Fire Sprinkler Facts
Although members of the public are not generally knowledgeable to test and maintain sprinkler systems, here are a few basic rules everyone should follow:
• Never paint any fire sprinkler heads or sprinkler escutcheons.
• Never hang anything from any part of a fire sprinkler system.
• Never stack items close to sprinklers. Maintain a minimum clearance of 18” below the sprinkler deflector to the top of any storage or obstruction. This keeps the spray patterns of the sprinkler clear and free to fight fires.
• Always report damage to any part of a sprinkler system.
Have your systems inspected at least annually by a certified and licensed contractor. When sprinklers fail to operate, the reason most often given (63% of failures*) is shutoff of the control valve before the fire began. In the U.S. in 2010:
• A fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
• One structure fire was reported every 65 seconds.
• One civilian fire injury was reported every 30 minutes.
• One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 55 minutes.
Did you know that when wet pipe sprinklers operated 89% of reported fires involved only 1 or 2 sprinkler heads? For dry pipe sprinklers, 76% involved only 1 or 2 sprinkler heads”.
* Source: In the U.S. Experience With Sprinklers, John R. Hall Jr., NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, September 2011