Our fire sprinkler advocates have told us they wanted more educational information on the requirements in NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. Taking their advice, the Fire Sprinkler Initiative team has created a new section on our site that offers insights into questions on home fire sprinklers that authorities having jurisdiction often have to answer. Take, for instance, the following questions:
A significant number of fires originate in bathrooms and garages. Why are these areas exempt from sprinkler protection in NFPA 13D?
The exemptions in the standard are not based solely on where fires are likely to originate. Two additional factors are considered. Exemptions are allowed for areas where fires originate that statistically do not lead to a large number of deaths or injuries. Exemptions are also allowed in areas that are impractical to protect cost effectively because such locations would require dry or antifreeze-type systems to protect the system from freezing.
Why do some authorities having jurisdiction require a backflow prevention device when such devices can be detrimental to the fire sprinkler system?
NFPA 13D does not require the installation of a backflow prevention device. The notion that NFPA 13D or any other NFPA fire protection system standard requires the installation of a backflow prevention device is a common myth in the fire protection industry. They are not desired or required for fire protection because the installation of a backflow prevention device on the system introduces a potential failure point and can drastically reduce available water supply pressures. However, municipal water authorities sometimes require backflow prevention devices due to potential health concerns.
Visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site for more answers to common questions pertaining to NFPA 13D installations.