A guide to fire sprinkler systems

When it comes to tackling a fire in a building, every second counts. Trapped heat and plenty of fuel means that the flames spread at frightening speeds, destroying possessions, damaging equipment, and potentially causing loss of life.

Sprinkler systems are automatic, delivering an instant response to fire even if you’re not aware of it. The London Fire Brigade recommend sprinklers for everybody as they help to control how fast and far the flames reach throughout the building. In other words, they give people a greater chance of getting out while protecting your property from irreparable fire damage.

What is a fire sprinkler system?

A sprinkler is a type of Automatic Fire Suppression System (AFSS). These systems are used to manage and ultimately extinguish fires without any human involvement.

AFSS are usually water-based, dousing the rooms to stop the fire burning, but some utilise chemical foam or pressurised gas to minimise the oxygen in the environment. Alongside fuel and heat, oxygen is one of the three things fire requires to burn: remove it and the fire will go out.

How do sprinkler systems work?

Sprinkler systems are comprised of a network of pipes that run along the ceiling and within the walls. Using water pumps from reliable suppliers like RS Components, these systems rapidly draw water from a main source and up to the taps for a pressurised release.

Unlike smoke alarms which sense smoke particles in the air, fire sprinkler systems are triggered by heat. The sprinkler heads are heat sensitive, opening automatically when the building reaches a certain temperature. This means that they are only active in areas where there is fire, protecting the rest of your property from unnecessary water damage.

Where do you find sprinkler systems?

Sprinkler systems are primarily installed in large complexes where the residents or attendees are unable to escape a burning building with ease. This includes schools as well as larger hotels, B&Bs and hostels.

Buildings where the residents are under a duty of care, particularly if they offer sleeping accommodation, also have sprinkler systems. This is because there is a legal responsibility to ensure welfare for those on-site. Examples include hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.

Automatic Fire Suppression Systems are also found in buildings where the contents would react particularly dangerously in the event of a fire. An example of this would be a warehouse storing flammable chemicals.

The key benefits of fire sprinkler systems

As you can see, there are many key benefits of fire sprinkler systems that make them a worthwhile investment for your company.

Most important is that they will help to save the lives of your staff and patients or residents in the event of an unexpected fire. There is also the added benefit of protection from both fire and water damage, which will save you money and safeguard your precious possessions.