Automatic Sprinkler Systems

You May be Mistaken About Automatic Sprinkler Systems

The best way to fight the spread of a fire in your place of business is an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems can be cost effective. According to the American Fire Sprinkler Association, if you are planning a new building, sprinklers add about 1% to construction costs, about the same as new carpeting, and may also qualify for discounts on your insurance premiums. They are designed to control a fire even when the workplace is not occupied, and are about 95% effective when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association. They greatly reduce property losses by fighting a fire in its early stage.

Despite the evidence proving the effectiveness of sprinkler systems, some people are still skeptical about their value and role in controlling fires. Know the difference between fact and fiction to help you make an informed decision about an automatic sprinkler system.

Fact vs. fiction

The biggest myth about automatic sprinkler systems is that if a fire starts somewhere in the building, all the sprinklers will go off and spray every room, leading to property damage. This isn't true: The fact is that each sprinkler is individually activated by the heat of the fire. Each sprinkler reacts to the temperature in the room where it's installed, not to the reactions of the other sprinklers in the system.

Another misconception is that water damage from the sprinklers will cost more than actual fire damage. The fact is that an automatic sprinkler system is the best way to protect your business. In an environment with no system in place, a fire can spread through an entire building, potentially damaging a significant amount—if not all—of a business's property. With a sprinkler system, that same fire should be controlled in the room where it started with only a few sprinklers. All the other business property would remain safe.

For information about residential sprinkler systems, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.


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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.