Fire Sprinkler Installation Facts

If you’ve wandered through any commercial building, you’ve likely seen evidence of fire sprinkler installation in the form of sprinkler heads poised here and there in each and every area. Building owners install these in hopes that they’ll never need to be used. If they are needed, however, fire sprinklers are a powerful weapon against a fire. In fact, they’re one of the most effective fire protection strategies available. Here are some interesting facts about these nifty little devices and why we rely so much on fire sprinkler installation in the event of a flaming emergency.

The Numbers

Fire sprinklers have been used since at least 1874. In those days, there was a big problem with devastating fires breaking out in mills, destroying property and taking lives. Back then, property owners didn’t install fire sprinkler systems to save money on insurance; they did it because they recognized that they were extremely effective at saving lives and property.

On the whole, fire sprinkler installation isn’t very expensive. In fact, it’s estimated at about 1% of the total cost of constructing a building.

How much does it take to tamp down a fire? Often, it’s just a single sprinkler. In fact, fires can be controlled by just one sprinkler 90% of the time, studies show. Although sprinkler systems are installed to provide maximum coverage (because you never know where a fire will break out), this shows you that each tiny sprinkler head packs a real punch.

How They Work

Despite the myths, sprinkler systems don’t react to smoke. (They wouldn’t be a very effective fire protection system if they did; entire rooms would get sprayed if someone simply burned a piece of toast). What they do react to, however, is extremely high levels of heat. Once the heat reaches a certain level, the tiny glass bulb inside nearby heads will break, allowing the water to flow out.

Other myths insist that when a fire happens, the entire sprinkler system will go off. This is also not true, as (remember the last fact?) the heads are activated by heat breaking the glass bulbs inside of them.

People often worry about sprinkler systems going off accidentally, but this happens extremely rarely. Because of the glass bulb function of the heads, unless the head is whacked or damaged in some way, they’re unlikely to trigger or leak. Routine maintenance and inspection of the sprinkler system by fire protection professionals can help ensure this.

They Save Lives

Fire Sprinkler System RepairInstalling a fire sprinkler system really can make you safer, and the statistics prove it. In fact, people with sprinkler systems installed in their homes are 80% less likely to die if a fire breaks out.

Despite perceptions, sprinkler systems aren’t just for commercial buildings. Because new homes burn much faster than existing older homes, fire safety experts now recommend fire sprinkler installation for brand new residential construction.

Elderly people and small children (under the age of 5) are put in the most danger when a fire breaks out, as they often lack the physical ability or emotional knowhow to escape a blazing structure. Because sprinkler systems go to work even before rescue personnel can arrive, these systems help save the lives of the most vulnerable young and older people.

Fire protection experts consider installation of a fire sprinkler system to be the number one most effective way to fight a fire once it breaks out. Unlike smoke detection systems (which, while extremely important and necessary, only warn occupants of a fire), sprinkler systems start putting out a fire before the fire department can arrive. This saves time…which can also save lives.

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