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Residential Sprinkler Systems

Facts about Residential Sprinklers:
According to FEMA, fire kills more people in the United States than all natural disasters combined.  On average 4,000 people perish in fires each year.  Tens of thousands are seriously hurt, coping with burn and smoke inhalation injuries for the rest of their lives.  Of those will die in their own homes.  Fire does not discriminate.  Leading causes of fires in both old and new homes are directly related to human behavior, such as:

  • cooking (both attended and unattended)
  • heating fires (including space heaters)
  • careless smoking
  • children playing with matches and lighters

If one sprinkler goes off, don't they all go off?
That is Hollywood’s version. Only the sprinkler over the fire will activate. Sprinklers in each room react to temperatures individually; usually between 155 and 165° F. So, fire in a kitchen will activate only the sprinkler(s) in that room and 90% of fires are stopped by a single sprinkler head. A home fire sprinkler system is like having a firefighter on duty 24 hours a day. Residents have more time to escape while fire sprinklers limit the growth and spread of fire, heat and toxic smoke. Is there any chance the sprinklers will go off accidentally? The modern systems that are used are manufactured and tested to the highest standards and are designed to be installed in the home. The chances of an accidental actuation have been estimated at 1:16,000,000 (one in sixteen million).    

Why do I need sprinklers if I have a smoke detector?  
Smoke detectors will save lives by providing a warning of smoke existence, but they can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. Detectors must be maintained in good working order to help save your life. The combination of smoke detectors and sprinkler systems can reduce the loss of life by 98.5%, which is an increase of 48.5% over smoke detectors alone.  

Do sprinklers cause water damage?  
Sprinklers are designed to start putting water on a fire while it is still small, in the early stages of development, before it gets to the flashover point. If the fire can be extinguished in the early stages, not only will it reduce the water damage, but it will reduce the fire damage too. Not nearly as much water is required a residential sprinkler flows 10 to 25 gallons per minute. The fire department uses hoses that flow 250 gallons per minute or more. The property loss in a home with residential sprinklers is only a fraction of the loss in a home with no sprinklers.If I burn the toast and the smoke alarm goes off will the sprinkler activate? Sprinklers are activated by heat. Smoke from any source including cooking will not activate the sprinkler. Smoke, cooking vapors or steam cannot cause the sprinklers to activate sprinklers only operate in response to the high temperature of a fire.

Arent's sprinkler systems ugly?
Sprinklers can be neatly concealed with no more than a 3/4" cap showing. Custom caps and covers are available in a range of colors. Ceiling and sidewall mount sprinkler heads blend into your home decor, and yet are effective fire protection. Insurance DiscountGenerally insurance rates will go down because fire sprinklers will keep damage low. You will need to contact your insurance company. These systems are becoming more popular and their benefits are slowly being realized by insurance companies. Shop around; the savings vary by insurance company.  

Standard Sprinkler   Concealed Flat Sprinkler

Fire Team USA: 
Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition:
Residential Fire Safety Institute:
Home Safety Council: 
Common Voices: 
Fire Sprinkler Initiative:
Living With Sprinklers:

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