Home Fire Sprinkler Week: How Do Fire Sprinklers Work?
Follow the MFD Blog all week long to learn how sprinklers protect lives, property, and the environment!
Home fire sprinklers are part of a network of piping that's discreetly hidden behind your walls and ceilings. Because the pipes are always filled with water, fire sprinklers are always “on call.”
If fire breaks out in your home, the heat increases the air temperature above. The nearest sprinkler head will activate when the air temperature gets high enough. Smoke will not activate sprinklers, only heat will.
When activated, the sprinkler sprays water forcefully over the flames. In most cases, the flames are extinguished completely. In all cases, the sprinkler controls the heat and limits the creation of toxic smoke until the fire department arrives to take over.
Sprinklers are so effective because they react very quickly. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire by dramatically reducing heat, flames, and smoke. This allows people time to evacuate their home. In a home without sprinklers, a fire is likely to grow to dangerous levels by the time the fire department is able to arrive.
Source: "How Home Fire Sprinklers Work" (NFPA)