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Fire Sprinklers: Myths vs. Facts

Do you have a fire sprinkler system installed in your Maryland, Virginia or Washington, DC building? If not, you should – fire sprinklers are the most effective fire protection systems available. Unfortunately, misconceptions about fire sprinkler systems make some people nervous to install them – however, many of those misconceptions are simply not true! For instance:

Fire Sprinkler Myth #1 – Smoke sets off fire sprinklers

Fire sprinklers are set off by heat, not smoke. If you look carefully at a fire sprinkler head, you’ll notice a little vial of liquid. This liquid expands when it heats up, causing the bulb to burst and allowing water to flow through it. Smoke has no effect on the fire sprinkler. If you were worried about installing a fire sprinkler for this reason, worry no more!

Fire Sprinkler Myth #2 – A fire will set off all of the fire sprinklers in a building

Again, since fire sprinklers are activated by a bulb of liquid bursting, only the fire sprinkler heads that receive significant amounts of heat will go off during a fire. In fact, 81% of building fires only cause one to two sprinklers to activate.

Fire Sprinkler Myth #3 – Fire sprinklers cause excessive water damage

While there is a definite risk of water damage from a fire sprinkler system, think about this – a fire hose can pump a minimum of 150 – 250 gallons of water into your home (some hoses can pump 1000 gallons of water per minute!). Worse yet, they won’t get there until the fire has already been live for several minutes in your home AND there’s no guarantee that by that point even all the water in the hoses will put the fire out! Fire sprinklers pump water at a rate of about 15 – 25 gallons per minute per head, cutting property loss during a fire by one half to two thirds!

Fire Sprinkler Myth #4 – Fire sprinklers are expensive

Fire sprinklers typically amount to 1% – 2% of the average building costs. In addition, most insurance companies offer insurance benefits to companies with properly installed and well maintained fire sprinkler systems.

Fire Sprinkler Myth #5 – Fire sprinklers are ugly

Advances in fire sprinkler technology have allowed fire protection contractors to create fire sprinkler heads that are barely visible or blend in with the rest of the buildings. In fact, many people don’t even notice that the buildings they are in are protected by fire sprinklers!

Other Interesting Fire Sprinkler Facts

  • According to the NFPA, there has never been a multiple casualty fire in a building with a fully installed and well maintained fire sprinkler system.
  • The chances of dying in a fire in a building with a fire sprinkler are reduced by 50% to 75% and the average property loss is reduced by 50% to 66% compared to buildings with no fire sprinkler system.
  • You don’t need to worry about your building’s heating system setting off the fire sprinklers (unless it catches fire!). The lowest temperature required to activate most fire sprinklers ranges from 150 – 165 degrees – levels of heat only a fire would produce.

If you need to repair or test a fire sprinkler system in your Maryland, Virginia or Washington, DC building, call Guardian Fire Protection today!

Category: Fire Sprinklers