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Fire Sprinkler Equipment Donation Benefits Training Program for McHenry County Firefighters

By Ken Foszcz, Assistant Fire Marshal, Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District

Bill Dalton (left), apprentice school coordinator, and Dennis Fleming (right), instructor, from Sprinkler Fitters Local #281, which constructed the pre-action sprinkler valve at the McHenry County College's Fire Science Department.

McHenry County College has recently added a special educational aid that will enhance the teaching of sprinkler system operations to firefighters. The college’s fire science program received a fully operating, pre-action sprinkler valve instructional aid, which was constructed and donated by Sprinkler Fitters Local #281 apprentices and Viking Supply. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) coordinated the project, which will further assist firefighter education and training.

The McHenry County College Fire Science Program is the training academy for all fire departments in McHenry County, Illinois. Sixteen fire departments send their recruits there to be educated, trained and certified as firefighters in the State of Illinois. The college also offers a program to attain an Associate Degree in Fire Science.

The Fire Science Program would like to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to Apprentice School Coordinator Bill Dalton, Instructor Dennis Fleming and the apprentices at Sprinkler Fitters Local #281, as well as Cary Nicol and Jeff Norton of Viking Supply. Also, we would like to thank Ryan Syreini from Century Sprinkler for taking time out of his day to explain the operation of the prop to the college staff. A special thanks to Tom Lia of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board for all his help and work in making this project become a reality.

Doug Goostree (left), Department Chair of Fire Science at McHenry County College, and Tom Lia (right), Executive Director of NIFSAB, were both instrumental in coordinating the installation of the pre-action sprinkler valve, which was donated by Viking Supply.

Fire sprinkler systems can save lives and protect property and they are gradually becoming a standard installation in all commercial, industrial and now residential buildings across the country. Sprinkler system knowledge is vital to the training of firefighters and the need to understand sprinkler systems is becoming paramount. Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are more complicated than the typical wet systems and without a visual, operating educational aid it is difficult to explain how they work. The new equipment is an excellent addition to the educational resources of the Fire Science Department at the college.

This project shows the accomplishments that are possible with successful cooperation between organizations. The value of this sprinkler prop will enhance the education of all firefighters for generations to come and will contribute to the overwhelming success of the firefighter training program in McHenry County. Together, we can accomplish our main objective to save lives and protect property.

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