Fire sprinklers extinguish fires in moments. It can take only seconds for a fire to burn out of control. When faced with a fast-spreading fire, many people are defenseless in their own homes—and more common methods of fire protection fall short. Fire alarms alert you to the existence of a fire, but they can’t protect you against it—you’re on your own to escape the house or put out the fire. Fire extinguishers can be quite effective—if they’re used correctly, if they’re accessible and not blocked by the fire, and if you can get to one in time.
Fire sprinklers are the only form of fire protection that actively work to extinguish a fire before it blazes out of control. And it all has to do with how fire sprinklers work. When the sensor inside a sprinkler head detects heat from a fire, it releases enough water at the fire’s core to extinguish it in seconds—before the fire can grow. In most residential cases, the fire is completely extinguished and only one sprinkler head is activated.
Fire sprinklers are more dependable than fire alarms. It’s not uncommon for fire alarms to fail when they’re needed most. Approximately 14% of fire alarms fail despite working batteries. Compare that to fire sprinklers: according to industry estimates, the mechanical failure rate for automatic fire sprinkler systems is approximately one in 500,000. It’s extremely unlikely for a fire sprinkler system to malfunction—either by dousing an area when no fire is present or by failing to sense a fire.
Fire sprinklers reduce risk from smoke inhalation. Most fire fatalities lose their lives before the fire reaches them due to smoke inhalation. When a house fire starts to burn out of control, it produces thick, black smoke that’s highly toxic. If you breathe it in, it could make you dizzy, disoriented and tired. It’s been known to prevent fire victims from waking up when a smoke alarm sounds.
Automatic fire sprinkler systems reduce the amount of smoke that fills a house in case of fire, weighing down large toxic particles with water droplets. With a fire sprinkler system in your home, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed by smoke before you can escape.
Fire sprinklers have the best safety record of any fire protection method. Every day, approximately two people die in residential fires. But in homes with fire sprinkler systems installed, not a single fire fatality has ever been reported. The high success of fire sprinklers in preventing fire deaths can be attributed to their fast response. While firefighters often arrive on the scene long after a fire has engulfed a home, automatic fire sprinklers respond in the seconds before the fire has a chance to grow.
Fire sprinkler systems offer the best protection you can buy against fire. While fire alarms, fire extinguishers and emergency numbers by the phone can all help keep you safe, only fire sprinkler systems can control a fire before the fire brigade arrives. They’re the most dependable method of protecting what’s most precious to you from fire.