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Benefits of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems

Post Date:05/21/2019 9:17 AM

The vast majority of fire deaths occur in homes. Smoke detectors remain the best device to help you escape from a fire. You should have a working smoke detector in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas and on each level of your home.

Fires in homes today burn hotter and faster than ever. According to UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, 40 years ago, you had about 17 minutes to escape a home fire. Today, you have about three minutes. Three minutes or less is all the time you may have to escape a fire in your home. Fires today produce more black and toxic smoke because of synthetic materials, furniture and construction. Fires today are more dangerous than ever.

You already know that smoke alarms can save your life by alerting you of smoke and fire, giving you time to escape. Did you know there is something else that could protect you and your family? A residential sprinkler system.

Residential fire sprinkler systems are a proven way to protect lives and property against fires at home. The cost of adding a sprinkler system is surprisingly reasonable. Adding a sprinkler system in a NEW home costs about $1.35 per sprinklered square-foot; similar to the price of a carpet upgrade, paving a stone driveway or adding a whirlpool bath, about $2,500. If you are building a new home or remodeling an existing home, consider installing a home fire sprinkler system.  

So how does it work?
When a fire starts and there is a sprinkler system, the fire is extinguished in the same room that the fire started in, not allowing the fire to spread to other parts of the house which can cut off your exit path to the door. The fire remains small, which reduces the amount of smoke produced during a fire. Smoke is what kills most people in a fire.

More specifically, each fire sprinkler head has a thermal device that is set for a specific temperature range. Each sprinkler is designed to go off when it senses a significant heat change. This technology responds quickly to reduce the heat, flames and smoke from a fire, giving families valuable time to get to safety.

Once there is enough heat created by the fire, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. Almost all fires are extinguished by just one sprinkler head, with just a few requiring two sprinkler heads to activate.

What about water damage?
Numerous studies have proven that you will have significantly more damage from fire and smoke spread then you will from water damage caused by the sprinkler system. No doubt that there will be some minor water damage from the sprinkler until the fire department arrives to shut down the system, but it is much less than a fire that is spreading throughout your house.

The Fire Department will use roughly 10 times as much water as a fire sprinkler would use. Fire sprinklers can reduce damage by up to 71 percent, and water usage to fight a home fire by as much as 91 percent.

Are they easy to maintain?
All you have to do is inspect the sprinklers to make sure they are not blocked and that the main control valve is never turned off. Guidelines have been created for the proper installation of systems to avoid pipes freezing, so no need to worry about the Iowa winters. Home fire sprinkler systems should be winterized the same as you winterize a domestic water supply.

Consider a home fire sprinkler system. There is no question that there is a cost to putting a sprinkler system into a house. There is also no question that a sprinkler system will save your home in the event of a fire and more importantly, can save the life of your family members.

If you have any questions, please contact the Marion Fire Department at 319-377-8237.

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