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Sprinkler in place


Fire sprinkler systems are used worldwide, with well over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. Automatic fire sprinkler systems are the most widely used fire protection system throughout the world. Sprinklers are designed to put as little water as possible on the seat of a fire at a very early stage of development.

Fire sprinklers in the past were used only in warehouses, factories, offices and other commercial premises, but in recent years they are regularly installed in family dwellings, care homes, student accommodation, hospitals, libraries and historical premises.

Why should you install sprinklers?

Sprinklers, and other Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS), can save lives, homes, and businesses.

  • They provide protection from fire damage
  • They give people a greater chance of getting out if there is a fire
  • They will detect a fire no matter what time of the day, even if the premises are empty or occupied
  • Reduce fire death and risk of injury
  • They make fires more easily controllable and limit the production of harmful smoke and fumes
  • Reduce the effects of arson
  • Provide enhanced resilience for businesses and communities
  • Mitigate fire risks commonly associated with high risk premises
  • Reduce the environmental impact of fire
  • When firefighters need to enter burning buildings on search and rescue operations, sprinklers significantly reduce the risks to firefighters.

    75% of businesses do not recover from a serious fire

Who are they good for?

Every business can benefit from installing sprinklers. There are some organisations, groups and property types that could particularly benefit from sprinkler installation. These include:

  • Care homes
  • Schools
  • Heritage buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Specialist housing
  • Residential properties over 18m in height – including student accommodation
  • Hotels, B&Bs and hostels
  • Complex and deep sub surface structures such as basements
  • Large warehouses.

How do sprinklers work? 

Sprinklers are also known as Automatic Water Suppression Systems (AWSS) which automatically apply water to a developing fire to control or contain the fire, other examples include water misting systems and fog systems.

Sprinklers systems are activated by intense heat caused by fire. Only the sprinkler head closest to the fire will be activated and it attacks the fire quickly and directly so less water is needed. As they also operate the fire alarm, the flow can be quickly turned off when the fire is out.

Sprinklers use typically 60 litres/min of water to control the fire. This is between 1/25th and 1/100th of the water used by each fire service hose. A typical firefighting hose uses 500lpm, so in the event of a fire, water damage is minimised.

In fact, sprinklers use even less water than this because they tackle the fire immediately, when it is still small.

Smaller fires need much less water to control them which means more water is conserved and there is less water damage to buildings. Houses which suffer major fires are seldom able to be lived in afterwards and are often demolished. Rooms protected by domestic sprinklers can usually be back in use within a few days, and the rest of the house is usually unaffected.


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