NFPA Statistical Data Proves That Fire Sprinklers Work

NFPA Statistical Data Proves That Fire Sprinklers Work | #ESC_LLC #SprinklerSaves #FireSprinkler #Fire | Although fire code dictates when and where a fire sprinkler system is required, it’s natural to wonder if these systems truly work. Statistical data is available through NFPA that proves that sprinklers are without a doubt worth the money spent. Want to see the numbers? Continue reading…

John Larkin (left) on the job (image)
John Larkin examining the details behind a new 142-head fire sprinkler system on the ’44 N. High’ project.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) of Quincy, Mass., the overall purpose of any automatic extinguishing system (AES) is to control a fire until firefighters arrive on the scene. Statistical data provided by an NFPA report entitled U.S. Experience with Fire Sprinklers, attributed to Marty Ahrens, indicates that “an estimated average of 49,840 (10%)reported structure fires during 2010 to 2014.”

The following statistical data shows unequivocally that fire sprinklers as an AES is effective in its mission, which is to control structural fires when and where they are adequately installed, tested, and maintained.

NFPA Statistical Date (image)This first chart shows where fire sprinkler systems are used the most. As you can see, institutional facilities, such as hospitals, commonly use them. Believe it or not, there was a day in the distant past when this was not always the case. By way of education and a growing need for fire codes on a local basis, it’s safe to say that an overwhelming majority of institutions now are equipped with automatic fire sprinkler systems.

The next chart says it all, as far as John Larkin, Senior Partner with ESC of Greater Ohio, is concerned. “Statistically speaking, there is no doubt that fire sprinklers make a huge difference not only in protecting property and assets, but even more so from a standpoint of life safety.”

NFPA Statistical Date (image)Here, you can clearly see that out of every 1,000 reported first, there’s less than 1 civilian death where there’s a fire sprinkler system on the job. On the other hand, NFPA statistics tell us that 6.3 civilians die where there is no fire sprinkler in place. The statistical data is less amazing where it comes to civilian injuries, but clearly, sprinklers make an impact under this category as well. Firefighter deaths also amazingly low where there’s a fire sprinkler on duty: 20 per 1,000 fires compared to 61 where there is no fire sprinkler present.

NFPA Statistical Date (image)Last but least are the stats that provide an indication of operational effectiveness. This next chart shows us that 88 percent of all installed sprinklers were operational during a fire–the remaining 8 percent failed to operate and anther 4 percent were not effective in the overall mission, which, if you recall, is to control a fire until firefighters arrive.

“Only one sprinkler head operated in four out of five (79%) fires in which sprinklers operated. In 97% of fires with operating sprinklers, five or fewer heads operated,” reports NFPA’s Marty Ahrens.

NFPA Statistical Date (image)This next chart, entitled, “Reasons for combined sprinkler failure and ineffectiveness,” provides an inside look at what happened with the 12 percent that did not operate properly or that were found to be ineffective. Here we see that 40 percent of combined failures involved water shut-off and in 59 percent of these failures the water was turned off.

One way to assure that the fire sprinkler system installed in your facility, high-rise building, or campus is installed correctly and ready to do the job for which it was intended is to have ESC inspect your grounds.

Real World Examples of Where Fire Sprinklers Worked

Here are previously published news items related to successful fire sprinkler activation where a fire was either extinguished because of a fire sprinkler or the fire was contained and controlled until firefighters arrived on the scene. These examples prove that, aside from fire code requirements, fire sprinklers are a wise and good investment. This is only a handful of examples that ESC has provided through the years:

1/24/20: Man severely burned in downtown Cleveland #blaze; #firefighter also #hospitalized | #ESC_LLC #SprinklerSaves | The building’s sprinkler system helped to extinguish the fire. it’s not yet known what sparked the flames, and authorities are investigating.

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John Larkin on the left (image)
John Larkin works with ESC fire sprinkler tech, working on details related to sprinkler head positioning.
9/19/19: A #fire was reported at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at Bridgestone Firestone Distribution Center in La Vergne | #ESC_LLC #FireDetection #SprinklerSaves | The sprinkler system was activated after material in the plant caught on fire, said Anne Smith, public relations officer for the city of La Vergne.

9/19/19: #Fire on Sunday damages Minot #apartment | #ESC_LLC #SprinklerSaves | A northwest Minot apartment complex suffered water damage Sunday on all three floors after a stove top fire in a third floor unit caused by overheated cooking grease, according to a press release from the city of Minot. Firefighters responded but found the building’s sprinkler system extinguished the fire:

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9/19/19: Electrical #fire damages part of Southern #University building; some classes cancelled | #ESC_LLC #School | The university said the fire started around 1 a.m. in a second-floor office at the nursing school building. The flames caused sprinklers to activate and extinguish them before fire crews arrived:

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9/19/19: Fire sprinkler system prevents major damage at ML business | #ESC_LLC #SprinklerSaves #FireCode #Fire | “The fire had been contained to the vehicle through the proper operation of the fire sprinkler system. Two sprinkler heads opened and suppressed the fire until firefighters could access the seat of the fire and fully extinguish it using fire hose hand lines.” Read about it:

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9/17/19: Electrical #fire damages part of Southern #University building; some classes cancelled | #ESC_LLC #School | The university said the fire started around 1 a.m. in a second-floor office at the nursing school building. The flames caused sprinklers to activate and extinguish them before fire crews arrived.

Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Email: ESC@Tpromo.Com
If you’d like to know more about the fire sprinkler system you already have, or you’re looking into a new one, contact John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner for assistance. He or another qualified, certified sprinkler professional will be happy to discuss the details with you. Call ESC at 614-754-1393, email or use the convenient contact form below: