Connecticut Chapter Offers Hands-On Experience at Construction “Career Day” Event
The American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Connecticut Chapter has once again rounded up area youth and raised public awareness of fire sprinklers and the fire sprinkler industry. Earlier this year, members participated in the Association Builders & Contractors’ (ABC) Construction Pro Rodeo May 5-6, 2015. This is the third year the chapter has participated, and this year’s event brought in over 1,500 high school students from across the state.
The Construction Rodeo is a “Career Day” for area students, introducing various trades. The event was held at the Mountain Side Resort in Wallingford and featured 50 booths with hands-on instruction and visual demonstrations. In addition to sprinkler fitters, plumbers, electricians, brick layers, carpenters and equipment operators were given hands-on instructions for each trade.
The chapter conducted a skills competition similar to AFSA’s National Apprentice Competition where apprentices installed a mini sprinkler system. Kieran Leonard, Allstate Fire Systems, Hartford took first place honors and Derrick Ives, Central Connecticut Fire Protection, Meriden placed second.
The chapter’s burn trailer performed over 60 burns during the two-day event, educating students about fire sprinklers and their use today in commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Members also had a hands-on demonstration table where all students could make their own lawn sprinkler out of CPVC pipe and fittings. Steel pipe grooving demonstration was also conducted. Instructors taught them the proper way to prepare and glue the pipe and fittings. Chapter member Bob Hollis, Central Connecticut Fire Protection, Meriden, Connecticut, and 20 contractor and associate members volunteered to bring together all of the activities
“The students participating this year were very interested in our demonstration and their questions were enthusiastic,” states Hollis. “Our emphasis was on fire sprinklers and how they protect life and property as well as employment opportunities in our industry.
“With the loss of many sprinkler fitters due to the economy, these young people could be our future fitters, designers, product salespeople and supply house recruiters.”