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General Services Tests Maryland State House Dome Fire Suppression System

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Tomorrow at 9AM, the Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) Facilities Operation and Maintenance staff along with Advance Fire Protection Systems Technicians will conduct a system test on the Maryland State House Dome deluge system. Testing of the deluge system occurs annually to ensure that all components of the fire suppression system are properly functioning.

“The State House Dome is a part of the oldest state capital in continuous use, making the Dome a national treasure,” said DGS Secretary Ellington E. Churchill, Jr. “Regular maintenance of our state-of-the-art fire suppression system is just one aspect of keeping Maryland’s historic dome safe and operational.”

The deluge system is a fixed fire protection system in which pressurized water is released through a pipe system on the outside of the State House Dome. If the detectors or the deluge wiring, more specifically Pyrowire, detects excessive heat or smoke the system will automatically activate. The deluge system disperses water during activation in such a way that from a distance it appears as a mist and is often mistaken for smoke.

The deluge system was first installed in the early 1990s. Two years ago, lightning struck the Dome’s Pyrowire, which caused the system to activate. After the strike, DGS replaced the wiring and installed a new control panel. Our deluge system differs from conventional fire sprinkler systems. In a conventional fire sprinkler system, when activated, all of the nozzles are opened and water flows from all of the nozzles. Our system is activated when heat is detected by the Pyrowire, which is strategically placed on the Dome.


About DGS: The Department of General Services is responsible for essential services and programs administered on behalf of the state, including procuring goods and services; designing, building, leasing, managing and maintaining facilities; leading energy conservation efforts; and providing essential services such as fuel management, disposition of surplus property and records management. The Department of General Services Maryland Capitol Police maintains safety and security at state buildings.