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Sprinkler System Saves Unmanned Shop and Contents

 Annapolis Fire Department

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- The Annapolis Fire Department is a mostly career, all-hazards emergency service agency that provides fire suppression, EMS, technical rescue response, Hazmat response, WMD response, marine rescue/firefighting, and bomb squad services to an urban jurisdiction that covers approximately seven square miles.

Annapolis is a historic town that includes all of the government offices for the state of Maryland, county and city offices for Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy. Although the full-time live-in population is approximately 36,000, with visitors and workers, the population increases to more than 100,000 people on a daily basis.

This department consists of three stations and three volunteer companies with 137 sworn personnel supported by six civilian staff. Each station serves approximately one-third of the jurisdiction and population as a first-due area.

The Forest Drive Station houses the Headquarters office and the senior staff of the department as well as all data storage and files.

The sprinkler system would help mitigate the possibility of a catastrophic fire crippling the functions of this department and disrupting services to the jurisdiction. The department also needed a new generator because the existing backup generator was old and unreliable. It needed to be replaced before a catastrophic failure impacted safety and ability to respond to all hazards' calls. In addition, since the Maintenance Division is housed in the Forest Drive Station, any interruption would delay services by slowing down repairs to their equipment and increasing expenses by forcing work to be sent out to other facilities.

We received Assistance to Firefighters Grant in December of 2005 for the back-up generator and retrofitted sprinkler system. Within several days of the new generator being installed, they had a loss of electricity that resulted in the unit being called into service. Then, to their amazement, only eight days after the completion of the installation of the sprinkler system, they had a fire in the station. At 4:38 am on June 9, 2007, they had a box alarm for the Maintenance Shop - the first alarm ever in that 34 year-old Forest Drive Station.

Luckily, the new sprinkler system activated and saved the building as well as two new SUV units that were in the shop to have radios installed prior to being placed into service. Amazingly, this very scenario was cited in the grant narrative as a concern to justify their request for the funds. Without the system, they potentially could have lost the maintenance equipment, two new vehicles and use of the Maintenance Shop. The fire investigators believe the fire would possibly have burned through the roof before they would have known had it not been contained by the sprinkler system.

In a letter to DHS, Annapolis Fire Chief Jerome W. Smith stated, "Our department owes a huge debt of gratitude to you and your organization." Not only had the system saved the new SUVs in the maintenance shop and lessened the damage to the station by containing the fire, but it also kept the fire from spreading to the crew quarters where the personnel were sleeping. They were very fortunate to have the sprinkler system functional before this fire began.

What They Bought With The Grant:

  • Sprinkler System
  • Alarm Monitoring Panel
  • Back Flow Preventer
  • Backup Generator
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Last updated February 11, 2021