The Travels of the Trailers

The first half of 2022 has been the busiest six months for the National Fire Sprinkler Association’s Live Fire Sprinkler Demonstration Training Trailer(s). Before we get to the travels of the trailer, let us discuss why the trailers where created and what they can provide. Valve trailers are not a new concept for NFSA as we have many other trailers with different systems installed in them that are located all around the country. The Live Fire Sprinkler Demonstration Training Trailers, as there are two were one of the first projects I worked on after joining NFSA. The concept of the valve trailer is live fire service training, but the trailer has expanded capabilities. Most trailers are designed with the mindset to aid in training the fire sprinkler industry, these trailers go a few steps further in their audience. Not only are they an asset to the training of operational fire service but these trailers have had audiences from everyone that the fire sprinkler industry touches.

There are several things that make these trailers stand out and different from many of the other valve trailers. These trailers were designed to highlight most of the common systems found in buildings with all systems being fully functional. The 24 ft. Trailer has a fully functional double check backflow, combined manual wet standpipe system, Class I, II, and III standpipes with pressure-reducing hose valves, both field adjustable and factory set. A pressure-restricting hose valve and a standard hose valve. Two looped floor control assemblies, a wet system, dry system, and double interlock pre-action with cross zone detection. It also has an automatic air release, corrosion monitoring, test and drain and nitrogen air supply. Finally, it also has a 13D residential tank and pump system. All these systems can be isolated to control the fire that can be set in the 7ft x 7ft burn room.

Starting in December of 2021 the first stop was in Charlotte NC where over three days twelve downtown engine companies were able to participate in 90-minute sessions of automatic fire sprinkler/standpipe system training. In these 90-minute sessions the groups, typically comprised of around eighteen students, divided in half one group discussed what to expect from standpipe systems and hose valves and the other group discussed the basics of the wet, dry, and pre-action system operation and use of each. About halfway through the 90 mins the two groups will switch. These programs are all customizable for the audience, for example when the audience is inspection technicians the conversation will be based on their roles and responsibilities.

From Charlotte the trailer moved to Pensacola for the Highrise Operations Conference (HROC) and was additionally used for three ITM training conferences in Fort Walton, Daytona, and Tampa. The trailer was also used for two private hands-on classes in Florida.  One of the best events was in Haines City, yes you guessed it again in Florida. This is the Future Builders of America annual conference. This conference is a four-day trade school camp for high school students that want to learn about different trades. The camp consists of plumbing, HVAC, electrical, carpentry and now fire sprinklers to name a few. From there we went to Raleigh NC for a two-session class for the local Building Owners and Managers (BOMA) chapter then back to Charlotte where all thirty-seven additional metro fire engine companies participated in training. The trailer was then taken to Nashville, where it will eventually complete a four-city tour and end in Des Moines Iowa in August. While this trailer was heading to Nashville, the second trailer made a tour to Columbus Ohio, Indianapolis Indiana, and Plainfield Indiana before returning to Baltimore.

There are three more trailers coming online this year, two which of will be similar valve trailers and the third will be a 39ft residential valve trailer with multiple 13D systems show casing different ways to install residential systems using different piping materials.