time to time "do-it-yourself" articles or kits appear that
encourage consumers to install their own automatic fire sprinkler systems.
The American Fire Sprinkler Association STRONGLY DISCOURAGES the
installation of fire sprinkler systems by people who have not been
trained in the proper installation of fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers
should always be installed in accordance with standards of the National
Fire Protection Association using approved and/or listed materials.
Fire sprinklers protect lives and property. To ensure proper design
and operation, always seek out a trained and competent contractor.
fire sprinklers have been in use in the U.S. since 1874.
Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method
for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages - before they
can cause severe injury to people and damage to property.
When one fire sprinkler head goes off to fight a fire the entire sprinkler
system does NOT activate. Sprinklers react to temperatures in individual
The chances of a fire sprinkler accidentally going off are extremely
Installation of fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums.
The costs for installing fire sprinkler systems in buildings 6 to 8
stories high ranges from under a dollar to about $2.00 per square foot
in most new construction and from about $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot
for retrofitting sprinklers in existing buildings.
The installation of fire sprinklers in new residential construction
is estimated to make up around 1% of the total building cost. (Similar
to the cost of new carpet)
Over 200 U.S. communities have residential sprinkler laws. Roughly 100
of these communities are in California. In downtown Fresno for example,
there has been fire damage of only $42,000 during a 10-year period in
which its sprinklering law has been in effect.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, property damage
in hotel fires was 78% less in structures with sprinklers than it was
in structures without sprinklers during the years 1983-87. (Average loss
per fire was $2,300 in sprinklered buildings and $10,300 in unsprinklered
Nearly half of all hotels and motels, according to a 1988 survey by
NFPA, have sprinkler systems.
NFPA has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely
sprinklered building where the system was properly operating, except
in an explosion or flash fire or where industrial fire brigade members
or employees were killed during fire suppression operations.
The National Fire Protection Association outlines several major strategies
that are key to reductions in fire losses and especially in home fire
deaths, which are 78.3% of the total fire deaths. They are:
More, and more
widespread, public fire safety education on how to prevent fires and
how to avoid serious injury or death if fire occurs.
Residential fire safety initiatives remain the key to reductions in
the overall fire death toll.
Wider use and proper maintenance of smoke detectors, coupled with practiced
home escape plans.
Wider use of residential sprinklers.
Additional efforts to make home products more fire-safe, such as less
fire-prone cigarettes and child-resistant lighters.
Addressing the special protection needs of high-risk groups, such as
the young, older adults and the poor.