Fire Sprinklers – Myths & Facts

Automatic fire sprinklers have been used 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. Fire can become deadly in three minutes, which make the elderly and disabled particularly at risk of injury or death. Fire sprinklers allow them more time to evacuate. Sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 71% per fire.  

In some popular movies, a character may escape a bad situation by putting a flame under a single sprinkler head and the flame would ignite the entire fire sprinkler system in the room or in a building. This is pure fiction.  In the real world, when one fire sprinkler head goes off due to a flame under it, the entire sprinkler system does NOT activate.  Sprinklers react to temperature in individual rooms. Only the fire sprinkler nearest the fire will activate. Fire sprinklers do not go off all at the same time, no matter what you see in the movies.

Here are some of the other myths about fire sprinklers, and the facts:

  • Myth 1: Smoke can set off fire sprinklers. Fact: Only high heat can set them off.
  • Myth 2: Home fire sprinklers often leak or activate accidentally. Fact: Sprinklers accidentally going off are extremely rare.
  • Myth 3: Fire sprinklers are big, bulky, and too ugly to install in a home or a residential building. Fact: They can actually be made invisible.
  • Myth 4: A smoke alarm is all you need for protection in your home. Fact: Smoke alarms alert people to the presence of danger, but do nothing to extinguish the fire.

Here are some surprising facts about fire sprinklers:

  • Fire sprinklers can limit damage to a single room.
  • Fire sprinklers can save lives by dramatically reducing the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire.
  • Sprinklers save water because they use a lot less water than fire hoses.
  • Installing fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums.
  • Fire sprinklers are very low maintenance.
  • Home sprinklers are smaller than commercial and industrial sprinklers.
  • Home fire sprinklers are affordable.
  • Some fire sprinklers are out of site in the ceiling and they automatically come out and stop the fire from consuming your home and your personal treasures.