Fire sprinkler systems

Find out what is really true about fire sprinkler systems and how they can keep your business safe

Dispelling the myths around fire sprinkler systems

There are a lot of myths that circulate about fire sprinkler systems, many are created from what we see in movies and tv shows. In the real world, fitting them in your business can help protect assets from fire and give people time to get out safely.

The Myths

Myth: All our sprinklers will go off every time someone burns the toast, damaging my stock and building

Truth: Sprinklers are only triggered when they reach a predetermined operating temperature. The predetermined temperature varies, but it’s often around 68°C.

Also, each sprinkler head is set to operate individually. That means only the sprinklers in the immediate area of the fire will open, all the others remain closed.


Myth: Sprinklers only use water

Truth: Sprinklers can now be foam enhanced, to control flammable liquid, chemical and petroleum fires.


Myth: Sprinklers are unreliable

Truth: Sprinklers are very reliable. Accidental discharge due to manufacturing defects is 1 in 14 million (per year of service).

Worldwide, sprinklers control of extinguish fires 99% of the time. There are sprinkler systems over 100 years old that are still in full working condition today.


Myth: Sprinklers are hugely expensive

Truth: The costs of installing sprinklers works out roughly the same as carpeting the same building.

The average cost of installing a sprinkler system for a business is between £33-£35 per square metre.

In contrast, damage from fires can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, sometimes running into millions of pounds.

Fitting sprinklers can save you money in some areas. Insurers frequently give discounts to buildings equipped with sprinkler systems. Policy excesses may also be lower.


Myth: Sprinklers are ugly and will spoil the look of my building

Truth: There are a lot of different sprinkler options to meet different needs. Modern sprinklers can be specially designed to meet your needs and are compact and elegant. The public will often be unaware that sprinklers are fitted.

Concealed sprinklers are almost invisible. They’re recessed, flush with the ceiling, and covered by a flat plate. Ideal for clean areas, areas with restricted headroom, or where vandalism is a potential problem.

Sprinklers may also mean that you can reduce the amount of visible, portable fire-fighting equipment that you need to have.


Myth: I’ve got all my fire protection in place, it’ll never happen to me

Truth: Of the 14,600 accidental fires in dwellings and other buildings in 2012/13, 5,700 were caused by electrical distribution and other electrical appliances

And, while you think you might not be a target for arson, there were 9,910 fires started deliberately in 2012/13, with over 3,063 of these in premises including industrial and retail buildings and schools.