There are several different types of fire sprinkler systems, but the most common is the Wet system. It is important to note that in all systems, (other than the Deluge system), each sprinkler head remains closed until activated by a heat source. For example, if a house equipped with a wet/dry system experiences a fire in the garage, the sprinkler heads in that area will be discharged. The sprinkler heads in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, etc, will remain closed unless the fire spreads to those specific areas.
In wet systems, the water is stored directly in the pipes leading up to the sprinkler heads. When a sprinkler head is activated, water is immediately released and cannot be stopped until the system is shut off.
Dry systems are used in colder climates to prevent water freezing and bursting in the pipes by storing the water underground. The pipes are charged with nitrogen or air, and create a pressurized barrier that is released in the event of a sprinkler head engaging.
These are systems that hold water in the pipes during summer months, and then can be drained and set up as a dry system during the winter months.
Pre-action systems are like dry systems, but instead of activating through the sprinkler heads, the pipes charge only during the activation of a fire or smoke detector. These systems are used in areas that contain expensive, irreplaceable property to prevent accidental damages caused by a faulty sprinkler head.
This is a dry system that is activated with a smoke or fire detection alarm. In this system, all sprinkler heads remain opened and once activated, quickly dumps water or foam to quickly suppress any fire threat. Deluge systems are used in industrial, mechanical, or hazardous material conditions where it is crucial to neutralize the fire threat immediately.
Choosing the correct system for your residential or commercial property is important to prevent unnecessary damages to your property. Those who live in cold climates have to determine the risk associated with a regular wet system, particularly if the property is not always occupied. When a system is discharged from a frozen pipe bursting, the water in the system will continue to drain until the main is closed. Having your system serviced or upgraded before the winter months can save you money and prevent accidental damages from occuring.
In 2010 the California Builidng Standards Commission ruled that all newly constructed buildings must be constructed with fire sprinkler systems. This new code went into effect in 2011 and umbrellas to individuals who already own a home but are planning to remodel or add structures to their property.
Those individuals who already own a home that was constructed before 2011 might be thinking how lucky they that the new Code does not effect them. Although you’re not required to get these systems, there are several reasons why you should consider it.
According to a report(1) done by the National Fire Protection Association:
- Fire deaths are 81% less likely in homes with fire sprinklers
- Injury rates in firefighters responding to home fires is 80% less in home with suppression systems.
- Fires in homes with sprinklers are 97% more likely to keep room structures.
- Death rate in home fires is 90% less with sprinklers compared to the 18% less in homes equity with battery powered alarms.
These numbers are huge. When homeowners consider the cost of installing systems (an average cost of $2,000- $7,500 depending on the size of the home), they often overlook what they are really paying for. Homeowner’s Insurnace does cover damages from home fires, but there are certainly things that simply cannot be replaced.
As a young child, I remember the frequent visits from local fire authorities to our school, accompanied with the famous slogan, "Stop, Drop, and Roll". The visits aimed to educate young children on fire safety. Now that you're all grown up in a home of your own, how much have you retained? Furthermore, with electronics becoming more and more intertwined in our every day life with each passing day, how does this affect the safety of your living space?
1. Electrical Cords
CORDS! Our households are laced with them. They power our flat screens, computer, lighting, tablets, phones, and appliances. You might innocently walk past them thinking they're safe and sound, but when was the last time you took the time to really inspect them? Checking your cords for wear-and-tear is one of the most simple ways to prevent an accidental fire. We all know that person who hangs on to that crippled and tattered iPhone charger for much longer than necessary. Other cords in your house are subject to the same degrade, which could potentially expose wires. Periodically checking that ball of cords mashed behind your entertainment center could potentially save your life. Also, be sure to utilize power surges correctly, check for outlet damage, and look for damages in the prongs of plugs.
2. Unattended Cooking
It's 2019. We are accustomed to doing a trillion tasks at once. Just look at your browser's tabs, you're all over the place between online shopping, bill pay, and social media. you're simultaneously multi-tasking on your phone as you multi-task in real-life! The kids, the pets, the cleaning- it's all managed at the same time and we are all guilty of spreading our attention a little too thin. Walking away from cooking- even to watch a quick YouTube video, is the number one cause for house fires in America. Even new-aged ranges equipped with motherboards are susceptible to error. In fact, now that we have the ability to remotely turn our appliances on or off with our phones (without actually being present), it creates an even higher risk for a house fire. Never leave food unattended or leave the house while any appliance is on, whether or not food is cooking. It's possible to access your appliance and preheat your oven while you're physically miles away- abstain from this practice! You could end up coming home to your house engulfed in flames. Keep a fire extinguishger handy, check for flammable items placed near a heat source (such as towels or boxes), and remember to NEVER put water on a grease fire.
3. Faulty Fire Protection Equipment
Smoke alarms are very important, but even I have been guilty of ripping one off the ceiling because it just doesn't pipe down. It's an awful heckler in the midst of another failed cooking attempt. You might even be lucky enough to have a sprinkler system in your home, but just because it's there, doesn't meant it's functioning properly. Have a professional check your systems and make the proper repairs. Faulty heads, incorrect system pressure, and leaky pipes inhibit the full potential of your fire suppression system. The same goes for your fire extinguishers, when was the last time it was inspected? Is it properly charged? Expired? IF you don't have any of these fire safety systems, GET THEM. Regularly checking these safety tools can help save your home and life in the wake of a house fire. Early detection is crucial to your survival, but also will limit the damage to your property.
These tips can save your life!