About home fire sprinklers

Published on August 1, 2011
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. Learn about how they work and how they are installed.

Debunking the myths
Unfortunately, there are many stubborn misconceptions about home fire sprinklers that make some homeowners reluctant to install sprinklers in their homes. These are the facts:

  • It is extremely rare for sprinklers to operate accidentally. In a typical home, water damage will be considerably less from unwanted sprinkler discharges than from other plumbing mishaps.
  • Cigar smoke and burned toast cannot cause a sprinkler to operate. Only the high temperature that results from a fire will activate the sprinkler.
  • 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 residential fire sprinkler systems. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates. Ninety percent of the time, one sprinkler contains the fire.

Watch an interview with NFPA’s Maria Figueroa and HFSC’s Peg Paul as they discuss the common misconceptions related to residential sprinklers.

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