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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Do Automatic Fire Sprinklers Work During a Commercial Building Fire?

7/5/2020 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler in red water pipe System Each fire sprinkler head is alert for a fire in its zone

Inside many commercial and multi-family residential buildings, a silent sentinel keeps guard against a fire. Overhead, each fire sprinkler head is alert for a fire in its zone, and the instant it detects one, it pops the safety tab and unleashes a burst of water directly at the source.

Are They Effective?

Very much so! Studies show that nothing is better at reducing fire damage and saving lives than a working active fire suppression system:

  • A 92% reduction in property damage.
  • Up to 100% reduction in lives lost.
  • Fire propagation is often reduced to a single room.

What Sets off an Automatic Fire Sprinkler?
Every sprinkler head works independently to detect a fire. Inside the sprinkler, there’s a device that will break or melt when a precise heat threshold is met. When heat from any source reaches the limit, the heat sensor will fail.
The water is always on at each head. This is a fail-safe setup, meaning that the sprinkler doesn’t have to do anything to work – the heat-sensitive device holds the water valve closed until it breaks. Unless it’s been tampered with since the last full inspection, it will activate when enough heat is applied, and the sprinkler will immediately start fanning water onto the flames.

What if The Sprinkler Head Activates Accidentally?
Statistically, that’s highly unlikely. Around 1 in 16 million heads will activate without a high heat event – a minuscule risk compared to the damage from a single fire.
Studies show that most accidental discharges are caused by either tampering or an accident. Curious employees can take an interest in a fire sprinkler, and a careless move with a ladder or forklift has been blamed for a good number of incidents.
Another cause is poor design. Some areas in a building will naturally receive elevated heat, such as where the sun can shine or near a furnace. A good system design company will account for this.
Once the sprinklers are shut off, you’ll need a top fire sprinkler cleanup company used to restoring water damage. SERVPRO is dedicated to restoring damage “Like it Never Even Happened."

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