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Five Fire Sprinkler Myths

Last Updated: January 18, 2023

Fire sprinklers are a large part of your property’s fire protection game plan. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to these systems:

  • Won’t they cause more damage than the actual fire?
  • Can I even afford a fire sprinkler system?
  • Isn’t it true that all sprinkler heads will activate even when there’s a small fire?
  • Aren’t smoke alarms adequate for protecting my office space from a fire?
  • Once I’ve installed my system, I’m protected from fire year-round, right?

Here are some of the facts when it comes to these myths:

Myth #1: Fire Sprinklers Cause More Damage than Fires

One of the biggest misconceptions of a fire sprinkler system is that it will cause more damage to the office or property from the water in the pipes than the amount of damage that a fire would cause. On the contrary, the damage from a fire sprinkler system’s water supply is much less severe than the damage caused by a raging fire or high-pressure hoses. .  Fire sprinklers are installed for the goal of controlling a fire as soon as possible, which minimizes damages, compared to a fire that could grow out of control.

The typical release of 15to 24 gallons of water per minute from a fire sprinkler head pales in comparison to the 50 to 150 gallons per minute from a fireman’s fire hose. According to the American Fire Sprinkler Association, fire hoses use eight times the amount of water compared to fire sprinklers. In addition, an unstopped fire in a commercial building could cause millions of dollars of damage and loss of business due to repair and disruption of work. By controlling a fire in its beginning stages, less water is required and there is less potential for damage.

Myth #2: My Business Can’t Afford Fire Sprinklers

Since fire sprinklers aren’t required in all commercial buildings—local, state, and grandfathered regulations will vary by location—some property managers view it as a way to cut costs. However, business owners should think of the devastating costs that their company would incur if a fire destroyed their entire building—assets, files, equipment, and all.

Installing a fire sprinkler system is a significant factor in reducing fire losses—widely recognized as the single most effective method for preventing the spread of fires in early stages.

Fire sprinklers also save lives. The NFPA also has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely sprinklered building where the system was properly operating (except in an explosion or flash fire).

The true consideration is, as a business owner is can you really afford not to have an operating fire sprinkler system in place?

Myth #3: Every Sprinkler Goes Off During a Fire

Despite the images we see time and again in movies & TV, where the star hits a single sprinkler head and all the sprinkler heads discharge, creating havoc, the fact is sprinkler systems don’t work like that. In reality, sprinkler heads are more boring.  Sprinkler heads act independently and water will only be released nearest the fire (only those heads exposed to their rated temperature will activate). You can dismiss concerns about false alarms and unnecessary activation sprinklers—the system is solely used to compactly control a fire in its origin.

Myth #4: Smoke Detectors Will Protect My Employees from Fire

Smoke and fire alarms are another crucial part of your fire protection plan, but cannot be the sole form of fire protection. Fire alarms serve to warn those in your office building that a fire has been detected and to get them to safety—they do nothing to stop or minimize the fire and its damage.

By extinguishing the fire and preventing more injuries and further damage, fire sprinklers are a more reliable method of minimizing downtime for your business.

Myth #5: Inspecting or Testing Fire Sprinklers Isn’t Necessary

False. Fire sprinkler system tests and inspections are the only ways to know that your building is in compliance with NFPA regulations. In your annual system inspection, a professional fire protection company should ensure that all parts of your fire protection system will be able to work together quickly and efficiently in the event of a fire. This includes:

  • Full wet trip tests of dry pipe valves as required
  • Exercise and lube of all gate valves
  • Testing of all flow, tamper, and pressure switches
  • Visual inspection of sprinkler systems
  • Static and residual main drain readings recorded

Fire sprinkler systems should also be dry tested every quarter. While it might be easy to forget this inspection, a simple solution is scheduling your quarterly tests with one of your business’ reoccurring or quarterly reports, goals, meetings, and more.  We also offer Service Agreements, whereby we handle the task of regularly scheduling inspections and performing them on schedule, without you having to remember the frequency. Our computer system automatically prints out the specific inspections that are due each month for each customer.

Fire Sprinkler Services in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama

An important part of optimally running your business is complying with local and state fire prevention standards and codes. You can’t plan a fire, but you can plan to protect your company—including its resources, assets, equipment, and property—should a fire occur.

State Systems  is the leading fire protection company serving  Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Our licensed technicians can help your business or organizations with all its fire sprinkler needs—from installation and replacement to inspection and maintenance.

Contact us today to schedule your service call!

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