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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Commercial Fire Sprinkler Myths

2/22/2023 (Permalink)

Image shows a fire suppression system's red pipes and main supply line and controls. Fire Suppression Systems save lives and help reduce damage.

If you own commercial property, a fire sprinkler system can prevent irreparable damage to your building and is required by law for most public commercial spaces. Unfortunately, commercial fire sprinkler myths can get in the way of this important safety device. Here, we reveal some truths about how commercial fire sprinklers work.

  • Myth: When one fire sprinkler goes off, all of the others do, too. 
      • Fact: Contrary to what you might have seen in the movies or on TV, sprinklers don’t all go off at once. Each sprinkler head is activated individually when it senses temperatures of over 155°F. So, only the sprinklers that sense high levels of heat will activate, which typically means that only a few sprinklers will go off in a fire. This is fine because the majority of commercial fires can be extinguished by two sprinkler heads or fewer. 
  • Myth: There’s no need for sprinklers if you’ve installed smoke alarms. 
      • Fact: Smoke alarms will provide an audible alert when there’s a fire, but they do nothing to extinguish it. If a fire starts outside of business hours, the smoke alarm can’t do anything to contain the fire. The flames are likely to spread and destroy property before the fire trucks can make it to the building. 
  • Myth: The damage that fire sprinklers cause is more expensive than fire damage. 
      • Fact: The truth is that fire sprinklers release significantly less water than firefighters’ hoses. What’s more, because they help keep fires from spreading, they reduce the amount of extinguishment the firefighters need to perform, reducing water damage. 
  • Myth: Sprinkler systems are extremely sensitive and easy to trigger. 
      • Fact: According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only about 1 in 16 million sprinkler heads activate accidentally. Because they only activate when they detect high heat, they won’t go off if an employee takes a smoke break too close to the building or burns lunch. Smoke alarms don’t set off sprinkler systems, either. Each system is triggered independently by heat. 
  • Myth: Fire sprinkler systems are not effective. 
      • Fact: Data shows that sprinkler system installation minimizes the number of injuries and fatalities from fires. Research indicates that buildings with sprinkler systems have an 87 percent lower death rate and a 27 percent lower injury rate than buildings that don’t have them. 
  • Myth: Fire sprinklers don’t require maintenance
      • Fact: Like any other mechanical system, sprinkler systems require regular maintenance. You’ll need to keep them from freezing in cold weather, monitor pipe pressure, test them, inspect the heads for damage, check for leaks, and make sure the valves open and close properly. It’s also important to turn them on; property owners failing to turn their systems on accounts for 59 percent of sprinkler system failures. 
  • Myth: Your insurance isn’t affected when you install a sprinkler system.
      • Fact: In some places, the installation of sprinkler systems is required by law. While this can be costly, insurance companies will often lower premiums for businesses with a sprinkler system installed. 

If your building has suffered fire or water damage, call SERVPRO of Mandarin. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Jacksonville area commercial property and get everything back to preloss condition. We’ve served our community for over 40 years, and we’re experts in water damage repair and restoration as well as damage from fire and soot. Call (904) 636-0044 to contact us today!

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