Business owners have their share of business risks to worry about, with unexpected events like fires being one of the major ones. A fire can break out and before you reach the fire department, could destroy your commercial property, contents, paperwork, electrical systems, and more. Not to mention the personal injuries and deaths that could be caused by a building fire. According to the Insurance Institute of Business & Home Safety (IBHS), about 3,500 people are each are killed in fires. This is why as part of Building Safety Month, the IBHS wants to inform businesses of the importance of fire sprinklers and why they should obtain them.
The first thing to know is the basic features that come with the modern fire sprinklers. New fire sprinklers have a temperature-sensitive sprinkler head that recognizes temperatures above 135 degrees Fahrenheit. When detecting this temperature, the sprinkler can be activated on its own. They also will only operate due to the heat of a fire, but not vapors or smoke. As a fire starts, the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate when it senses the high heat temperature and is used to control the fire long enough for people to get to safety. They operate individually, so only sprinklers near the fire will be activated.
How do Fire Sprinklers Work?
The sprinkler head that detects heat includes a glass trigger and glycerin liquid that will expand when it detects the high temperature. This will break the glass surrounding the liquid and activate the sprinkler head. The fire sprinkler is attached to pipes hidden behind the walls or ceiling and connected to the building’s water source. When it is activated, it sends sprays of water through the pipes and starts keeping the fire contained.
How Well do Fire Sprinklers Work?
A common question about fire sprinklers is how well they actually work for containing a fire and keeping it from spreading and causing more significant damage. In 2009, the National Fire Protection Association performed a study on fire sprinklers effectiveness. They found that 91% of the time, sprinklers operated as they should on the structure fire. The most common reason for ineffective fire sprinklers was from lack of water supply. Another common reason for them being in the 9% of not working properly is because they were shut off before the fire broke out.
Fire sprinklers not only contain fires in your building structure and are activated on their own, but they can save lives as well. They contain fires long enough to get people out of the building and call the fire department. Fire sprinklers are also energy efficient as they reduce gas emissions and reduce the amount of charred material in landfills.
Even if your small business building is equipped with fire sprinklers, it’s always wise to practice fire safety tips and take steps to reduce your risk of fire in your workplace. Proper business insurance, including Fire Department Service Charge Insurance, is also highly recommended.