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Sprinklers in non-domestic premises

Sprinklers are a combined fire detection and extinguishing system. They provide continuous protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether the premises are occupied or not.

Benefits of a sprinkler system are:

  • preventing serious injury
  • innovative technology and design developed over 100 years
  • environmentally friendly
  • regulated by the industry
  • safety for the firefighter
  • saving life and property
  • acknowledged by the fire service and other agencies
  • validated by insurance companies
  • engineered solutions
  • low maintenance costs
  • internationally accredited
  • vigorous third party quality control
  • EN/BS standards regulating the industry

Myths

There are some common misconceptions about sprinkler technology - here we give examples of the myths and the reality that disproves them:

Myth - when there is a fire all of the sprinkler heads go off together...

  • False - sprinkler heads are set off individually by the heat of the fire and therefore only the head/s directly affected by the fire are triggered.

Myth - water from the sprinklers will cause more damage than the fire...

  • False - typically the Fire Service uses as much as 100 - 1,000 times more water to put out a fire than is delivered by a sprinkler head. Four sprinkler heads will usually control an industrial fire. This is because a sprinkler attacks the blaze directly and immediately when it is still small; it only needs to use a small amount of water to control the blaze. However quickly the Fire and Rescue Service respond to a fire, they will have to deal with a much bigger fire by the time they arrive on the scene and therefore will have to use much more water to control it.

Myth - a smoke detector/fire alarm will provide enough protection...

  • False - certainly operational smoke detectors and fire alarms can save lives, but they do nothing to extinguish a growing fire, or to protect those vulnerable groups of people who are unable to escape. Smoke detectors are now installed in over 80% of all UK homes, and fire deaths have fallen by 24% in the past 10 years. However, injuries have increased by 62% to 18,600 in the same period. Clearly smoke alarms on their own are not enough, especially for the vulnerable people in our society.

Myth - sprinklers can go off accidentally...

  • False - tests in service over the past 10 years show that the chances of a defective head are approximately 16,000,000 to 1; slightly longer odds than your chance of winning the Lottery. This includes all types of defects, including cosmetic defects, therefore the actual chance of an accidental discharge is considerably lower.

Myth - sprinklers are only designed to protect property, and are not effective for life safety...

  • False - sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics demonstrate that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a building fully fitted with sprinklers. Property losses average 85% less with fire sprinklers compared to those without 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 80%.

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