Sprinkler myths washed away

Monday 21st August 2017

The installation of automatic sprinklers combined with early warning systems in all homes and buildings would reduce injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50 percent. Yet, many of the myths persist when it comes to sprinklers – and could be preventing some buildings from being as safe as they could be.

Here, we take a look at some of the most common myths surrounding sprinklers, why they have an important role to play in the protection of life as well as property, and why they are a lot more dependable than Hollywood would have you believe!

Myth: Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage

FACT: There is no denying that high volumes of water causes damage to property. However, the water damage from a sprinkler system will always be much less severe than the damage caused by either water from firefighting hose-lines, or smoke and fire damage if the fire goes unabated.

Quick response sprinklers release 8 to 24 gallons of water per minute compared to the 50 to 125 gallons per minute released by a firehose.


Myth: Sprinklers can be activated unnecessarily

FACT: Sprinklers are highly reliable devices that are activated by intense heat. They will only go off if there is a fire which increases the heat beyond the defined sprinkler trigger point (typically 135 to 165°F (57.2 to 73.9°C)).

Myth: When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off.

FACT: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head, and 90 percent of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads.

Did you know… A study conducted in Australia and New Zealand covering 82 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82 percent of the fires that occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinklers. (WSRB)

Myth: Smoke Alarms set fire sprinklers off.

FACT: Fire sprinklers and smoke alarm systems are designed to activate according to different conditions. Smoke alarms, give only an audible warning sound when activated; they do not cause sprinklers to flow water. However, in commercial applications where flooding volumes of water are needed to control hazardous areas, pre-action and deluge systems may use smoke detection for early notification and operation.

Myth: Sprinkler systems are not practical in a cold climate because the pipes will freeze and cause water damage.

FACT: In commercial applications, dry pipe (system without water until the system operates) and pre-action sprinklers (system charged with pressurized air) provide an alternative to water-filled pipes.

Myth: Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety.

FACT: Statistics demonstrate that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a building that is fully equipped with sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings and residences could reduce overall injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50 percent. (Buckingham Township)

Myth: If you pull the fire alarm, the fire sprinkler is activated.

FACT: Sorry, film fans – this simply isn’t true (Mean Girls lied to us all!). If a pull station is activated, the fire sprinklers will not go off. A pull station is designed sends a signal to the fire alarm panel -  activating the alarm so that occupants of the building know to get to safety.



Have any questions about sprinklers or the suitability of different products for specific project types? Why not get in touch today?

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