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Fire Protection

Residential Fire Sprinkler System Advantages

This is a guest post by Ryan J Smith. If you want to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

Fire sprinklers have been used in the protection of many business establishments. But lately these fire protection systems have also gained popularity among home builders and home buyers alike. So what leads people to install fire sprinklers in their residences even if they have already installed smoke alarms? It is because smoke alarms merely alert occupants to a spreading fire in the house, but these devices cannot suppress it. Fire sprinklers on the other hand have proven to be very effective in controlling a fire and protecting people from its associated dangers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were about 396,000 residential fires during 2005 in the United States. These fires had caused 3,055 civilian fire fatalities, 13, 825 civilian fire physical injuries, and $6.9 billion in property losses.

Studies conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s United States Fire Administration show that thousands of lives could have been saved if residential fire sprinklers had been installed in those burned homes. The installation of a fire sprinkler system could have also prevented most of the fire related injuries and substantially reduced property damage.

Residential fire sprinklers are therefore very beneficial to both people’s lives and properties. The advantages of these fire protection systems are further detailed below:

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Protection of Fire Protection Systems from Freezing

With the harsh winter many areas of the country are suffering from lower than normal temperatures making the protection of their fire protection systems from freezing more of an issue. As stated in NFPA 13

8.15.3.1.1 Unless the requirements of 8.15.3.1.2 are met, where portions of systems are subject to freezing and temperatures cannot reliably be maintained at or above 40°F (4°C), sprinklers shall be installed as a dry pipe or preaction system.

8.15.3.1.2 allows the use of antifreeze systems in small areas in lieu of dry pipe or preaction systems. As NFPA does not define small areas with a specific number the size is usually up to the contractor to determine due to the cost of the system verses a dry pipe system. Also the local building codes may specify and the Authority Having Juristiction (AHJ) may have input as to area and size limitations. In Florida we use NFPA 1 and it has no specifics on size limitations.

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The History of Automatic Sprinkler Protection Part 3 – Henry S Parmelee

The History of Automatic Sprinkler Protection
Part 3 – Henry Pamelee

Henry S. Parmelee is credited with inventing the first practical automatic sprinkler. Objecting to the high insurance rates he determined there had be a way to protect his piano factory that would reduce the rates.

His first attempt was not practical as it used a cord holding a spring mechanism which, when burned would release the device. Upon showing the head to an acquaintance it was suggested to him that the device should operate by heat as well. His first patent was for a perforated head with a spring holding am internal valve shut and released by a fusible link. It was complicated and never known to have been used.

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Self Regulation in the Fire Sprinkler Industry

Self Regulation

Are we victims of government regulation? What happened to our independence?

When I started in the fire sprinkler industry 33 years ago as a designer I had no idea who the fire marshal was. I seldom if ever submitted any drawings to the local government. When I did it was usually to the fire department and all they wanted to know was where the fire dept connection and alarm bells were.

Prior to that time the fire protection industry was self regulating. Now days it seems that not a news broadcast goes by without some call for more government regulation. But it was not always so. And without the development of a system of self regulation, there would be nothing available for today’s government to use to regulate us. There were many important developments that paved the way for government.
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