# Home Fire Sprinklers - Statistics 101

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn on Nov 2, 2009

Fire sprinkler opponents have been using statistics from NFPA reports as arguments against home fire sprinklers. Every single time, these statistics are cited completely out of context. It is&#0160;vital&#0160;to be able to counter these arguments by having the right facts. The latest misused statistic comes from Table 5 on page 37&#0160;of the NFPA Sprinkler Report. &#0160;&#0160;Marty Ahrens very eloquently&#0160;clarifies it below and references the NFPA Home Structure Fires Report to explain it:&#0160;

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: ">Clarification on Table 5 in the sprinkler report.&#0160;&#0160;</span></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: ">Apparently the builders are using it in a hand-out as a reason why sprinklers are not needed.&#0160; Table 5 shows &#0160;sprinkler performance by property use.&#0160; The first column in Table 5A shows that sprinklers operated and were effective in 43% of home fires, 39% of one- or two-family home fires, and &#0160;44% of apartment fires.&#0160; <span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></span></font></span></p>

<p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><span lang="EN-US" style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US"><o:p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: ">The builders are emphasizing this while choosing to ignore the fact that the fire was too small to activate the system more than half of the reported fires (56% of home fires, 57% of fires in one-or two family homes and 55% of apartment fires.)&#0160; *It is, in fact, a good thing that sprinklers do not operate in very small fires.&#0160; *&#0160;<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></span></font></span></p>

<p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><span lang="EN-US" style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US"><o:p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: ">Table 11 and page 17 of the text of the home fires report &#0160;show that 45% of the reported home fires had incident types indicating that they were confined or contained fires such as a cooking fire confined to the vessel of origin, a confined chimney or flue fire, a confined fuel burner or boiler fire, a trash, rubbish, or waste fire that did not spread to other contents or the structure, and confined compactor or incinerator fires.&#0160;&#0160;In addition, another 16% of the fires had a structure fire incident type other than those just mentioned and had flame damage confined to the object of origin.&#0160; Only 23% of reported home fires spread beyond the room of origin, but 77% of the home fire deaths resulted from these fires.&#0160; <span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></span>

<span lang="EN-US" style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US"><o:p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></o:p></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span>

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: ">Table B of the sprinkler report shows that when sprinklers were present, flame damage was confined to the room of origin in 97% of the reported home fires.&#0160; Table 6A shows that when sprinklers operated, they were effective in 98% of the home fires and sprinklers operated and were effective in 97% of fires large enough to activate them.<span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></span></span>

<span lang="EN-US" style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Calibri&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: ES-TRAD; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 15px; FONT-FAMILY: "></span></span></span></span>&#0160;

<span lang="EN-US" style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Calibri&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: ES-TRAD; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 15px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 16px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 15px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 16px; FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="FONT-SIZE: 15px; FONT-FAMILY: ">Sprinklers are highly reliable and operate in fires only when they are needed</span>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>

<span lang="EN-US" style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-FAMILY: &#39;Calibri&#39;,&#39;sans-serif&#39;; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: ES-TRAD; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-font-family: &#39;Times New Roman&#39;"></span>&#0160;

It is imperative to be able to rebut the arguments and clarify them with good knowledge of data. I hope that the above clarification helps everyone. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions about any of the statistics contained in an NFPA report.

[Maria Figueroa | mailto:mfigueroa@nfpa.org]