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Last month we discussed a common home fire safety subject everyone tends to know about: smoke alarms. While most of the country is still under lock-down, spending all day at home, there is another important home fire safety option that you may want to consider—a newer technology that greatly reduces injury, death, and property loss from home fires, but isn’t as common in most households. This additional fire safety technology is home fire sprinklers!

While smoke alarms are absolutely necessary in preventing loss of life by alerting you of fires in your home, they cannot do anything to reduce the size of the growing fire as you escape with your loved ones—but home fire sprinklers can! Their job is to protect lives by keeping fires small. Sprinklers activate when there is a fire, reducing the heat, flames, and smoke produced, while allowing people more time to escape. Often, people only have 1-2 minutes to get out of their homes once their smoke alarms sound. Activated home fire sprinklers can make the difference in getting you and your family out before it’s too late! And they can save your property, too.

Yet, the idea of home fire sprinklers sometimes makes home owners wary of potential water damage. Although this is a valid concern, home fire sprinklers are heat sensitive and are activated by the intense heat of a fire, and only the sprinkler head closest to the fire will activate when that temperature threshold is met, greatly reducing the damage that could have occurred if the fire was left untamed. In the extremely rare case that sprinklers malfunction and turn on accidentally, there are products such as the Quickstop Talon, sold by FireAvert, that are designed to stop a sprinkler in the event of an accidental discharge. Overall, a home sprinkler system is a great added measure to prevent potential fire damages.

In case you’re not convinced, here are some more facts and statistics from the NFPA.

According to NFPA’s “U.S. Experience with Sprinklers” report:

  • the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them.

  • the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires.

  • when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.

  • the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren’t.

In addition, fire sprinklers are environmentally friendly, by reducing fire damage by up to 71%,  and water usage by as much as 91% (10 times less than a fire department), sprinklers lower the amount of water run-off and pollution caused by a single fire.

We hope you’ll consider the benefits and increased safety that home fire sprinklers offer as you stay home during this time. They can be installed in new or existing homes. Hopefully, over time, they will become more and more common in households and be as prevalent as smoke alarms.

For more information about home fire sprinklers, visit firesprinklerinitiative.org or homefiresprinkler.org. Home Fire Sprinkler Week will be May 17-23 — a project of the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition happening this month. You’ll definitely want to check it out!