Since 1977, the Manteno Community Fire Protection District has proudly served the surrounding communities out of its Station 1 firehouse. When the fire district first closed on the property, which had previously been home to a school for 50 years, it added apparatus bays to make the building operational. Over the years, minor improvements were made and living quarters were added in 1996, providing a home away from home for firefighters. However, current fire officials felt there was still an important element missing from Station 1. With a large amount of the fire district’s 20 career personnel and 15 paid-on-call personnel serving at Station 1, the fire district wanted to be sure that they were safe and protected by a fire sprinkler system. “After a strategic review of fire district operations, the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives set by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and discussion with the fire district trustees and firefighters, we decided that the Station 1 fire sprinkler and fire alarm project was a high priority for firefighter safety,” says Fire Chief Scott O’Brien. “Keeping our firehouse protected with fire sprinklers also means that we can continue to fulfill our mission of providing life- and property-protection in the community even if we have a fire in our own building.” [caption id="attachment_2140" align="alignright" width="277"] Fire sprinkler plans are reviewed for the fire sprinkler retrofit project at Manteno Community Fire Protection District’s Station 1 firehouse.[/caption] In order to install the fire sprinkler system at Station 1, the fire district applied for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2010 and was awarded with a grant in January 2011. In September 2011, F.E. Moran began installing the fire sprinkler system. According to project supervisor Bob Ellis, there were no challenges with the installation and it went as smoothly as planned. In the office areas of the firehouse, sidewall sprinklers and steel pipe were installed tight to exposed wood beams for a clean look. In the sleeping areas, CPVC pipe was used above the suspended ceiling for a quicker and easier installation. The entire project was able to be completed by the end of 2011 and put into service shortly thereafter. According to Chief O’Brien, the fire sprinkler retrofit project is a clear demonstration of the value of fire sprinklers and sets an example for the approximately 12,500 residents that the fire district serves throughout the Village of Manteno, Manteno Township, Rockville, and a portion of Sumner Township in Kankakee County. The Manteno Community Fire Protection District will be hosting an open house at its newly sprinklered Fire Station 1 on October 7, 2012, along with a side-by-side fire sprinkler demonstration.  ]]>