Fires can be devastating and fatal, but they do not have to be. Fire sprinkler systems were effective at controlling the fire in 97% of home fires between 2015-2019.1 Installing a fire sprinkler system is a practical way to keep people and firefighters safe from the risks of fires.
a picture of a fire sprinkler system spraying water on fire
A fire sprinkler system is a type of automatic extinguishing system (AES) that prevents fire growth and spread by releasing water through a series of sprinkler heads connected to a distribution piping system. Water is released through the sprinkler heads once the surrounding air reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an active protection method that can contribute to the safety of firefighters and those they work to protect.
Although these systems provide protection, they are not present in every structure. Fire departments responded to an average of 51,000 structure fires per year from 2015-2019.1 Only 10% of those structures had fire sprinkler systems.1 Additionally, most structure fires and fire deaths occurred in homes, but only 7% of all home fires had sprinklers.1
Ensure buildings have functioning fire sprinkler systems
Civilian fire death and injury rates are lower when fire sprinkler systems are present compared to reported fires in structures with no AES.1 The rate of firefighter injuries was also lower when sprinklers were present.1 Commercial structures (like warehouses or office buildings) are required to have fire sprinkler systems. However, some fire sprinkler systems failed to operate, primarily due to the system being shut off.1 The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program notes that functioning fire sprinkler systems can decrease the effect of a fire by reducing fire spread and in some instances, extinguishing a fire.
The lack of a fire sprinkler system has contributed to firefighters’ deaths. Firefighters are better protected when there is a fire sprinkler system in place to control the fire spread. Controlling fire spread allows firefighters to better perform their jobs safely because the fire is less aggressive. Property owners can be proactive by having a fire sprinkler system installed. If there is a fire, being prepared with a fire sprinkler system can help create a less severe outcome.
Require, inspect, and track
Being proactive in fire prevention is not limited to having a fire sprinkler system. The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program recommends that municipalities, building fire code officials, and authorities having jurisdiction should consider the following actions:
These recommendations could apply to commercial and industrial structures like warehouses, strip malls, and factories as well as residential structures like apartments and single-family dwellings that are converted to multifamily dwellings. Commercial or industrial structures may have high risk high hazard inventory such as furniture, lumber, and other flammable products. The added risk highlights the importance of acting on these recommendations.
uildings housing computer centers should be of made of noncombustible construction materials to reduce the chance of fire. These facilities must be continuously monitored for temperature, humidity, water leakage, smoke, and fire. Most building codes today require that sprinkler systems be installed.
Remember that water and electrical equipment do not mix. It is preferable to install a dry pipe sprinkler rather than a wet pipe system. Dry pipe systems only allow water into the pipes after heat is sensed. This avoids potential wet pipe problems, such as leakage. In addition, fast-acting sensors can be installed to shut down electricity before water sprinklers are activated. Sprinkler heads should be individually activated to avoid widespread water damage.
Another type of fire-suppression system uses chemicals instead of water. The two approved types of chemical were
A sprinkler system consists of pipes along a ceiling that contain water under pressure, with an additional source of water for a constant flow. Attached to the pipes, automatic sprinklers are placed at select locations. When a fire occurs, a seal in the sprinkler head ruptures at a pre-established temperature, and a steady stream of water flows.
Research compiled by Hall (2011) shows that sprinklers are an effective and reliable fire suppression strategy for buildings. However, he writes that sprinklers are still rare in most places where people are most exposed to fire, including educational buildings, stores and offices, public assembly properties, and especially homes, where most fire deaths occur. Hall notes that sprinklers are 87 percent effective. When a sprinkler system fails, the most frequent reason (65%) is that the system was turned off prior to the fire. Other reasons include manual intervention that defeated the system (16%), maintenance issues (7%), and inappropriate system for the type of fire (5%).
3.1 Investigation of fire safety predictors
The fire safety strategies for almost 1000 fire incidents are investigated in the BC province of Canada. Fig. 2 shows three of the investigated safety strategies for the first 25 fire incidents. In the initial detection strategies, it is found that 67% of the fire incidents were detected visually. It is followed by a smoke alarm device and smoke detector device with 15.6% and 13.9% of the fire incidents, respectively. Regarding the transmission of alarm to fire department, 57.8% of the fires had telephone tie-line to fire department; the coded signal municipal fire alarm system, including telephone and radio systems, is associated with 38.8%, as the second high, of the recorded fires in MURBs. Concerning the taken actions, it is found that around 45% of the fire incidents were extinguished by the fire department. It is followed by fires extinguished by the occupants, which wer
What Does Sprinkler System Mean?
A sprinkler system is a fire fighting device that is installed in buildings as a preventative measure. The sprinkler heads are placed in the ceilings facing toward either the floor or towards any fire hit spots. The other end of the sprinkler system is connected to a number of pipes and a high pressure water supply. A fire sprinkler system is designed to put out a fire during its infancy stage before it develops.
Safeopedia Explains Sprinkler System
Fire sprinkler systems work by way of a heat sensor bulb that is contained in the head of the system. If a fire starts, the heat from the flames will rise to heat the sprinkler sensor. When the heat exceeds a set point, the sensor bulb will break and the water will spray out onto the fire. A sprinkler system is an automatic system.