Contrary to what many 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. Download a free graphic produced by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition explaining home fire sprinkler operation, and another highlighting a concealed fire sprinkler.
Home fire sprinklers include a network of piping filled with water under pressure that are 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, fire sprinklers are 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 nearest the fire activates. Smoke will not activate sprinklers.
Sprinklers are so effective because they react so quickly. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire because they dramatically reduce heat, flames, and smoke, allowing people the time to evacuate a home. Home fire sprinklers release approximately 10-25 gallons of water per minute. In a home without sprinklers, a fire is likely to grow to dangerous levels by the time the fire department is able to arrive.
In less time than it typically takes the fire department to arrive on the scene, sprinklers contain and even extinguish a home fire. That not only reduces property damage, it saves lives.