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A fire sprinkler is a piece of equipment that discharges water when it detects fire or any other effects of fire, such as high temperatures. They are used worldwide and are a great safety tool.

Myth 1

“In a fire, every sprinkler head will activate and flood my property"

Individual sprinkler heads will only activate when the room temperature reaches a certain point. The heads operate as individual heat sensors and water is only released in the area where there is a fire. In 60% of cases, fires are controlled by the spray from four sprinklers or fewer.
Firefighters often use 15 times more water from hoses to do the same job as one sprinkler does.

Myth 2

“Sprinklers are too expensive to install"

In new building the costs of installing sprinklers, considered over the lifespan of the building, works out roughly the same as carpeting the same building.

The Local Government Association has worked out the cost of sprinklers in specific types of buildings:

  • 125-150 pupil primary school: total costs approx. £105,000, equivalent to £10-15 per m2
  • Typical 3-4 bed house: total costs approx. £3,000-£3,500, equivalent to 1-2% of build costs
  • High-rise flats: total costs around 1.5-1.9% of build costs, equivalent to £18-25 per m2

It is also likely that insurers will offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems and that policy excesses will be lower.

Myth 3

“Sprinklers are too expensive to maintain"

Annual maintenance costs of domestic fire sprinkler systems is between £75-£150 per year (£6.25-£12.50 per month). That's a lot less than the cost of replacing home contents should a fire occur.

Myth 4

“Sprinklers are ugly and affect the design of a building"

Sprinklers actually allow design freedom if considered when a building is being built. They may allow larger rooms and a reduction in partitioning, or allow adaptation of layouts to better meet the occupier's needs. Sprinklers can be recessed or flush-mounted and unobtrusive.

Myth 5

“Sprinklers are unreliable"

Worldwide records show that only 1 in 16 million sprinklers installed per year will result in failure. Every sprinkler head is independently tested before leaving the manufacturing plant.

Myth 6

“Sprinklers only work on fires that can be put out with water"

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

More advice

For detailed information about sprinklers, how they work and the different types of sprinkler systems, visit the following websites: