March 1st, 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
There’s no doubt about it: Sprinklers are highly effective, reliable weapons in the fight to save lives and property from fire. According to studies by the National Fire Protection Association and the American Fire Sprinkler Association:
Simply speaking, a sprinkler system consists of a water supply system that provides adequate pressure and flowrate in a piping system where sprinkler heads are connected. Most fires trigger the sprinkler heads above where the fire is and slow down the fire enough to minimize damage and prevent serious injuries until the firefighters get there. Fire Sprinkler Systems are designed based upon the occupancy of the building and what is being stored in the building. The greater the potential for fire and the greater the intensity of such fire and the fuel supplying it, the more robust the system designed and installed would be.
A recent fire at a senior independent living facility in a Twin Cities suburb illustrates the use and effectiveness of sprinklers. A resident was in bed when an electrical cord caught fire. The sprinkler heads went off, which triggered the fire alarm to the fire station. The sprinklers put out most of the fire before the firefighters arrived. Injuries were minor, and the other residents were back in part of the building where the fire occurred less than three hours later.
THROWING COLD WATER ON SPRINKLER MYTHS
Despite their proven effectiveness, a lot of myths about sprinklers are floating around. Let’s extinguish these myths.
MYTH: A smoke alarm provides enough protection.
FACT: Smoke alarms alert occupants to the presence of danger, but do nothing to extinguish the fire.
MYTH: When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head will activate and everything in the house or building will be ruined.
FACT: Typically, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, leaving the rest of the structure dry and secure. Roughly 80 percent of the time, only one sprinkler activates during a fire.
MYTH: Fire sprinkler systems are not reliable.
FACT: Laboratory testing and a 50-year installation/activation history clearly shows that fire sprinkler systems exceed a 95 percent "fail-safe" status.
MYTH: Fire sprinklers are expensive.
FACT: Sprinklers cost around one to two percent of the cost of construction of a new building, and can lower insurance premiums.
MTYH: Sprinklers may go off accidentally.
FACT: Research shows that the probability of a sprinkler discharging accidentally due to a manufacturing defect is only 1 in 16 million. You have a better chance of winning the lottery!
MYTH: Home fire sprinklers are unattractive and will ruin the aesthetics of a home or office.
FACT: New fire sprinkler models are very unobtrusive, can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings, and can be concealed behind decorative covers.
MYTH: Any time a smoke alarm goes off it will activate the sprinklers.
FACT: Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to activate only during the heat from a fire (155-165°F). They do not operate in response to an activating smoke alarm, smoke, burned toast, cooking vapors, or steam.
MYTH: Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage.
FACT: Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 80-125 gallons per minute discharged at high pressure by a fire hose. The water damage will also be minimal compared to smoke and fire damage if the fire is allowed to spread.
MAKE SURE COMMON SENSE OVERRULES CARELESSNESS
Many fires are started by carelessness, and sometimes, I’ll be frank, without better thought or judgment.
You’ll notice that the fires on that list (and similar causes) often start small, but can rapidly escalate if they aren’t put out quickly. Sprinklers provide the “stop gap” measure until the fire department arrives.
So you see, it’s evident sprinklers are a reliable and effective weapon in fires. In addition to sprinkler systems, Brothers Fire & Security is a one-stop shop for your complete fire protection needs: fire suppression, fire and CO2 alarms, inspections and maintenance.
We also go beyond the initial consultation, design and final installation of fire systems to being on call 24/7 for servicing. We were at that senior living facility—within the hour—to start the sprinkler head replacement process.
ABOUT BROTHERS FIRE & SECURITY
As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.