Fire Sprinklers

Not in my backyard.

Michael Richeson POL 233 Sprinkler System

Sprinkler systems are commonly referred to as fire sprinkler systems. Sprinkler systems are used to put out fires within a building so as to reduce the damage of the fire and help firefighters to better control a fire once they arrive. Most types of sprinkler systems are used in commercial and government buildings, but are not very common on homes. Recent developments in the national fire code have made sprinkler systems needed within residential homes. Some of the codes include use of foam-water systems, and the use of sprinkler systems in residential buildings, such as 1 and 2 family homes and buildings up to 4 stories (NFPA 13D, 13R, 16). The benefit of using this system is that it is activated by the heat from the fire and contains the fire to the room of origin in most cases. There are many pros to the use of fire sprinkler systems, though the type of system used results in different outcomes. In general, the cost associated with fire damage is much less in all building types, and in the case of homes the average reduction is damage costs is 71% (http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=276&itemID=18249&URL=Research%20&%20Reports/Fact%20sheets/Fire%20protection%20equipment/Automatic%20sprinkler%20systems), with an average cost for damage is $16,000 to $5,000 from 2003-2006 between homes without and homes with the system. It also generally confines the fire in the room of origin for 74% vs. 94% without and with. There is also a lower death from fire in homes with fire sprinkler systems by 80% (http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//PDF/Sprinkler_Fact_Sheet.pdf). Regardless of these benefits, there are still some negatives that can be associated with fire sprinkler systems. In the numbers already listed, only 94% of fires were contained in their room of origin, leaving 6% of fires to spread, though this is not very significant. Most of the problems associated with the systems are caused by the failure of the homeowner to use the technology properly. Of the causes of a system to fail to activate, among them no maintenance and manually stopping the system, the largest cause comes from having the system turned off (63%). In the cases in which the system did engage but was unsuccessful, the main causes were from water not reaching the fire (43%) and not enough water being released (39%). Of the information detailed, I would recommend the use of fire sprinkler systems as a viable way of containing fires within the home. The type of system used, however, would yield different results based on the type of material released from the pipes. The system seems to be very efficient, regardless of the potential for water damage in the typical system. The types of alternatives are mostly using other materials to propel at the flames. The typical material used is jets of water, though this is not the only material that can be used. A typical alternative to this, mostly used in commercial buildings, such as restaurant kitchens, as well as on ships, is to use a mist of water. The mist of water would need sufficient heat so as to turn the water into steam, which will result in a steam cloud snuffing out the fire (http://www.apifiregroup.com/systems/water-mist.html). The use of mist also safer for humans, as the typical water system could harm any people still within the affected area. The mist system is also environmentally friendlier than the typical system in that there is less water emitted. Another alternative is a system that does not require water to be emitted.  This system is the use of carbon dioxide to be expelled to suffocate the flames (http://www.apifiregroup.com/systems/co2.html). The benefits of such a system are no damage to electronic devices and no residue from the system. These two systems are typically used in nonresidential buildings and may not be best within a home environment. The best solution would be using a typical fire sprinkler system in conjunction with a smoke detector.