New research study to help determine if fire sprinklers are "green"

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Oct 1, 2009

Two 15x20 foot living rooms, each furnished with a flat-screen television, comfortable furniture, and bookshelves and family photos, were set on fire today in West Glocester, Rhode Island, as part of a groundbreaking research project that's looking at the environmental impact of home fires.

The project, a collaborative effort of FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, is studying:

  • the types, quantity and duration of air and water pollutants released from a home fire as well as the water usage from fire sprinklers and firefighters’ hoses

  • the environmental impact resulting from burning household furnishings and finish materials as well as disposing the fire-damaged contents of a home

  • the carbon footprint associated with rebuilding a burnt home

The two living rooms in today's study, conducted at FM Global's 1,600-acre research campus, were nearly identical. The only difference was that one room was outfitted with a quick-response sprinkler. In both tests, firefighters ignited a blaze in a magazine rack near the corner of each room and stood-by to respond in 10 minutes (based on a typical response time that includes alarm notification, arrival, and set-up).

The two living rooms used in today's test as FM Global in in West Glocester, RI.

Attendees were given a tour of the FM Global facility before the fire tests began.

The fire in the first living room, protected by a quick-response sprinkler, was called "all-out" shortly after the arrival of the hose crew.

In the second living room, not protected by a sprinkler, flames can be seen in the window near the source of ignition.












Attendees in the viewing gallery, as well as film crews and firefighters on the floor watch as flames engulf the second living room.



At the ten-minute mark, firefighters prepare to enter burning living room.

The final results of today's tests, including data on the timing of sprinkler activation, time to "flashover" (when all combustibles in the room ignite), estimated room damages, and the amount of pollutants released will be released in a free report in early 2010.


If you were at today's test at FM Global, we'd like to hear from you and see your photos. You can leave a comment below (just click on "comments" below, enter your name and e-mail address, type in the white box, then select "post") or e-mail your photos directly to me.






- Mike Hazell, NFPA Web Publisher