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Throughout our Mythblaster Monday series, we have pointed to resources that identify the benefits of home fire sprinklers and help combat the misinformation that surrounds them. Last week we debunked a myth frequently perpetuated by Hollywood, the idea that when one fire sprinkler goes off, they all do. Today, we acknowledge a concern that advocates may hear more often as we move into the colder months of the year.

Myth: Sprinklers will freeze in winter.

Fact: The national installation standard provides guidance for proper installation in cold regions so that sprinklers don’t freeze.

Homeowners in colder climates are no stranger to the risk of freezing pipes, but they should not refuse the protection of home fire sprinklers based on the false assumption that their sprinklers will freeze. winter homeHome structure fires are more common in the cooler months, and recent research found that almost half (47 percent) of home structure fires and 56 percent of home structure fire deaths happened between November and March.

NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, does not require sprinklers in certain areas of a home that might be prone to freezing pipes, since fires in those areas statistically do not lead to a large number of deaths or injuries. Additional information on freeze protection in sprinklers can be found on a dedicated page of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative. There is specific information for homebuilders. These fire service resources are hands-on tools that can also help communicate the facts to residents. While smoke alarms offer the early detection necessary to tell occupants to get out, home fire sprinklers begin controlling a fire as soon as one is detected, which is an invaluable benefit, especially for high-risk populations like children and older adults.

 

As you consider outreach opportunities, take a look at these community tool kits, which make it easy to break down many of the major advantages of home fire sprinklers, with infographics, op-ed templates, and more. Looking to work with more news outlets in your area? Then you won’t want to miss these practical tips for working with the media that include helpful talking points talking points. For more resources, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative online.

One of the best ways we know of to improve fire safety outcomes is in preparing ahead for emergencies before they happen. And whenever there is the possibility to collaborate with others toward that goal, the more opportunities we have to further reduce risks for injuries, damage, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards in our homes and communities.

 

 

Such is the case when the Grossinger family of Draper, Utah, asked their local fire department for assistance with wildfire mitigation measures around their home. The department happily obliged, but when crews arrived, they noticed that the home’s smoke alarm and sprinkler systems needed to be updated. They sprang into action, organizing a service project to upgrade both systems. The case was particularly special because the parents and older daughter of the family are deaf and rely on the younger son to inform them if smoke alarms sound or if there is a fire. Mark Grossinger (left), Don Buckley, Fire Marshal – Draper City Fire Department (Utah) (center), and Brooke Grossinger (right)Local partners donated and installed new visual smoke alarms and worked on repairing and updating the home’s residential fire sprinkler system. According to local news reports, the project was organized as part of NFPA’s National Fire Prevention Week that ran October 4 – 10, and was intended not only to serve as a reminder for other homeowners to review their own fire safety measures during the week of the campaign, but to do so all year long.

 

 

Research shows that fires can become deadly in as little as two minutes. Home fire sprinklers provide fire detection and suppression early on, allowing building occupants valuable time to escape. But they need to be properly installed and maintained to perform as intended. The challenge is many community residents may not know about the benefits of sprinklers or how to get them.

 

 

Collaborative opportunities like this positive story from Draper is just one example of how safety advocates are raising awareness of the importance of sprinklers and encouraging community residents to take proactive action to improve fire safety for their families.

 

 

Educating residents on sprinkler options, incentives, and other key information about this life saving technology is key. Tools such as education kits for fire departments, homeowners, and local officials can also be used to support this endeavor.

Learn more about home fire sprinklers and find resources to help advocate for them in your community by visiting the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative webpages.

Mark Grossinger (left), Don Buckley, Fire Marshal – Draper City Fire Department (Utah) (center), and Brooke Grossinger (right); photo courtesy of the Draper Fire Department

 

We often talk about the best way to improve fire safety outcomes is by having interconnected smoke alarms to alert people so that there may be a fire. Interconnected in the smoke alarm sense means that when one sounds, they all sound.

 

But for home fire sprinklers, this idea of connection results in a persistent myth. Throughout our Mythblaster Monday series, we identify common misunderstandings surrounding home fire sprinklers, offering resources that share their many benefits and flush out the misinformation. Last week, we provided information on developer incentives for installing home fire sprinklers, and today we are clarifying a question that advocates commonly face.

 

Myth: If one sprinkler goes off, they all go off

Fact: Sprinklers activate independently; only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate

 

Hollywood has done us no favors when it comes to home fire sprinkler myths – they in fact perpetuate one of the most common misunderstandings about sprinklers. Often in movies or TV shows you see every sprinkler going off in a building when there is a fire or another mishap by some villain character. That is simply not true.

 

Regardless of the type of system—combination or stand-alone, fire sprinklers are attached to pipes throughout the home or property. While they are connected, they don’t all go off at once. Home fire sprinklers are there for early suppression, giving occupants more time to escape and giving firefighters a more controlled scene to face. The key to information to refute this common misconception is in this video that shows that only high temperatures activate a sprinkler, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will be affected. In 90 percent of fires, one sprinkler is enough to control the flame.

 

The focused suppression of individual sprinkler activation also results in lower damages and water usage. Research shows that when sprinklers are present, the average dollar loss per fire is 63 percent lower than when there is no automatic extinguishing system, and that sprinklers discharge an average of 341 gallons of water per fire, compared to 2,935 gallons per fire discharged by firefighter hoses.

 

More information on how home fire sprinklers work and what benefits they offer different stakeholders can be found on the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative websites.

According to research, fires become deadly in as little as two minutes. The more we can do to improve the chances that people and property can be saved, the better. One of the best ways to protect homes in the event of a fire is home fire sprinklers, and the growing number of installations in new homes has been largely driven by the work of AHJs, local officials, and many other community members who know their value. The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) recognizes these individuals with their Sprinkler Advocate of the Year Award, which AFSA created to recognize great advocacy work by individuals not directly involved with the fire sprinkler industry. The 2020 honor has been awarded to Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.Brian Geraci

Geraci is well-acquainted with the irreplaceable benefit of early suppression offered by home fire sprinklers. He began his career in 1973 with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, eventually rising to the role of captain/commander of the Code Enforcement Section, before his retirement as a battalion commander for the Fire and Explosive Investigation Section/Bomb Squad.

Throughout his career, Geraci has pushed for residential fire sprinkler legislation in Maryland and was integral to making Maryland one of only two states that requires residential fire sprinkler installation in new homes. Research has shown that home fire sprinklers can lower the risk of dying in a home fire by 80 percent and decrease average property loss per home by around 70 percent, making this a huge contribution to fire and life safety for the residents of Maryland.

Congratulations to State Fire Marshal Geraci on this significant honor.

 Learn more about how to share the benefits of home fire sprinklers in your community by visiting the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative online. More achievements in fire sprinkler advocacy can be found on The American Fire Sprinkler Association website.

From the latest smoke alarms to solar panels, there are many ways for homeowners to make their homes safer and smarter. Unfortunately, when it comes to home fire sprinklers, their many safety benefits can get lost in the noise of misinformation. In our Mythblaster Monday series, we clear up common misunderstandings and share resources that explain how much sprinklers contribute to the protection of lives and property. Last week we debunked the myth that home fire sprinklers increase insurance costs, but insurance incentives aren’t the only advantages that come from sprinkler installation.

 

Myth: If a community doesn’t require home fire sprinklers, we can’t ask builders to put them in.

Fact: Even without a code requirement, local jurisdictions can work with developers and builders on many possible incentives for including home fire sprinklers in construction.

 

 

An exciting and growing phenomenon is happening in communities throughout the country—more communities are working hand in hand with developers to include home fire sprinklers in new homes as part of a program that gives them trade-ups or incentives. These incentives are a win-win for communities, allowing safer homes to be built, providing financial gains for the developers and reducing the burden on first responders. 

 

Yet many jurisdictions are not aware of incentives or think they can’t offer them. In order to better protect communities from fire, it is important to learn more about how this works.

 

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) lists some of the most common incentives as:

  • Street-Width Reduction—Traffic lanes may be narrowed, substantially reducing the amount of pavement in every linear foot of street in the development.
  • Longer Dead-End Streets—Dead-end streets may be increased in length, allowing additional building lots to be accessed.
  • Tee Turnarounds Permitted—The permitted use of tee turnarounds in sprinklered developments can create at least one additional lot per cul-de-sac.
  • Increased Street Grades and Building Setbacks—Steeper street grades and building locations allowed further from where the homes access leaves the main road.
  • Additional Units Permitted—Development plans that allow homes to be closer together.
  • Expansion of Existing Water Supply May Not Be Needed—Required fire flows for fully sprinklered developments can be greatly reduced compared to non-sprinklered developments.
  • Increased Hydrant Spacing—Supply mains may be reduced and hydrant spacing can be increased.
  • Subdivision Single Access Point—A fully sprinklered subdivision allows for a single public access road. This decreases infrastructure costs and significantly increases the number of single-family dwellings allowed.
  • Gated Communities—Gated communities can delay Fire Department Access. A fully sprinklered subdivision provides mitigation for this impact allowing developers to utilize this security option when desired.
  • Reduced Basement Windows—Fire sprinklers reduce rescue openings in every basement sleeping room.

 

HFSC has several resources to begin a program for incentives in your community.

 

This fact sheet details the many incentives available for jurisdictions to present to developers.

 

There are a number of case studies also available on the HFSC website. For example, in Camas, WA, a developer building a 60-home development on a hillside successfully achieved $1 million in infrastructure and material cost savings by agreeing to install home fire sprinklers that protected the entire subdivision.

 

Material for developers interested in including this life-saving technology in their projects can explore more information here or with the free Built for Life Homebuilder Kit. For more resources on how to advocate for home fire sprinklers and combat misinformation, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition online.

When advocating for positive change, a positive case study is invaluable. Late last week, Bowie, MD became such a case study when a fire broke out in a single-family home. Thanks to the home’s sprinkler system, the fire did not spread beyond the second-floor where it originated, and damage was minimal.

 

It comes as no surprise that Bowie, located in Prince George’s county, would be the setting for such a great sprinkler save. In 1992, the county became one of the first areas to enact an ordinance calling for the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems in new one- and two-family structures. The results are detailed in this 15 year report, providing a fantastic resource for other local officials looking to bring home fire sprinklers into their community. Benefits of Residential Fire Sprinklers Report

 

Over the period of study, the county experienced almost 14,000 (13,494) single-family or townhouse fires, where 245 of the homes had fire sprinklers installed. The 245 sprinklered homes resulted in no deaths and only six injuries, compared with the 101 resident deaths and 328 injuries reported in the non-sprinklered home fires. In addition to protecting your community, home fire sprinklers also have been shown to lower water pollution, contributing towards local climate goals.

 

Home fires frequently happen during times when people are asleep, and residential sprinklers begin controlling the fire without any action from occupants, increasing the time they have to get out. As the Benefits of Residential Fire Sprinklers report illustrates, home fire sprinklers should be installed in all single-family homes along with smoke alarms, to provide early detection and suppression to protect lives and property before firefighters arrive. This two-part video series further details the advantages of home fire sprinklers specifically for local officials, and more resources on home fire sprinklers and how to bring them into your community can be found at The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative websites.

 

Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. Visit Firepreventionweek.org for the resources you need to help keep your community safe. Let’s all Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!TM

Buying a home is a process that calls for making many choices, but when it comes to safety investments, a lack of accurate information can keep homeowners from making the most of available technology. Our Mythblaster Monday series cuts through the noise of false information surrounding home fire sprinklers, providing resources for advocates on their many advantages. In an earlier blog, we detailed the low cost per square foot of installed sprinkler space, while last week we debunked the idea that sprinklers are likely to leak. Today we tackle the outsized fear that home fire sprinklers will negatively affect insurance fees.

 

Myth: My insurance rates will go up.

Fact: Most insurance companies reward customers who protect their homes with fire sprinklers.

 

In 2019, the over 1 million fires that local fire departments responded to caused 3,700 civilian deaths and $14.8 billion in property damage. One home fire sprinkler is enough to contain a fire in 90 percent of cases, making them valuable insurance against the losses of fire at a very low cost. Far from causing insurance hikes, HFSC completed a recent poll of property and casualty insurers that found discounts as high as 35 percent for homes that have sprinklers installed. Family with house cutawayDiscounts can vary, so when sharing this message, make sure that homeowners know to shop around for the best discount, and that having sprinklers connected to a central station usually qualifies for an additional discount.

 

Almost two-thirds (69 percent) of homeowners already say that having fire sprinklers increases the value of a home, and this brochure gives professionals further details on home fire sprinklers and how to insure homes with them installed. Reduced labor costs and improvements in home fire sprinkler technology over the past 25 years have made them a more accessible, invaluable addition to fire protection systems for the home than ever. For more information on how to share the benefits of home fire sprinklers with your community, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition online.

 

Most home fires are a result of cooking, and this year’s Fire Prevention Week is focused on combating kitchen fires. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. Visit Firepreventionweek.org for the resources you need to help keep your community safe. Let’s all Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kithcen!TM

Each year as summer turns to fall, we see an uptick in home fires from increased heating device use, cooking, and other everyday activities. We know more about how to protect ourselves from fire than ever, but there are still situations that highlight opportunities to do more. Last week, Jefferson County suffered a tragic loss, when a mother and son lost their lives to an early morning fire that engulfed their home. Though Kenneth Roland and his brother successfully escaped, Roland’s brother re-entered the house for their mother. Neither reemerged.

 

According to a 2020 report, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of reported fires happen in home environments. As a result, the importance of working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers, and an escape plan as a complete fire prevention strategy cannot be overstated. A fire today can become deadly in as little as two minutes—making every second count. Smoke alarms provide vital early detection while home fire sprinklers begin controlling the flames before firefighters arrive. Installing both reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by 82 percent. Sadly, the Roland home had neither. 

 

Every casualty from fire is deeply felt. With continued dedication to safe practices and informing ourselves and others, we can bring the number of these tragedies closer to zero. Fire Department Deputy Chief Stephen Williams is using this horrible tragedy to remind his community to take fire safety seriously by encouraging the public to confirm that heat sources work properly and are well-maintained as we bring out stoves and heaters that have been dormant for the turn to cooler months. He also stressed not going back into a fire for any reason.

 

NFPA also has these reminders for staying safe in the event of a fire:

 

  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside each sleeping area
  • Make an escape plan with two routes out of every room and decide on an outside meeting place
  • Practice your home escape plan twice a year in realistic conditions
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside
  • Don’t try to fight the fire yourself, call 911
  • If you are building a new home, install home fire sprinklers

This tip sheet offers great information about smoke alarms. To learn more about home fire sprinklers, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

Fire sprinklers are familiar to many of us and many people know they exist in stores, warehouses, and other commercial buildings. But not everyone may be aware of the importance of fire sprinklers in the home. But according to 2019 research, over one-quarter (27 percent) of reported fires happened in the home. When it comes to residential fire sprinklers, misinformation and misunderstandings keep many from knowing about their important contributions to fire prevention. Our Mythblaster Monday series serves to bridge that knowledge gap by debunking a different myth each week and pointing to resources that explain the advantages of home fire sprinklers. Last week we shared how easy and quick it is to properly maintain residential sprinklers, and today’s myth highlights another concern that can plague many homeowners.

 

Myth: Sprinklers will leak.

Fact: Sprinkler mishaps are generally less likely and less severe than home plumbing system problems.

 

This myth is easily dispelled. Compared to sinks, toilets, and other areas of home plumbing that can fail, home fire sprinklers are more likely to perform without issue. A twenty-year survey of home fire sprinklers in Scottsdale, AZ found that 89 percent of respondents said their sprinkler systems had never leaked nor did they have a maintenance problem. Last Monday, we shared that home sprinklers need little maintenance—only a twice-yearly water flow test and occasional visual inspections to make sure pipes and sprinklers are unobstructed. Keeping up with these activities helps ensure that a sprinkler leak will remain an unlikely event.types of home fire sprinklers

 

Only contractors experienced with NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, should install home fire sprinklers, either in new construction or as part of a retrofit, to ensure that they are installed properly. If a fire does occur, facts show that the closest sprinkler will automatically activate when the temperature reaches 135-165° F, controlling the fire within the 9-12 minutes fire departments typically need to arrive on the scene. This 24-hour protection is a small price to pay when saving your home.

 

Home fire sprinklers come with a variety of design options that make them the perfect addition to a fire prevention system, and all perform with high levels of success. For more resources that offer the facts about home fire sprinklers and the advantages they provide, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” reminds us that with the cooler seasons comes holiday cooking—and more risk for home fires. One of the best ways to protect your home in the event of a fire is with a multilayered approach to safety, including working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers. Unfortunately, misinformation follows closely wherever home fire sprinklers are mentioned. In our Mythblaster Monday series we tackle a different myth each week, sharing resources and accurate information that highlight the numerous benefits of home fire sprinklers. Earlier, we debunked the idea that home fire sprinklers are expensive, and today’s myth is along the same vein.

 

Myth: Home fire sprinklers require costly inspections and maintenance.

Fact: It's easy--a flow test should be done a couple times a year.

 

The simple fact is that home fire sprinkler maintenance will never approach the costs of a fire. A 2019 report found that the average dollar loss per home structure fire when sprinklers were present $6,900 compared to $18,800 when they weren’t—a difference of 63 percent lower. Plus, when properly installed residential fire sprinklers are made to operate properly with no maintenance for around 20 years. Residential sprinklers can also save municipalities money.

 

To keep home fire sprinklers in top condition, do not paint over, cover, or otherwise impede them. Also, complete a flow valve test, or have a contractor do one for you, a couple of times a year. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has some great information for living with sprinklers and recommends these tips:

  • Occasionally do a visual inspection of controls and sprinklers
  • Teach your children fire sprinklers are not toys and should not be played with
  • Use a padlock to keep the water valve in the ON position
  • Don’t block the sprinklers with furniture or fabrics—a blocked sprinkler cannot put out a fire

Most of all, don’t worry—sprinklers aren’t complicated. The Living with Sprinklers Kit has more tips for integrating home fire sprinklers into your life. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition have even more resources for sharing the positives of home fire sprinklers.

Recent, deadly fires like the ones in Philadelphia and Lansing show how quickly an uneventful day with the family can turn to tragedy. On a relaxed Saturday morning in Philadelphia, firefighters entered a row-house engulfed in flames and smoke to find a woman and three children dead inside. Just a week prior, first responders arrived at a small, burning Lansing residence shortly before midnight, extinguishing the fire and finding Melissa Weston and her two young grandchildren dead inside.

 

These sad events, one early in the morning and one late at night, illuminate the need for taking action to be safer from fire. Both smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers provide the early warning of a potentially fast-moving fire and suppression while the fire department is enroute. We know few existing homes were built with sprinklers, but we can change outcomes by building new homes with a higher level of fire safety with home fire sprinklers.two-story house on fire

 

Regardless of the time of day, we know that in reported home structure fires with working smoke alarms, the risk of dying drops 54 percent compared to in homes with no alarms or none that worked, and that the presence of home fire sprinklers can increase the chances of surviving a home fire by 87 percent. People age 65 and older are at the highest risk of dying in a home fire, while children, pets, and those with disabilities are also at increased risk.

 

While newer building techniques provided great benefits over the years, unprotected lightweight construction combined with synthetic materials and open floor plans can result in fires that burn faster and at higher temperatures. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition reports that flashover—when everything ignites—can happen in as little three minutes, making every second in a fire count. By being alerted quickly with smoke alarms and controlling the fire as soon as it is detected with home fire sprinklers are an integral part of a home fire protection strategy, along with a practiced escape plan, helping to keep unfortunate tales like the above from happening at all.

Everyday, we see countless, heartbreaking reminders of how fast a fire can destroy one’s home and impact one’s life. Advances in fire protection technology like smoke alarms have become widely used, but home fire sprinklers have yet to proliferate in the same way. Unfortunately, rumors and misinformation run rampant around home fire sprinklers, so in our Mythblaster Monday series we debunk a different myth each week and highlight resources that can be used to refute inaccurate information and better inform your communities about their many advantages. Today’s myth is particularly misleading and adds to the misguided fear that home fire sprinklers damage property.

 

Myth: Smoke alarms cause fire sprinklers to activate.

Fact: Home fire sprinklers are only activated by the high temperature of a fire surrounding the sprinkler.

 

The logical jump for this myth is clear. When fire sprinklers are often shown activating soon after a smoke alarm sounds, people understandably link the two together. But it is simply not true. A liquid-filled bulb sits at the center of each sprinkler, and only when the temperature reaches between 135°-165°F (57°-74°C) will that bulb burst.

 Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, and a survey found that 90 percent of the time, one sprinkler was enough to control the fire.

 

Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms work very well together, and people benefit greatly from having both. Smoke alarms provide early detection while home fire sprinklers act as early suppression, both increasing valuable time needed to escape a home fire. The best time to install home fire sprinklers is during construction, but retrofitting is also an option. Either way, make sure to only choose contractors qualified as specialists in sprinkler installation. This brochure quickly breaks down the advantages of this life-saving technology; and legislators, community members, and AHJs can find more support for home fire sprinkler installation here. For even more resources, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

We talk often about the benefits of working smoke alarms, home escape plans, and home fire sprinklers.  But nothing helps drive the point home more than a real-life example that is captured in real time. 

This video by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition shows how swiftly a home fire can spread, underscoring the need to take fire safety seriously and account for the ability or inability of those in the home to quickly escape.

 

The video gives a rare view into a home on fire before the fire department arrives. In under two minutes, flames and smoke begin to take over the room, while an elderly man watches television, unaware of the fire just a few feet away. Before a smoke alarm could alert everyone in the home of the fire early, a woman comes in and notices the flames. She is able to get them both out.

Sadly, people aged 65 and older are at the highest risk of dying in a home fire, so increasing the amount of time available for escape is paramount. This is another strong case for the installation of home fire sprinklers. Home fire sprinklers begin controlling a fire before firefighters arrive, giving occupants time to escape.

 

Thankfully, everyone escaped without injury, but so often, similar situations do not end this way. A complete fire safety strategy should include working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers, and practicing an escape plan. For more resources on home fire sprinklers and their benefits, check out the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

This Tuesday we continue our Mythblaster Monday series, where we discuss and debunk the myths around home fire sprinklers, offering resources to highlight their advantages and tackle the misinformation. Last Monday we found that home fire sprinklers are green, and they lower water usage, pollution, and gas emissions. Today we broach the other half of the water-use concern; a myth that acknowledges how much is at stake in a home fire.

 

Myth: Water damage from sprinklers is worse than fire damage

Fact: Sprinkler flows are 10-26 gallons of water per minute. Sprinkler damage is a fraction of typical losses from an unsprinklered home fire.

 

We’ve all seen a movie where the fire sprinklers go off, drenching everyone and everything in sight for comedic effect. Fortunately, when it comes to how sprinklers suppress fires in the home, this image couldn’t be further from the truth. Home fire sprinklers begin battling a fire as soon as the heat around the sensor reaches a high enough temperature, in many cases extinguishing the flames before first responders arrive. As a result, a home fire sprinkler uses about 1/10th the amount of water as a fire hose, and at lower pressure. Plus, in 90 percent of home fires, the fire is controlled by only one sprinkler, lowering damages.

 

In addition to how much water is necessary to extinguish a fire that has had time to grow and spread, we also consider what the fire itself destroys—burning away beloved keepsakes, lives, furniture, and other elements that make a house into a home. This year’s NFPA Fire Prevention Week is all about cooking, and a recent study found that cooking activities caused $1.2 billion in property damage in home fires, as well as being the leading cause of fires in one- and two-family homes. In some cases, like the fire at Food Network star Rachel Ray’s home earlier this month, home fire sprinklers can be especially helpful for firefighting efforts in remote locations with limited access to water, helping to preserve the memories in our homes.

 

As we can clearly see, home fire sprinklers are one of the best ways to protect life and property from the devastation of home fires. This brochure offers a quick breakdown of the benefits for homeowners, and homebuilders can find information tailored to their concerns here. For more resources on home fire sprinklers and how to dispel the myths surrounding them, check out the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

Welcome back to our Mythblaster Monday series, where we explore the myths and misconceptions that surround home fire sprinklers, clear the air and provide resources that refute the myths and tout their many benefits. Last week we discussed the dangerous belief that because the fire department is on the way, there is no need for home fire sprinklers, when sprinklers provide vital help suppressing the fire before it grows too large.  With a busy wildfire and hurricane season, thoughts of the natural environment and how we fit into it might be on many people’s minds, leading us to today’s topic.

 

Myth: Sprinklers don’t benefit the environment

Fact: Fire hoses, on average, use eight-and-a-half times more water than sprinklers do to contain a fire.Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition water use comparison

 

Last Monday we reviewed how the quick response of home fire sprinklers helps control a fire, limiting the amount of danger to life and property. But by suppressing the fire as soon as its heat is detected, sprinklers also can either extinguish fires or keep them small enough that they require less water to put out once first responders arrive. According to research conducted, home fire sprinklers can reduce the water usage for fighting a home fire by as much as 91 percent. Meanwhile, once firefighters arrive, the high-pressure hoses they use produce water at 125 gallons per minute, and they must use more water to deal with flames that have spread beyond the room of origin.

 

The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers report also shows that home fire sprinklers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98 percent, partly because of the impact on building sustainability when accounting for the difference in fire damage and necessary reconstruction between sprinklered and non-sprinklered homes. Wastewater from fires where sprinklers are present also have fewer persistent pollutants, showing decreased water pollution.

 

In short, in addition to being a no-brainer for safety, home fire sprinklers are green. This brochure for water purveyors, local officials, and the fire service gives a detailed look into home fire sprinklers and water supply. To find more resources on home fire sprinklers and how to get them into your community, check out the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

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