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6 benefits of installing an automatic sprinkler system in your building

Is your building equipped with a sprinkler system? A sprinkler system can snuff out a fire before it gets out of control. What’s more, sprinkler systems are mandatory in hotels, seniors homes, and similar buildings.

What is a sprinkler system?

It’s an overhead piping system equipped with sprinklers and a heat-sensitive element, triggered by heat. The piping system is usually connected to the municipal water supply, but sometimes it’s supplied by a private water source consisting of tanks and pumps.

6 benefits of installing a sprinkler system

Sprinkler systems are designed to control the early stages of a fire until firefighters arrive. Sprinklers are triggered as soon as heat is detected and the first flames appear.

The many benefits of an approved sprinkler system:

  1. Automatic, immediate and effective activation of fire extinguishers as soon as a fire starts, without human intervention.
  2. Automatic fire department alert: firefighters are informed as soon as the first sprinkler is activated through the building’s fire alarm system, which must be permanently monitored (locally or remotely).
  3. Limited damage to the building and its contents from fire, heat, smoke and water, as any fire outbreak is under control from the early stages.
  4. Increased security for the occupants, visitors and emergency services (fire, police, security, etc.) during a fire.
  5. Reduced risk of financial loss, as any business interruption tends to be shorter, which contributes to the company’s survival and job security.
  6. Lower insurance premiums in most cases for the owner and occupants of a building protected by a sprinkler system.

Do sprinklers cause more water damage?

Many also incorrectly believe that automatic sprinklers cause considerable water damage. In reality, sprinklers cause less water damage than firefighters. In fact, a firefighter’s hose pumps out around 380 litres per minute while a sprinkler only delivers 60 litres per minute. For a building without a sprinkler system or with a deficient sprinkler system, waiting for firefighters can allow fire to spread rapidly and require far greater amounts of water to put it out. Damage from the fire (flames, smoke and heat) and water will therefore be far greater.

Near 100% effective

For every six out of ten fires, sprinkler systems can control a fire without human intervention, and for the other four, they can contain the fire until the firefighters arrive. A study of more than 58,000 fires conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over a period of thirty years, has shown that sprinklers are effective in 96.2% of cases.

Three factors explain the rare cases in which sprinkler systems may not be effective:

  1. Insufficient water supply (volume and/or pressure)
  2. Closed control valves
  3. Inadequate sprinkler system against increased fire risks (e.g., certain types of use and activities, work on building, flammable items in storage).

Make sure you install an automatic sprinkler system adapted to your building and its specific characteristics.  A sprinkler system with an unlimited water source is more effective than other types of systems that use limited quantities of extinguishing agents. 

Check out our other prevention fact sheets:

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Want to learn more?

See our complete list of prevention fact sheets.

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The information in this fact sheet is of a general nature and is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive. Any action taken after reading this fact sheet should be carried out safely and, if necessary, by an experienced and authorized person.

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