FIRE PROTECTION / Home Fire Sprinklers Save Lives

Fire kills more people in the United States annually than all natural disasters combined. In fact, approximately 3,000 people perish in fires each year, and ironically, most fire deaths occur in the very place where we feel safest —our own homes.  In 2012, a home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fire sprinklers inside a home reduce the chance of fire death by 80 percent and cut the likelihood of property damage by 71 percent. That is why the national standard of care of new homes in all of the applicable national model building and fire codes require new homes to be fire sprinkler protected.  Smoke alarms are essential; however, these alarms are designed to detect, not control a fire. Home fire sprinklers complement smoke alarms by providing a way to fight flames immediately. In less time than it would take most fire departments to arrive on the scene, home fire sprinklers can contain and even extinguish a fire.

Not only do home fire sprinklers dramatically reduce the risk of home fire deaths, they also decrease fire damage by as much as two-thirds when compared to homes without sprinklers. Nationally, residential dwelling property loss due to fire exceeds $7 billion annually.

In Scottsdale, AZ, fire sprinklers have been required in all new homes since 1986. Today, more than half the homes in Scottsdale are protected with sprinklers. There have been no deaths in sprinklered homes, while 13 people died in homes without sprinklers. The average fire loss per sprinklered incident was $2,166 compared to more than $45,000 loss per fire in homes without fire sprinklers.

Some homeowners are reluctant to install sprinklers because they don’t know the facts about their operation.

Myth: The water damage from sprinklers is worse than a fire.

Fact: A sprinkler activates during the early stages of a fire before it grows and spreads. A sprinkler will control or extinguish a fire with a tiny fraction of the water that would be used by fire department hoses. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, not the rest of the house.

Myth: Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing unnecessary water damage.

Fact: Accidental sprinkler discharge is extremely rare.

Myth: Sprinklers are expensive.

Fact: Home fire sprinkler systems often cost less than cabinet upgrades, new carpeting and many other options in new home construction. When you consider the degree of built-in reliability and responsiveness that home fire sprinklers offer, the investment is a wise one.

Myth: Sprinklers are ugly.

Fact: Modern residential sprinklers are inconspicuous and can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings. Some sprinklers can even be concealed. And, just like regular plumbing, pipes can be hidden behind ceilings or walls.