You’ve seen it in movies: the hero sets off the fire sprinklers to cause a diversion, the entire building gets flooded, and he gets away to save the day. Unfortunately, Hollywood gets a lot of things wrong about sprinkler systems.
Also, unlike the flicks, fires are real and very serious. Uncontrolled, it could lead to loss of lives and significant property damage. Without a proper understanding of fire prevention systems, your business or building could end up in tragedy.
To set the record straight let’s debunk five popular fire sprinkler system myths:
Myth 1: Smoke triggers fire sprinklers
It’s high temperature that activates a sprinkler system. A sprinkler head will only go off if heat reaches approximately 57°C to 74°C. It’s also highly unlikely that sprinkler heads will activate by accident, for example, due to smoke from burning toast, with only a one in 16 million chance of that happening.
Myth 2: Sprinkler systems go off all at once, causing major water damage
A movie scene that ends with an entire office drenched might be comedy-gold, but it’s far from true. Sprinkler heads activate one at a time, which means only those closest to the flame will be triggered. Fire and Safety Australia estimates up to 65 per cent of fires are extinguished by just one sprinkler.
Myth 3: A fire sprinkler system is all you need to control a fire
While a sprinkler system is highly effective, it should be one of your last layers of protection against a spreading fire. Ideally, other measures such as extinguishers or fire blankets would be used first when a fire starts.
Myth 4: Sprinkler systems don’t need regular testing
According to the standards set out in AS 1851-2012, Automatic Fire Suppression Systems or fire sprinkler systems require monthly testing. For sprinkler systems to function, they must work together with other components of your fire safety system, such as pump sets, water storage tanks and even the fire indicator panel. These components by themselves also require separate regular inspections.
Speak to a professional fire safety provider to check whether your entire system will adequately protect you in the event of a fire.
Myth 5: Because sprinklers are high up, they seldom get damaged
Did you know, one of the most common issues with sprinkler systems is damage to sprinkler heads? This usually occurs when tall vehicles get into physical contact with sprinkler heads in car parks. It’s essential to place height limit signages at car park entries and other areas accessed by tall vehicles where sprinkler heads are present.
Need help assessing your building’s fire sprinkler systems? Contact Global Fire. Our team can design and install the right system to suit your property’s needs. We also carry out routine testing to maintain the reliability of your sprinkler system. For a wide range of fire protection solutions, call us on 1300 88 70 18 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.