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fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection measure, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flow rate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected. Although historically only used in factories and large commercial buildings, systems for home and small building are now available at a cost-effective price. Fire sprinkler systems are extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 99% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone.

Watch this video for a brief demonstration of how sprinklers operate.

Most sprinkler systems are very simple. There are normally no moving parts to fail. The pipes are full of water, usually from the mains. The sprinklers over the fire burst open when they get hot and spray water on the fire. If you have water in your pipes the sprinklers will work.

Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate spraying water directly on the fire. Ninety percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.

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 and the chances are only 1 in 16 million! Firemen often use 10,000 times 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.

Modern sprinkler are specially designed to meet the needs of architects in offices, hotels, shops, hospitals and prestige buildings. They are compact and elegant. In most buildings, the public are usually unaware that sprinklers are fitted. 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 social housing, and clean areas, where there is restricted headroom or vandalism is a problem.

The most important thing to do to keep your sprinkler system in good shape is to have it inspected and serviced by GTM fire Protection Ltd. This will ensure any potential problems with your system are addressed early ensuring it operates properly in the future. In addition, fire sprinkler system maintenance will usually lower insurance premiums. In terms of specific do’s and don’ts when it comes to your fire sprinkler:

The sprinklers in your home are of the sidewall type. These are heat activated and will trigger at 74°C (167°F). The cover plate is for aesthetic purposes and springs off at 57°C (135°F).

The manufacturer states that there is a 1 in 15 million chance of a false activation through poor or faulty manufacturing. Please note the following information and retain for your records.

DO’s and DO NOT’s

 

DO NOT USE WALLPAPER STRIPPING APPARATUS IN CLOSE PROXIMITY OF THE SPRINKLER HEAD.

This includes steam strippers and heat guns as the heat could activate the sprinkler head into operation.

 

DO NOT PAINT A SPRINKLER HEAD OR COVER PLATE

This would prevent the sprinkler head operating at the set temperature and possibly not work at all.

 

DO NOT PAINT ANY EXPOSED PIPEWORK

Paint may react with the pipe material resulting in leaks.

 

DO NOT HANG ANYTHING FROM EXPOSED PIPEWORK

This would put stress on the pipework and possibly break it.

 

DO NOT OBSTRUCT A SPRINKLER HEAD WITH ANY OBJECT

The sprinklers have been positioned at precise locations to protect all areas of the dwelling.

 

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE A SPRINKLER HEAD

This would activate the system and water will flow immediately.

 

DO NOT DAMAGE A SPRINKLER HEAD

In the case of a fire this would have a detrimental effect on the system working correctly.

 

DO NOT MASTIC, CAULK OR SILICONE AROUND A SPRINKLER COVER PLATE

This will stop the sprinkler working.

 

DO CALL YOUR HOUSING AUTHORITY IF YOU NOTICE ANY LEAKS FROM THE SPRINKLER, OR FROM THE PIPE BOXING

In a large, fast-moving fire, people often do not know which way to go and may not be able to use hose reels or fire extinguishers. Sprinklers are completely automatic. They work by themselves and can stop heat and smoke from trapping people.

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