!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c77888bb970b-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c77888bb970b-320wi|alt=Silver sprinkler angle|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Silver sprinkler angle|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c77888bb970b img-responsive!An unfortunate lesson was learned in Maryland, a state with sprinkler ordinances in all of its counties. During a recent fire in a sprinkler-protected home in the city of Bowie, modifications to the home hampered the sprinkler's performance, resulting in fire injuries to the homeowners.
According to a news release by the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), a dropped ceiling blocked the fire sprinklers, thus impacting its ability to perform. "Sprinkler systems in houses are essentially maintenance free," said Jason Webb, NFSA's director of Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance. "But when you make modifications that block the fire sprinklers, you have a recipe for disaster."
Bowie is one of the towns in Maryland's Prince George's County, which enacted a sprinkler requirement for newly constructed residences more than two decades ago. During that time, there's been an average of nine fire fatalities, but not a single one has occurred in a sprinklered occupancy, said Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.
Having a qualified fire sprinkler contractor present during home upgrades and modifications can prevent outcomes like the one in Bowie, notes NFSA.
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Learn about all of the successes in Prince George's County since its sprinkler requirement was enacted by downloading a report produced in part by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.