Nationwide, more than eight out of 10 fire deaths happen when people feel safest in their own homes here in California. That statistic will improve. That’s because every new home built in the state must be protected with a home fire sprinkler system and state fire marshal. I’m proud of the level of protection our great state has because fire sprinklers protect visitors to our homes, our families living in our homes, and they protect the firefighters.
Should there be an emergency response if you are living in a home protected by fire sprinklers?
There are some basic facts about fire sprinklers that you should know. The biggest myth, thanks to movies and TV, is that when there is a fire, the entire system goes off at once. The fact is, each sprinkler works independently and only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate. And if the fire is large, a second sprinkler nearby may also activate.
Then most of the time, only one sprinkler is need to control a home fire. Fire sprinklers work fast. In fact, sprinklers worked so quickly they often put the fire out before the fire department arrives.That gives you time to get yourself and your family safely out of the home. And burnt toast cigars or other smoke can’t set off a sprinkler, only extreme heat from a fire will cause the sprinkler to operate.
In many cases, understanding fire sprinkler systems should be easy. The water supply for sprinklers is the same water supply that feeds your plumbing system. And just like your plumbing system, your sprinkler system is always filled with water. If the water main is turned off to your home, you will not have water for your plumbing or your fire sprinkler system connected to the water supply.
You’ll find the sprinkler systems riser. The riser contains the control center for your sprinkler system. As you can see, the riser includes a pressure gauge and a flow switch and a test and drain assembly. If you’re living in a rural area where you don’t have a municipal water supply or you have a well, you may already have a tank and a pump, this well pump and tank can be used as long as it provides enough water and pressure to supply the fire sprinklers.
Your fire sprinkler system was designed to essentially be maintenance free. However, you may want to occasionally do some simple safeguarding to make sure your system is ready to work when it’s called upon. It’s a good idea to do a water flow test on a regular basis.
It’s really simple. Just open the valve.
If you have an alarm on your sprinkler system, it may take up to 60 seconds for the alarm to go off. It’s also important to close the valves slowly to keep it from causing a water hammer. Make sure you know where the water will flow out when you do the test. Typically, it’s right outside your home so the water can run into the yard if your sprinkler system is connected to a central alarm monitoring system.
It’s important that you notify them that you’re doing a test so they know it’s not a real fire. Your sprinkler system piping is installed behind your walls and ceilings of your home, just like your household plumbing pipes. In most cases, the pipes are hidden from view, but you may be able to see the pipes in some unfinished areas of your home.
A concealed sprinkler is covered by these plates that help them blend into the ceiling in a fire. The plate pops off first when the temperature reaches about one hundred and thirty degrees Fahrenheit. The sprinkler will operate shortly after that. This is a pendent sprinkler and this is a sidewall sprinkler. They all work the same way. It takes heat from a fire to activate each one. When the heat from the fire reaches one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy five degrees Fahrenheit, this bulb is designed to burst.
If you live in an area where freezing is a concern and you have pipes in your attic, take a look to make sure the insulation has not been removed from protecting the pipe. That is, if you’ve had work done in your attic.
If you want to keep your sprinkler system in working condition to protect your family and your home., don’t ever hang anything from the sprinkler piping or from the plate covering the sprinkler. Even a lightweight item can damage the hardware. Remember, if you want to hang something on the wall, make sure your hanging method avoids the piping for the fire sprinkler system. Treat your sprinkler system just as you do your electrical and plumbing systems, safeguard this life safety system from tampering and children should never play with the fire sprinkler equipment.
Try not to paint your sprinkler or the conceal plates.
Even a small amount of paint on a fire sprinkler will hamper its life safety operation, even though your home is protected with a fire sprinkler system. The ultimate fire protection. You still need working smoke alarms to let you know there was smoke in your home. Remember to hold family fire drills a couple of times each year. This is the perfect opportunity to practice how you and your family will get out of your home if there is ever fire, even with sprinklers.
It’s very important to know where to go, to move quickly and to stay outside until the fire department arrives. Your fire sprinklers will work automatically if you ever have a fire in your home, whether you’re home or not, whether you’re awake or not, if a fire breaks out, your sprinklers will quickly and automatically put water on the fire while it’s still small. That means you’ll have time to get out and that time can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
If you need to make sure that your fire sprinkler system is in tip-top shape, call World Fire Protection. Our operators are standing by and ready to help you.