Coming soon - Fire Sprinkler Week 2014

Fri 31 Jan, 2014

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is supporting Fire Sprinkler Week, which runs from 3 to 9 February 2014. It's a national campaign which aims to raise awareness and understanding of the role sprinklers play in preventing and controlling fires.

Please come back to this page regularly as we will be adding links to other articles during the week (see "related content" above).

To give you a taste of what's to come, here are some myth-busting facts about fire sprinklers!

Myth 1: In a fire, every sprinkler head will activate, flooding my property.

Individual sprinkler heads will only activate when the room temperature reaches a certain point. The heads operate as individual heat sensors, so water is only released in the area where there is a fire. In 60 per cent of cases, fires are controlled by the spray from four sprinklers or fewer. Firefighters often have to use 15 times more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler does alone.

Myth 2: Sprinklers are too expensive to install.

In new buildings, the cost of installing sprinklers, considered over the life-span of the building, works out roughly equivalent to carpeting the same building. The Local Government Association has worked out the cost of sprinklers in specific types of building as:

  • Primary school with between 125 and 150 pupils – about £105,000, equivalent to between £10 and £15 per square metre.
  • Typical three- or four-bedroom house – about £3,000 to £3,500, equivalent to one or two per cent of building costs.
  • High-rise flats – around 1.5 to 1.9 per cent of building costs, equivalent to between £18 and £25 per square metre.

It is also likely that insurers will offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems, and that policy excesses will be lower.

Myth 3: Sprinklers are too expensive to maintain.

The annual maintenance costs of domestic fire sprinkler systems are between £75 and £150 a year (£6.25 to £12.50 a month). That’s a lot less than the cost of replacing home contents if a fire should occur.

Myth 4: Sprinklers are ugly and affect the design of a building.

Sprinklers actually allow design freedoms, if considered when a building is being built. They may allow larger rooms and a reduction in partitioning, or allow adaptation of layouts to better meet the occupier’s needs. Sprinklers can be recessed or flush-mounted to remain unobtrusive.

Myth 5: Sprinklers are unreliable.

Worldwide records show that only one sprinkler out of every 16 million sprinklers installed per year will result in failure. Every sprinkler head is independently tested before leaving the manufacturing plant.

Myth 6: Sprinklers only work on fires that can be put out with water.

Sprinklers can now be foam enhanced to control flammable liquid, chemical and petroleum fires.