+Fire Protection Contractor Magazine+ (FPC) is currently asking its readers to submit titles of movies that perpetuate the longstanding myth that if one fire sprinkler activates, the rest follow. The fact is that these scenes, while trying to up the cinematic drama, aren't factual in their depiction of sprinklers. In many of these settings, the devices wouldn't activate this way in the real world.
For example, there's the 1995 movie Hackers, one of the submissions received from FPC. The lead character hacks into his high school's database and sets a "sprinkler test" during school hours, thereby enacting all sprinkler heads to discharge at the same time--to the chagrin of a very young Angelina Jolie:
Then there's Lethal Weapon 4, another FPC reader submission, where Tough Guy Mel Gibson sets off sprinklers by pulling the fire alarm:
And who could forget this scene from the '80s classic Die Hard?
Attention screenwriters and producers: please do your homework. Fire sprinklers
more specifically, home fire sprinklersoperate in a vastly different fashion than what's been seen on the big screen. All heads do not activate at once. During most fires in a sprinklered home, only one head operates. Pulling a fire alarm lever won't activate sprinklers. (Sorry, Mel.)
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Do you know of any other movies that depict sprinklers inaccurately? Let us know by clicking on the "Comments" link below and we'll forward your submissions to FPC. Also, please share this 30-second PSA produced by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition that sets the record straight about home fire sprinklers:
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