Residential and Domestic fire sprinkler systems are pretty similar in that they both use the same heads and pipe and are both included in the same British Standard (BS 9251). There are however some differences as detailed below-
Residential Fire Sprinklers -
A Residential sprinkler system is required in property that is used as a shared residence with shared access and living space, this applies to homes for the elderly, care homes, some student accommodation and Houses of Multiple occupancy in Scotland and the UK. Residential systems are generally larger than domestic systems and require enough pressure and water to supply 4 sprinkler heads at once for 30 minutes running time. More often than not a large tank and a pump is required to supply the water and pressure needed for a residential system.
Domestic fire sprinklers Scotland-
A Domestic fire sprinkler system is usually smaller in size than a residential system and suited to single dwellings such as a family home or apartment. Some HMO properties can be fitted with a domestic rather than a residential system if they were originally single family homes or apartments, the authority having jurisdiction in Scotland will determine which system is adequate and can be installed in any particular property. The British Standard states domestic systems should have enough pressure and water to supply 2 sprinkler heads at once for 10 minutes running time.
Video courtesy of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition - HFSC
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Why install fire sprinklers?
The vast majority of fires start small but can grow very quickly. If when a fire starts it is detected quickly, it can be extinguished with minimal water usage.
Unfortunately, if the fire is not tackled soon enough it can engulf a room within a few minutes. Sprinklers act fast and fight fires before they take hold.
What proof is there that fire sprinklers work?
In the last 120 years the success rate of fire sprinklers controlling fires is more than 99% worldwide. Fire sprinklers are the most effectual and efficient safety devices known to man.
Are sprinkler systems widely used?
Over 40 million sprinkler heads are fitted around the world every year. The UK lags well behind with just 1.8 million sprinklers fitted in 2003.
What do sprinkler systems cost?
The cost of installing a domestic fire sprinkler system varies but is generally dependent on 2 things, firstly the size of the system and secondly the water supply.
For example, a one floor single family dwelling only requiring between 4-7 sprinkler heads that does not require a warrant or structural report. If the property has sufficient pressure and flow in the mains water to supply 2 heads for 10 minutes at 42L/min minimum each head (2 = 84L/min) or if there is only 1 head per room 60L/min for 10 minutes then this system would only cost around £1500. Obviously, larger systems and systems that require a pump and tank fed water supply would cost more.
Residential systems also vary dependent on size and supply but generally will need a large tank and pump set as the British Standard code of practice states residential systems should be able to supply 4 sprinkler heads in the same room for 30 minutes continuously at 42L/min per head. 4 x 42L/min = 168L/min X 30 mins = 5040L tank.
What is fire safety strategy?
The current fire safety strategy is based around-
- Educating the public
- Giving early warning of fire
- Restricting the spread of fire for as long as possible
How many people are injured by fire?
In Great Britain every year fire kills around 600 people and injures around 18000. Approx. 75% of which occur in their own residence.
How would sprinklers reduce the impact of fire?
Installing fire sprinklers would almost eliminate the risk of fire death, cut the risk of injury by over 80%, drop the risk of fire damage to property by 90% and massively help the environment by reducing the damage caused by fire and substantially reducing the amount of water used by fire fighters.
Why don't i just fit a smoke alarm?
Smoke detectors and alarms only alert people of fire and that is only if they can hear them, even then they would still have to call the fire brigade and wait on them arriving before tackling the blaze. Sprinklers warn of fire but also fight the fire at an early stage even if no-one is aware or present in the property. Most of the time the sprinklers will have controlled the fire before fire fighters have even been called.
Will sprinklers not wreck the property and its contents?
Sprinklers use between 1/25th and 1/100th LESS water than EACH Fire brigade hose. In the event of a fire and the Fire Brigade being called the fire will have been burning and spreading for somewhere between 5-30 minutes before the fire fighters arrive therefore the reduction in damage caused by both fire and water is huge.
If a fire starts will all the sprinkler heads go off?
A common misconception of fire sprinklers is that they all go off at the same time. Only the sprinkler (or 2 sprinklers if the fire starts directly between them)that is nearest the fire will actuate and in many cases be enough to extinguish the fire completely.
What if the sprinklers don't work?
There is approx. a 1 in 16 million chance of a sprinkler head being faulty. They are extremely reliable.
Who is most at risk?
Care homes in which the vast majority of residents are elderly, there are on average 3 fires reported every day.
Childrens homes and residential property mainly used by handicapped or disabled people report on average around 8 fires every week.
Residents in property over 3 stories high are also most at risk.