Properly installed and maintained automatic fire sprinkler systems help save lives. Because fire sprinkler systems react so quickly, they can dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire.
Sprinklers typically reduce chances of dying in a fire and the average property loss by one-half to two-thirds compared to where sprinklers are not present. National Fire Protection Association has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely sprinklered public assembly, educational, institutional or residential building where the system was working properly. In 1999, 34% of public assembly properties where fires occurred in the U.S. were equipped with sprinklers, compared with 7% of residential properties. Source: NFPA's U.S. Experience with Sprinklers report and NFPA's Fire Loss in the United States report.
Contrary to what most Americans think, we are not at greatest risk from fire in hotels or other public places; it is at home, where most of us feel the safest, that we are actually at highest risk of fire. Hotels, in fact, are among the places that are safest from fire, and that is due in large part to the fire protection technology required for them. That technology typically includes automatic fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings, such as hotels, hospitals and high-rises.
In a typical fire sprinkler system, a network of piping filled with water under pressure is installed behind the walls and ceilings, and individual sprinklers are placed along the piping to protect the areas beneath them. Because the water is always in the piping, the fire sprinkler system is always "on call." If fire breaks out, the air temperature above the fire rises and the sprinkler activates when the air temperature gets high enough. The sprinkler sprays water forcefully over the flames, extinguishing them completely in most cases, or at least controlling the heat and limiting the development of toxic smoke until the fire department arrives. Only the sprinkler(s) nearest the fire activate. Smoke will not activate sprinklers. Depending upon your type of building, the sprinkler system described above may not be appropriate. For instance, refrigerated buildings may call for dry sprinkler systems. And high-tech office buildings such as data centers may call for gas systems. AEGIS is also an expert at installing and servicing these types of systems. Sprinklers are so effective because they react very quickly. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire because they dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced, allowing people the time to evacuate the building. In less time than it typically takes the fire department to arrive on the scene, sprinklers contain and even extinguish a fire. That not only reduces property damage, it saves lives.
Sprinklers are installed by specially trained contractors who follow NFPA codes and standards and other local requirements. The best time to install sprinklers is when you are building a new structure or remodeling an existing one. Nationally, installing sprinklers adds about 1.0-1.5 percent to the total cost of construction. Installing sprinklers during remodeling, known as "retrofitting," generally costs more and the cost depends on the existing structure. Many insurance companies offer a range of discounts for owners of buildings with sprinkler systems, making comparison shopping worthwhile.
Unfortunately, there are many stubborn misconceptions about fire sprinkler systems that make some owners reluctant to install sprinklers in their buildings. These are the facts: it is extremely rare for sprinklers to operate accidentally. The odds are 1 in 16 million that this will happen as a result of a manufacturing defect. In a typical building, water damage will be considerably less from unwanted sprinkler discharges than from other plumbing mishaps. All the sprinklers do not activate at once. This scenario may be common in movies and TV shows, but it just isn't true for commercial fire sprinkler systems. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates. Ninety percent of the time, one sprinkler contains the fire. Commercial fire sprinkler systems give you peace of mind because you are protected from fire. Although most state and local codes do not require sprinkler systems in all commercial buildings, prudent property owners should strongly consider fire sprinkler systems to protect their employees and their assets. Ask your builder or contact us.