Fire Sprinkler System Myths & Facts

Fire Sprinkler System Myths & Facts

Sprinkler Myths

Sprinkler may go off accidentally!

BUT IN FACT: Research shows that the probability of a sprinkler discharging accidentally due to a manufacturing defect is only 1 in 16 million. You have a better chance of winning the lottery!

Sprinklers heads will leak!

BUT IN FACT: Sprinkler systems are under the same pressure as the plumbing system but are tested at 2-3 times higher pressure during installation.

If one sprinkler head goes off, they all go off. Then, you’ve really got a mess!

BUT IN FACT: Sprinkler heads are designed to react to temperatures in each room individually. Normally, only the sprinkler over the fire will activate. Data shows that in residential scenarios, usually one sprinkler will control a developing fire; in commercial buildings, as few as three sprinklers will do the job.

They cause water damage!

BUT IN FACT: Tests have shown that damage caused by water on a sprinkler extinguished fire is substantially less than damage caused by water from a fire brigades hose in an identical unsprinklered fire.

Sprinkler Facts

Proven success:

Fire Sprinklers are by far the most efficient and effective fire safety devices known to man. Over the past 130 years they have had a better than 99% success rate in controlling fires around the world.

Widely used:

More than 70 million sprinkler heads are installed worldwide each year. The UK lags far behind the rest of the world with only 1.8 million sprinklers installed in 2003.

Ultimate protection:

The installation of fire sprinklers will virtually eliminate fire deaths, reduce injuries by at least 80%, reduce property damage by 90% and substantially reduce damage to the environment from fire.


Fire alarms and smoke detectors can only warn of a fire starting and depend on someone calling the Fire Brigade. Fire Sprinklers not only warn of a fire, they also act immediately to control it – even if no one is present. In fact the sprinkler system will probably have gained control of the fire long before the Fire Brigade is even notified.


Over 60% of fire casualties are physically or mentally disadvantaged, which prevents or slows their escape from a fire. Fire Sprinklers will at the very least control the fire, even if they do not extinguish it, and will raise the alarm. This will ensure that these occupiers will have an increased amount of time for evacuation or be able to stay in situ.

Saves lives:

Every day two people die and fifty are injured in fires in the UK. 75% of all fire casualties occur at home, where you are 3 times more at risk than anywhere else. Your chance of experiencing a major fire in your lifetime is just 1:5

Cost effective:

Sprinklers are NOT expensive; normally costing around 1-2% of the cost of construction of a new building. The use of sprinklers will usually allow design freedoms as well, which can reduce construction costs and improve usability of the building.


Fire Sprinklers are very reliable. Records show that the chance of finding a faulty head is about 1:16,000,000 (one in sixteen million). You have more chance of winning the Lottery!

Work individually:

Each sprinkler is individually triggered directly by the heat of a fire and initially just one head operates, which in most cases is sufficient to extinguish the fire alone. Only the sprinkler/s directly affected by the fire actuate, typically using around 60 l/min of water each to control the fire.

Use less water:

Sprinkler heads use less water than Fire Brigades hoses. A sprinkler system attacks the fire immediately, the only Fire Brigade action will be to turn off the sprinkler system. A fire sprinkler uses between 1/25th and 1/100th of the water used by EACH Fire Brigade hose – so in the event of a fire the sprinklers will actually reduce water damage

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