officials and the community in areas where home fire sprinklers were required.
Soon, word spread nationally, and HFSC added the displays as an option to their stipend award program, which was initially only underwriting construction of fire and sprinkler side-by-side demos for local home fire sprinkler education. When AGF Manufacturing learned about the display guide and stipend program in 2018, the company offered to donate display risers to stipend recipients.
“AGF has been in business for over 34 years and the industry has grown but there is still work needed,” says AGF president Jim McHugh. “One death or injury because of fire is too many.”
AGF Manufacturing is a designer and manufacturer of fire protection products for commercial and residential fire sprinkler systems worldwide. “As an active member in several industry associations, we learned of the program and saw a need that our residential RiserPACK could easily fill,” McHugh says. During the first year, AGF donated more than 40 RiserPACKs.
After receiving feedback from fire departments that used HFSC’s guide, AGF offered to simplify the design and assembly. McHugh assigned AGF intern Ryan Overton, an engineering major, to review HFSC’s display guide. He streamlined the guide directions and created a prototype that would become the next generation of donated RiserPACKs.
HFSC’s 13D Display Kit now includes the updated guidance, the AGF RiserPACK with Potter Flow Switch, the pressure gauge and drain valve. It also includes Viking sprinklers and CPVC pipe, Watts backflow preventer and Potter alarm. The additional components were donated by Viking, Watts and Potter.
“Since we make products that are code compliant, we have an extensive understanding of NFPA 13D,” McHugh explains. “We realized we could streamline the process to gain participation and further spread the message of the importance of sprinklers. Ultimately the goal was to give a set of instructions that only requires the fire department to fabricate the basic wood structure of the display and AGF will provide all other necessary components.”
AGF plays a vital role supporting HFSC and, ultimately, fire departments, which are using the displays to increase awareness about the role of home fire sprinklers and community risk reduction. This year, 21 fire departments will receive the RiserPACK and all sprinkler components to build a 13D Display.
Feedback on the RiserPACK donations has been very positive. Mystic, CT Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Manfredi expressed his thanks to AGF, the other manufacturers that donated material, State Farm and HFSC for providing the resources to build the NFPA 13D display.
“This Display will allow us to educate the homeowner and communities using a live prop which gives a real-life scenario. The Display will not only serve as a training prop, but it will leave a lasting impression on the people that will come in contact with it. This is a great tool to use at all kinds of events and meetings which will enhance the reasons why home fire sprinklers are so important and how they save lives every day,” Chief Manfredi said. “Great job to all involved!”
Of AGF’s contribution, Harnett County (NC) Emergency Services Fire Marshal Rodney Daniels says, “Your generous donation and support enables us to dispel myths about 13D systems, demonstrate their simplicity and educate our citizens about the lifesaving benefits of installing residential sprinklers.”
McHugh says AGF is interested in going beyond the fire service, and willing to donate products to fire protection schools that further the industry. One display was built and donated by AGF to the IAFF Local 3610 in West Windsor, New Jersey.
“The fire departments have all been grateful for the donation. We love seeing their displays on social media and hope they will tag us so we can see the end results,” McHugh says in closing. AGF can be found on Facebook, Twitter and on LinkedIn.
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