Fire Sprinkler Systems: What Can Go Wrong?

Automatic sprinkler systems are often considered the most significant component of a building fire protection strategy. When properly designed, installed and maintained, an automatic sprinkler system can control a fire and significantly reduce deaths, injuries and property damage. However, sprinkler systems have their limitations, and their performance can be affected by factors not linked to the initial design or installation of the sprinkler system. This article explores automatic sprinkler system failure data to identify and discuss causes of unsatisfactory sprinkler performance.

Historical fire losses provide experiences that shape current fire protection design methodologies, design criteria and defense strategies. Significant lessons learned have been extracted from post-fire investigations of major losses of life and/or property despite protection by an automatic sprinkler system. These post-fire loss investigations revealed not only the cause of the fires but causes associated with unsatisfactory sprinkler system performance. Unsatisfactory performance includes failure to operate, as well as ineffectiveness to control a fire and limit damages to life and property.

Generally, sprinkler systems are considered reliable and effective when properly designed, installed and maintained. Research shows that in most cases, when sprinklers are functional, they are successful in containing a fire.

Make sure your sprinklers are ready when they are called upon by partnering with Protegis Fire & Safety.

Fire Sprinkler System Facts

Earlier this week, we covered some myths and facts about fire sprinklers. Here are some more interesting facts about fire sprinkler systems.

  • Automatic fire sprinklers have been in use in the U.S. since 1874.
  • Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages.
  • When one fire sprinkler head goes off to fight a fire the entire sprinkler system does NOT activate.  Sprinklers react to temperature in individual rooms. Fire sprinklers do not set off all at the same time, no matter what you see in the movies.
  • The chances of a fire sprinkler accidentally going off are extremely remote.
  • Installations of fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums.
  • Sprinklers save water since they use a lot less water than fire hoses.
  • Fire can become deadly in three minutes.
  • Fire sprinklers can keep damage to a single room.
  • Fire sprinklers can save lives by dramatically reducing the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire.
  • Smoke cannot set off a fire sprinklers.
  • The elderly and the disabled are the most at risk of injury or death, fire sprinklers allow them time to evacuate.
  • Only the fire sprinkler nearest the fire will activate.
  • Fire sprinklers are very low maintenance.
  • Don’t paint the fire sprinklers you might cause them to not work properly.
  • Home sprinklers are smaller than commercial and industrial sprinklers.
  • Sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 71% per fire.
  • Sprinklers are affordable.

For more information about how you can get your building protected with a sprinkler system, contact Protegis Fire & Safety.