Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci has long been a vocal advocate of residential fire sprinkler legislation in Maryland. Throughout his career in the Maryland fire service, he has excelled in educating about the importance of fire sprinklers from the perspective of the fire service as a life-saving tool that is not only beneficial, but necessary.
For all his contributions to the fire protection industry, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) is proud to honor Geraci with its 2020 Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year award. Geraci has served in the fire service in Maryland since 1973, with eyes set on being a fire investigator.
Sprinkler system testing
Throughout his fire service career, leading up to his current position as the Maryland State Fire Marshal, his training for positions he's held has aided in Geraci's knowledge of sprinkler systems, sprinkler system testing, and other aspects of fire protection systems.
Maryland is currently one of two states in the United States that require residential fire sprinklers in new homes. Geraci was instrumental in getting this initial legislation passed in 2012 and defense of it in 2015, but he hasn't stopped there. Geraci still sees room for improvement in the existing legislation, and works to advocate for additional legislation to help with the enforcement side of the initial mandate. "We needed an enforcement arm to [the legislation]," says Geraci.
Residential fire sprinklers
Residential sprinklers are in place here in Maryland; they aren't going anywhere"
The result of this call for a more defined system of enforcement and who should be doing the enforcing of the existing laws is the recent passing of Maryland House Bill 823 and Senate Bill 746 that will take effect on October 1, 2020.
These laws will require the state fire marshal to enforce any requirements relating to the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in new one- and two-family dwellings. "Residential sprinklers are in place here in Maryland; they aren't going anywhere. We're saving lives and they're clearly making a difference," reinforces Geraci. With the new legislation in place, Geraci's office, now more than ever before, will be involved with fire sprinklers through enforcing and ensuring that each new home is outfitted with the life-saving technology of residential fire sprinklers.
Fire protection industry
His list of contributions to the fire protection industry, while already lengthy, will only continue to grow as the new legislation takes effect. AFSA created the Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year award to honor individuals not directly involved in the fire sprinkler industry whose efforts have significantly advanced the fire protection industry and automatic fire sprinklers. Nominees are recommended by AFSA's Legislative Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.
Due to COVID-19, alternative plans were made to present the award to Geraci. The award is typically presented during the general session at the annual AFSA Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition, which was postponed this year due to the global pandemic.