For over a century, schools, office buildings, factories, and other commercial buildings
have benefited from fire protection sprinkler systems. Textile mills in New England, following a series of devastating fires that claimed
many lives and destroyed businessess, installed sprinkler systems in order to prevent the loss of the buildings, machinery and employees.
SPRINKLERS IN HOMES
Businesses are protected from fire, but what actions do we take to protect our families, our homes, and our possessions from fire? In the past few years, millions of Americans have installed smoke detectors in their homes. A smoke detector can only alert the occupants to a fire in the house . A smoke dedector cannot contain or extinguish a fire. A residential sprinkler systems can extinguish a fire!
SPRINKLERS - THE SOLUTION
In the United States, fire has a high amountl of lives and property. Initial 1996 findings are:
- 5,000 Deaths
- Over 25,000 Injured
- Over $9 Billion in Property Destroyed
Studies taken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's United States Fire Administration suggest that the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems could have saved thousands of lives; prevented a large amount of injuries; and eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in property losses.
WHAT ARE HOME FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS?
Fire sprinkler systems are quick response sprinklers. With approved piping, homes can be built or even remodeled to include low-cost automatic sprinkler systems connected to the domestic water supply.
Sprinkler systems offer advantages to the homebuilder:
- A low-cost dependable safety alternative that would attract many buyers.
- Trade-offs between sprinklers and code requirements that can create lower construction costs more units per area of land, etc.
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For homeowners, the advantages include confidence of a safer environment for their families, safeguard of their investment and irreplaceable family possessions, and lower insurance rates.
ADVANTAGES OF NEWLY DESIGNED HOME SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
Residential sprinklers, listed by Underwriters Labs, are now available. They are designed to respond to a fire much faster than present typical commercial and industrial sprinkler systems. The new home sprinklers respond automatically to fires quicker because of their enhanced sensitivity.
At the present time, cost of a home sprinkler system is approximately $1.00 per square foot in new construction. Hopefully the cost will decrease as the use of home fire protection grows. Many existing homes can install sprinkler systems.
For home systems, the sprinklers will be smaller than conventional, commercial, and industrial sprinklers.
Minimal Installation Work
When current homes are being remodeled, it has been seen that a home sprinkler system will require minimal extra piping and labor.
Low Water Requirement
These systems will need less water than the ones installed in industrial or commercial buildings. They can be attached to the domestic water supply.
A INCREASING NUMBER OF COMMUNITIES ENCOURAGE HOME FIRE SPRINKLERS
Residential Automatic Sprinkler Systems. Ordinance No. 745; Adopted May 28, 1969; by the San Clemente, California City Council
Proposal 13 was a major factor in promoting the ordinance. San Clemente and Corte Madera, California were some of the first communities in the United States to pass a home sprinkler regulation. Other communities that have initiated or plan to initiate residential sprinkler ordinances include:
- Livermore, California
- Sarasota, Florida
- Long Grove, Illinois
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Germantown, Tennessee
- Cobb County, Georgia
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Altamonte Springs, Florida
TEST YOUR HOME SPRINKLER SYSTEM'S I.Q.
Below are five statements about home sprinkler systems. Are they true or false?
1. When one sprinkler goes off, all the sprinklers activate.
False! Only the sprinkler over the fire will activate. Each sprinkler head individually reacts to temperatures in each room. Therefore, fire in a living room will only activatethe sprinkler in that room.
2. A sprinkler could accidentally go off, causing severe water damage to a home.
False! Records, which have been put together for well over 50 years, confirm the probability of this happening is very remote. In addition, home sprinklers will be distinctively designed and will be thoroughly tested to lessen such accidents.
3. Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage.
False! The sprinkler system will severely limit a fire's growth. Consequently, damage from a home sprinkler system will be much less severe than the smoke and fire damage if the fire had gone on unabated or even the water damage caused by water from firefighting hose lines.
4. Home sprinkler systems are expensive.
False! Current estimates indicate that when a home is under construction, a home sprinkler system could cost less than 1% of the total building price.
5. Residential sprinkles are ugly.
False! The customary, commercial-type sprinklers as well as sprinklers for home use are now being designed to fit in with most any decor.
SPRINKLERS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR HOMEBUILDER'S
It has been concluded that new homes may be built further away from a fire station if they have approved sprinkler systems.
Home sprinkler systems offer both safety and financial advantages to homebuyers.
SPRINKLERS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR THE HOMEBUYER
- Each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, a fire breaks out in one of every 10 American homes. For the homebuilder; this information means that a large percentage of possible customers now are aware of the horror and destruction a fire can cause.
- Families with children, senior citizens, and handicapped members have special fire protection needs. Home sprinkler systems offer added defense for these people.
- In case of a home fire, firefighters will have less risk of injury or loss of life because they will be fighting a fire of less concentration.
- Allocation of limited community resources may be enhanced with the acceptance of home sprinkler equipment.
- Communities will be able to make better use of existing land and thereby increase their tax base.
THE MOVE TOWARD HOME SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
The U.S. Fire Administration's study in home fire sprinkler systems successfully focused on systems that would be low cost, quick acting and dependable. The outcome was that, residential fire sprinklers had gained improved recognition.