A pair of brothers in Quincy are living proof of that age-old adage
Demond and Michael Dade have worked together for the Quincy Fire Department for about six years.
Demond noticed a problem with activated sprinkler systems.
They can cause a lot of water damage during non-emergency situations.
They also can create hazardous conditions for firefighters trying to shut them off.
Rather than accepting the problem as just part of the job, the brothers invented a solution.
And that solution has evolved into an invention that can benefit not only fire departments, but also businesses and homeowners.Demond Dade said, "A little more than six years ago, we had an activated sprinkler head at an apartment complex here in town. It started out as one of the rookies shutting off the system. We were getting a kick at how wet he was getting. I thought, 'There's gotta be a better way than this.' I started working on a tool that would help us not get as wet and keep water out of our faces."
Demond came up with a tool called the Mul-T Wedge. Here's how it works - say a sprinkler system has been activated accidentally or that a sprinkler head comes on in a room that doesn't have a fire. Rather than having to wait until the whole system gets shut off, which could take several minutes, a firefighter, resident or maintenance worker sticks the Mul-T Wedge into the sprinkler head to prevent water damage, not to mention conserve water.
Mike Dade said, "We have a three to four minutes response time to anywhere in Quincy. A sprinkler head puts out 25 to 30 gallons of water per minute. The beauty of sprinkler systems is obviously to protect people from fires, but there's nothing that can protect people from water damage once it's been activated, especially in a non-emergency."
The brothers originally came up with the idea to help keep firefighters safer when sprinkler systems are spraying them in the face. But they soon discovered another use for businesses and residential customers after talking with business owners who had had minor fires.
Demond Dade said, "They say the fire damage was minimal to none, but they lost tons of merchandise from water damage."
Demond said that's because many times, sprinkler systems don't come with a way for consumers to shut them down on their own.
"The sprinkler heads have no discretion," Demond Dade said. "We can come into a building and open our nozzle and put 10 gallons of water on a fire and put it out. A sprinkler system is going to continue to run until it's been shut down."
The Mul-T Wedge came about through a lot of legal legwork, prototypes and product development, but the Dade brothers persevered and made it happen. Now, their invention is patented and has even been featured in this Fire Rescue Magazine. You can find a lot more information about the Mul-T Wedge by logging onto www.multwedge.com.