Sprinklers: Myths and Facts

Sprinklers have been proven to reduce the impact of fire. They are a potentially life-saving tool that bring many benefits. There are some common misconceptions about sprinklers. It is important that these sprinkler myths are dispelled.

Myth: In a fire all the sprinkler heads go off together.

The truth: Only the sprinkler head(s) directly affected by the fire is triggered.

Myth: Water from the sprinkler causes more damage than the fire.

The truth: Sprinklers attack 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.

Myth: A smoke detector will always provide enough protection.

The truth: Operational smoke detectors do save lives, however they do nothing to extinguish a growing fire.

Myth: Sprinklers go off accidentally.

The truth: The odds of winning the lottery are greater than the 16 million to one chance of a sprinkler malfunction.

Myth: Sprinklers are ugly and unsightly.

The truth: Modern sprinklers are specially designed to meet the needs of architects in offices, hotels, shops, hospitals and prestige buildings. They are compact and in most buildings the public are usually unaware that sprinklers are fitted.

Miniature sprinklers are little bigger than a 50p piece and are neat. They can be fitted with ceiling rosettes and painted to match any colour scheme.

Concealed sprinklers are recessed and covered by a flat plate flush with the ceiling. They are unobtrusive and almost invisible. Concealed sprinklers are ideal for clean areas, where there is restricted headroom or vandalism is a problem.

Myth: Sprinklers cause water damage.

The truth: Reports of water damage from fires in buildings with sprinklers are often exaggerated. Only the sprinklers over a fire open. All the others stay shut. A sprinkler opening by accident is almost unheard of.

Firefighters often use significantly more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler.

A valuable item sprayed with water from a sprinkler as it puts out a fire can usually be recovered or restored. One that is burnt to a cinder and flushed down the drain by a fire hose is another matter!

If there is a fire the water from one or two sprinklers is a small price to pay for saving a complete building, its contents or even a life.