A new report on fire sprinkler performance and use in the United States has been published by the National Fire Protection Association.
US Experience with Sprinklers, published in May 2011, includes statistics on how often sprinklers are reported in fires by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire.
The report also includes statistics on performance, usage and reliability of sprinklers, as well as reasons when system fail to operate, or operate but are ineffective.
Of reported structure fires in 2005-2009, an estimated 9% showed sprinklers present, with 57% of fires in health care properties reporting sprinklers present. Manufacturing facilities, hotels and motels, prisons, dormitory and barrack accommodation had sprinklers reported in around half of reported fires.
Sprinkler installation is still comparatively uncommon in educational properties (34% of fires), stores and offices (23%), public assembly properties (21%), and homes (6%), where most fire deaths occur.
Sprinklers operated effectively in 87% of all reported fires where they were present in the fire area and the fire was large enough to activate them.
According to the 2009 American Housing Survey, 4.6% of occupied homes (including multi-unit homes) had sprinklers, up from 3.9% in 2007, and 18.5% of occupied homes built in the previous four years had sprinklers.
Download the US Experience with Sprinklers