Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a fire sprinkler system?
A fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection measure consisting of a water supply, providing adequate pressure and flow rate to a water distribution piping system onto which fire sprinkler heads are connected.

Why are fire sprinklers so effective?
Fire sprinklers are on guard day and night, 365 days a year.  When a fire breaks out the fire sprinkler system operates automatically and starts to fight the fire at its source, whilst simultaneously sounding alarms and calling the Fire Brigade.

What is the life safety record of fire sprinklers?
In the United Kingdom there has never been a fire death in a fully sprinklered building.

How do fire sprinklers operate?
Each fire sprinkler head is an individual heat detector designed to operate at a pre-determined temperature, usually 68°C.  When a fire starts the sprinkler bulb heats up and when the design temperature is reached the bulb shatters and allows water to flow through, directly onto the source of the fire.

Can fire sprinklers discharge accidentally?
Research carried out by Factory Mutual Research indicates that the probability of a standard sprinkler discharging accidentally due to manufacturing defects is only 1 in 16 million sprinklers per year in service.

What about water damage?
Only the sprinkler heads closest to the fire operate, thus minimizing the water damage. In fact, 65% of fires are controlled with less than 5 sprinklers.

Will the system work?
Fire sprinkler systems have been in use for over one hundred years, the systems are very reliable with very little to go wrong.  Detailed fire records from around the world have demonstrated that in 98% of sprinkler protected buildings the fires were extinguished or controlled.

What are the ‘trade-offs’?
You can use fire sprinkler systems to your advantage when designing new buildings.  Under the Building Regulations, you can increase compartment size, extend travel distances to exits and reduce the structural fire protection.  This can save on the building cost.