The home fire safety feature you probably haven't thought about


Posted: May 17, 2019 | Word Count: 497

Home is supposed to be a safe space, so it can be scary to think about things like fires. Unfortunately, fires are a real threat. Seven people die each day due to home fires, so it's important to be ready.

Every home needs working smoke alarms and an escape plan for exiting the house. These are essential first steps, but there is an additional tool that dramatically reduces the spread of home fires, and the risk of dying from one: installing home fire sprinklers.

Home fire sprinklers save lives

You probably see fire sprinklers in commercial places all the time; maybe where you work or at your favorite stores. These systems are an effective method for controlling fires quickly. They’re less common in homes, but they work there just as well.

The risk of dying in a home fire decreases by about 85 percent if sprinklers are present. Research shows when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time. That means the sprinkler activates and puts out the fire before it has a chance to spread to other places in the home. The National Fire Protection Association and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition want you to know these facts:

Only one sprinkler activates: If a fire starts, the closest sprinkler will activate, spraying water to control the flames, heat and deadly smoke. That fast control gives you time to escape to safety. In most cases, just one sprinkler is needed.

Fire sprinklers use less water than fire hoses: When a sprinkler activates, it flows at a rate of 10-26 gallons of water per minute — a fraction of the water that fire hoses use. Because of the sprinkler’s fast action and less water flow, the property loss in a sprinklered home fire is far less than in an unsprinklered home fire.

Home fires are deadly in 2 minutes or less: It takes 9-12 minutes or more for a fire department to get notification, respond and begin suppression. In that time, an uncontrolled fire will grow and spread through the home, becoming potentially deadly in 2 minutes or less. A sprinkler controls the fire before it can spread, protecting residents and the responding firefighters.

Smoke alarms are not enough: Working smoke alarms are essential in every home. But they can only detect a fire, not fight it. Fire sprinklers detect the fire and automatically control it, saving lives and property.

Sprinklers are reliable and easy to maintain: Fire sprinkler mishaps are generally less likely and less severe than home plumbing system problems. For regions subject to freezing temperatures, proper installation eliminates worries. Maintenance is simple.

Take action now: Test your smoke alarms and practice your escape plan with your family. If you are thinking of building or buying a home, ask for fire sprinklers. They provide peace of mind, protecting you and your family should you ever face the threat of a home fire. Learn more at homefiresprinkler.org.

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Note to Editors

May 19-25 is Home Fire Sprinkler Week in the U.S. and Canada. Information about local events can be found at https://homefiresprinkler.org.