Innovators of water mist fire suppression technology honoured by NFPA

water mist fire suppression system

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Technology Leaders To Receive Accolades at the Annual NFPA Conference & Expo

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced the winners of the 2023 Philip J. DiNenno Prize. Four individuals have been recognised for their instrumental roles in the creation and application of the groundbreaking Water Mist Fire Suppression Technology.

The recipients of this esteemed award are Göran Sundholm, Gerard (Jerry) Back, Jack Mawhinney, and Magnus Arvidson.

Disruptive Technology for Fire Suppression

First introduced approximately three decades ago, the water mist fire suppression technology was a revolutionary response to the demand for a safer, effective and environmentally responsible fire suppression system. This technology was a substitute to the ozone-depleting halon gas systems, which were previously widely used.

Originally intended for utilisation on marine vessels, this innovative technology has now become an indispensable asset for securing spaces susceptible to water damage by traditional fire suppression systems such as places of cultural importance, art galleries, passenger railway carriages, and commercial computer and data storage rooms.

Honouring Visionaries

Each of this year’s DiNenno Prize winners have contributed significantly to the development and advancement of this technology.

Göran Sundholm, founder of the MariGroup companies, was praised for his “visionary leadership”. Sundholm boasts an impressive portfolio of patents covering the design, manufacturing, testing, and installation of numerous systems. He is particularly noted for developing and patenting the Hi-Fog water mist technology.

Gerard (Jerry) Back, a seasoned fire protection engineer at Jensen Hughes, was recognised for his leadership and research in water mist technology applications, particularly for military vessels. His remarkable achievements include the invention of the “Navy” water mist nozzle, adopted by the US Navy for machinery space protection.

Jack Mawhinney, a retired fire suppression research engineer, was lauded for his research and for designing fine water mist suppression systems for challenging oil-field processing locations in the Alaskan North Slope.

Lastly, Magnus Arvidson, a fire protection engineer at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), has made noteworthy contributions to water mist and sprinkler testing and research. Arvidson’s work has greatly influenced the development and application of water mist fire suppression systems.

Celebrating Achievements at the Annual NFPA Conference & Expo

The esteemed Philip J. DiNenno Prize is a notable honour that recognises innovative strides that significantly impact building, fire, and electrical safety. The prize includes a monetary award of $50,000 and honours the late Philip J. DiNenno, former CEO of Hughes Associates, for his exceptional contributions to fire safety.

This year’s winners will receive their awards at the “Stars at Night” ceremony during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on Sunday, 18 June.

Moreover, the Conference & Expo will host a special panel on the morning of 19 June, which will focus on the pivotal role fire mist systems play in fire protection. The panel will feature all four award winners as panelists.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The NFPA is a global, self-funded, non-profit organisation established in 1896. It is committed to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The association disseminates information and knowledge through over 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy. For more information visit

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