A fire sprinkler system is an automatic system that is activated by heat and will extinguish or control the spread of fire in the sprinkler protected building until such time as the fire brigade arrives. A sprinkler system consists of a network of piping and sprinkler heads connected to a water source (Either municipal supply or pumps and water storage tanks). The sprinkler system is under constant pressure and the system activates when the glass bulb within a sprinkler bursts due to the exposure to heat.
The simplicity in the activation of a sprinkler system ensures that it would always operate as designed. It is however important that sprinkler system should only be installed and maintained by professionally trained fire sprinkler contractor using approved equipment.
International research spanning nearly two decades clearly demonstrates that the chances of a sprinkler going off accidentally are extremely remote. Only a threatening fire can generate enough heat (and gases) to open a sprinkler.
Smoke detection and alarm systems are very effective in initiating the evacuation of buildings in the event of a fire, however as they do not control or extinguish a fire, the loss of life and property remains a real risk. Detection and alarm systems are a warning to evacuate and, in a situation, where there are elderly people, the disabled or even just people sleeping, sprinkler systems remain the primary fire protection to hotels, hospitals and old age homes.
The local building regulations usually dictate which code is to be utilised but often insurers, in order to mitigate their risk, have additional requirements. Please check with your insurer before design commences on what their requirements are.
It is a common misconception that sprinklers will cause more damage due to the water that is released from the sprinkler heads once they are activated. Although it is true that the water discharged to control or extinguish a fire may cause damage, sprinkler systems are designed to control a fire in its early stages and limit the discharge of water to the area in which the fire occurred. In assessing the damage after a sprinkler system successfully controls or extinguishes a fire, it is important to remember the damage that could have happened had the sprinklers not prevented the fire from growing and destroyed your building. In addition to the aforementioned, studies have proven that the amount of water damage that occurred where a sprinkler system has controlled or extinguished a fire is only a fraction of what was recorded where fire-fighters used hoses to extinguish a fire.
Your sprinkler system should be tested on a weekly basis and all the quarterly, yearly and three yearly services and overhauls should be carried out to ensure that the system is in good working order. It is considered good practice to have your system inspected by an independent inspector, every six months to ensure that the system is still compliant.
Yes. Fire sprinkler systems are a very effective form of fire protection and are the most widely used fire protection systems today, due to the benefits of minimized damage, saved lives, and customizable installation designs. The goal of a sprinkler system is to use the right amount of water (as little as possible) in the right location (at the seat of the fire) at the right time (as fast as possible). Because of this, fires are usually diffused at the scene of the breakout, rather than growing throughout a building to a dangerous size. Usually, only one or two sprinkler heads are needed to handle a fire.
The costs of a sprinkler system may vary according to type of building or goods stored however; a good rule of thumb would be to estimate the same cost as fitting new carpets.
It is also important to note that in most instances, insurance companies will provide a premium discount for a certified sprinkler system.
Sprinkler systems have proven to be the most effective way to control or extinguish fires, across all building types and occupancy’s and as such have the following benefits:
As a sprinkler system activates in the early stages of fire development, it not only controls, extinguishes or slows the development of the fire, but also limits the generation of smoke and toxic gases, which is the primary cause of fatalities in fires. Sprinkler systems therefore allow your staff and/or clients to safely exit the building.
Sprinkler systems form the primary protection for buildings, infrastructure and stock against fire. Each system is designed to cater for the specific building, material and storage type thereby ensuring that the correct amount of water is available to control or extinguish the fire and also limit water damage.
This is one job best left to the professionals. A professional fire sprinkler contractor has the training, tools, and experience to properly install and service a sprinkler system. Whether you have a large storage warehouse or run a small business, you will want your sprinkler system designed and installed by a contractor with the necessary knowledge and experience to ensure that the system operates when you need it.
Our wish is that these questions and answers helped expand your knowledge of sprinkler systems and should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
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