Dispelling the myths about sprinklers
Despite being erroneously commonly portrayed in films and TV as creating havoc, domestic and residential sprinklers are becoming the fire suppression system of choice for many housing providers including Housing Associations, Care Home operators, landlords and home owners.
There is an increasing body of evidence from around the world and also here in the United Kingdom of fires being controlled and extinguished by sprinklers.
Some of the common myths about sprinklers that are totally false are:
Myth 1:- They all go off at once –
Not true. Only the sprinkler nearest to the fire goes off, with research from the United States showing that 90% of all fires in buildings where sprinklers are installed, are extinguished by one sprinkler head only.
Myth 2:- Smoke sets a sprinkler head off so they will go off every time you burn the toast -
Not True. Sprinklers respond to heat not smoke. In a domestic situation it would require a temperature of 68°C to operate a sprinkler head.
Myth 3:- Sprinklers will go off by accident without warning -
Not True. There is a 16 million to 1 chance of a sprinkler going off as a result of a manufacturing defect. You have a better chance of winning the lottery!
Myth 4:- They cause more water damage than the Fire Service -
Not True. The water from fire-fighting hoses will use on average some 20 times more water than the early activation of a sprinkler head, as the fire is contained by the sprinkler system and prevents it from spreading throughout the building.
Myth 5:- They are unsightly and easily damaged -
Not True. Sprinkler heads can now be concealed behind a plain disk in the ceiling. Most occupants of modern sprinklered buildings do not even know they have a system fitted. This can also mean that they are less prone to damage.
Myth 6:- They are costly -
Not True. Sprinklers can be installed for around 1 to 1½% of the total cost of a building, sometimes less expensive than that. The inclusion of sprinkler system at an early stage can offer other savings through design freedoms. A low cost system can be retro-fitted in risk rooms only eg kitchens and living rooms, for as little as £600. In an average sized house the cost of fitting a good quality carpet can be more expensive that fitting a full sprinkler system.
"It`s like having a firefighter on duty in every room of your house,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week"
For more information about sprinklers and their benefits, download our Sprinkler booklet
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service actively promotes the use of Domestic Sprinklers. Access further information on Sprinkler systems including a list of accredited installers.
Sign the e-petition to make sprinklers compulsory in new buildings
We are engaged in a campaign to ensure that all newly built homes are fitted with domestic sprinkler systems. Please support this and complete the e-petition.