Fire Sprinkler FAQ


How do sprinklers operate?

Fire sprinklers are individually heat-activated and connected to a network of water pipes. When the heat from a fire raises the sprinkler to its operating temperature (usually 68◦C or 155 deg. F), only that sprinkler activates delivering water directly to the source of the heat.


Why are sprinklers so effective?

All fires start small and, if detected and tackled early enough, can be controlled with very little water. Residential sprinklers are a special type of fire sprinkler, which respond very quickly and are completely automatic in operation. They can therefore tackle the fire at a very early stage, even if you are not home, releasing water directly over the source of the fire and sounding an alarm.


How reliable are sprinklers?

Records from Australia and New Zealand (where all fire must be reported) between 1886 and 1986 show that sprinklers controlled 99.7% of all fires where they were fitted.


Do sprinklers go off accidentally?

Records in service show that sprinklers are very dependable. The chance of a defective head is less than 1: 16,000,000 - less than your chance of winning the Lottery! The chance of an accidental discharge is considerably less.


What about water damage?

Typically a sprinkler discharges 10gal / min. A fireman's hose on the other hand discharges 200+ gallons per minute. In general a sprinkler system will use between 1 / 100th and 1 / 1000th of the water used by the Fire Brigade. Even then, most things that get wet can be restored - but a pile of ashes is beyond hope!


What NOT to do with sprinklers from the National Fire Sprinkler Association:

1 Don't paint the sprinklers.

2. Don't damage the sprinklers.

3. Don't hang objects from the sprinklers, valves or other components.

4. Don't obstruct the sprinklers.

5. Don't cover the sprinklers.

6. Don't remove the sprinklers.

7. Don't turn off or disconnect the system.

8. Don't shut off the system in the event of a fire.

In the event of a fire, be calm and leave the building immediately. Call 911.



Did You Know…

  • Automatic fire sprinklers have been in use since 1874 Installation of fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums According to the NFPA, property damage in hotel fires was 78% less in structures with sprinklers than it was in structures without sprinklers. 
  • Water damage from a fire sprinkler system will cause far less damage from fire-fighting hoses. 
  • Sprinklers react to temperatures in individual rooms. Only the sprinklers closest to the flames spray water; the other sprinklers do NOT activate at the same time. 
  • Smoke detectors only alert people to the presence of smoke. They do nothing to extinguish a fire.
  • Property losses are 85% less in buildings with fire sprinklers compared to those without. 
  • Fire Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. The combination of automatic fire sprinklers and early warning detection systems reduces the chance of overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50%.