SFMO: Home Fire Sprinklers Can Buy Time, Save Lives in Home Fires

Home Fire Sprinkler Week is May 19-25, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019 | 09:12am

NASHVILLE – With fires burning hotter and faster than ever before, every second counts when escaping a home fire. To commemorate the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Home Fire Sprinkler Week (May 19–25), the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is raising awareness of the life-saving capabilities of residential fire sprinkler systems.

Home fire sprinklers can provide valuable peace of mind to homeowners residing in newly constructed or renovated homes that were constructed with modern building materials, which can burn faster and hotter than “legacy” building materials. According to the NFPA, the civilian death rate is 81% lower in home with fire sprinklers than in homes without them.

“In the event of a house fire, fire sprinklers can help contain the blaze until firefighters arrive,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “Fire sprinklers can dramatically slow the growth of fire, giving residents more time to escape and limiting property damage. We encourage consumers to do their research to learn if fire sprinklers are right for them.”

To help consumers understand the life- and property-saving capabilities of home fire sprinklers, the SFMO shares the following facts:

  • Sprinklers are activated by the high temperature of fire—typically between 135°F – 165°F. Cooking fumes or signaling smoke alarms cannot activate sprinklers.
  • Home fire sprinklers activate individually. Only the sprinkler head closest to a fire activates.
  • Home fire sprinklers can contain a fire with a fraction of the water that would be used by fire department hoses.
  • Home fire sprinkler systems can be installed in new or existing homes.
  • Working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers are a winning combo in saving lives.

If you have a home sprinkler system, the SFMO offers these tips to ensure your system is properly maintained:

  • Conduct a monthly visual inspection of all sprinkler heads to make sure nothing is blocking or hanging from them.
  • Do a bi-annual water flow test on the sprinkler system to ensure all water flow devices are working properly.
  • Keep home fire sprinklers clear and free of objects that can interfere with their proper use.
  • If your sprinkler system has a tank, do a monthly check to ensure it is full.
  • If you have a pump-powered sprinkler system, start it each month to ensure it works and does not trip any circuit breakers.
  • Do not paint over your fire sprinkler heads. This can inhibit them from working properly.

For more information on fire safety and to download a free home fire safety tip sheet, visit our website.