Fire Detection System Accidental Activation – What Should You Do?

Fire alarm box

Fire detection and suppression systems are essential pieces of fire safety equipment. When properly installed and regularly maintained, they can provide early warnings of potential fires, allowing for timely evacuation and intervention.

If your fire detection system is paired with a suitable fire sprinkler system, it can also extinguish fires before they have the opportunity to spread. Not only can this protect lives, but it can also prevent the destruction of your property and assets. 

With that said, there are instances where a fire detection system can misfire or be accidentally activated, causing unnecessary panic, disruption, and the potential for serious water damage due to running fire sprinklers. 

Knowing how to respond quickly and effectively in these situations is crucial for minimizing water damage and the overall impact on your business.

This guide will provide a detailed look at what you can do when your fire detection and suppression system misfires. We’ll also emphasize the importance of maintaining your system and equipping it with a fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the Shutgun

So, let’s get started! 

Immediate Actions When a Fire Detection System Misfires

If your fire detection system has been activated accidentally, or it activated due to a malfunction, follow these steps to manage the situation: 

1. Assess the Situation

Even if your system has a history of past misfires and malfunctions, you do not want to ignore it or deactivate it prematurely. Conduct a thorough examination of the area to determine whether it was a simple false alarm or if the system was responding to an actual fire. 

Ideally, it would be the result of a misfire or accidental activation, but you do not want to shut your system off only to discover that it was triggered by fire-related smoke that went ignored. 

2. Deactivate the Sprinklers

Once you are absolutely sure that it was a false alarm, check your fire sprinklers to see if they are running. If your fire detection is connected to an automatic fire sprinkler system, chances are the sprinkler heads will be expelling water. Since each sprinkler head can expel as much as 60 gallons of water per minute, you will want to shut them off as quickly as possible. 

While you can always wait for first responders to arrive on the scene, each minute you wait could cost your business thousands of dollars in water damage. This is why a user-friendly fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the Shutgun, is indispensable for firefighters and maintenance personnel. 

Since the Shutgun is designed for safe, one-hand operation, we recommend positioning one Shutgun with each fire extinguisher in the building. This ensures they are always accessible in the event of a sprinkler head misfire. Consider building your own Custom Shutgun Case to have the correct number and type of Shutguns for your exact needs. 

3. Silence the Alarms

If you have determined that the fire sprinklers were not activated or you have safely deactivated them, you can now silence the alarm system. Even though the alarms can be irritating when not needed, assessing the fire risk and deactivating unnecessary fire sprinkler heads should always take priority. 

4. Notify All Personnel

Inform all staff members that it was a simple false alarm and it is safe for them to return to their regular duties. Even during a false alarm, your employees should still react as if it were a real emergency, so you may need to explain the situation at the designated emergency meeting point. Remember, you never want to approach fire safety casually, as real fires can become deadly incredibly fast. 

5. Inspect the Fire Detection and Sprinkler Systems

Ensure that the fire alarms, manual pulls, sprinkler heads, and all other components are not triggered due to visible damage. If they were, you would want to schedule them for maintenance immediately. 

If false alarms continue to occur regularly but you cannot identify the cause, you may need to contact a qualified service team to address the issue. 

6. Always Document the Incident

For your own liability and peace of mind, you should always record the details of any incident where a fire detection or suppression system was activated accidentally. Record the time, date, location, cause, actions taken, and any other relevant details you can think of. 

The Importance of Maintenance for Preventing Accidental Activations 

Now that you understand just how disruptive and destructive misfires can be if they cause water damage, it is worth stressing the importance of regular maintenance and inspections. Here are just a few reasons why maintenance is essential when it comes to preventing misfires: 

Early Identification of Issues

Regular inspections from qualified personnel ensure that potential issues are spotted early. When you opt for regular inspections and maintenance through a professional company, faulty sensors, wiring problems, and other types of damage can be identified and addressed early, avoiding costly disruptions and water damage. 

Ensures System Reliability

In addition to preventing misfires, regular inspections and maintenance ensure that both your fire suppression systems are reliable, reducing the risk that they will not activate when needed. 

Sure, false alarms can be annoying, and misfiring fire sprinklers can cause severe water damage, but an undetected fire can be deadly and entirely ruinous for your business. You do not want to take any risks regarding system reliability. 

Compliance with Regulations and Fire Codes

In many industries, regular maintenance is required by law. If it is proven that you failed to have your fire detection systems inspected and maintained, you could be held legally responsible in the event of an uncontrolled fire. Not only could this damage your business’s reputation, but it could also add to the already immense expenses related to repairing fire damages. 

Why Is a Fire Sprinkler Head Shut-Off Tool So Important?

Allowing a fire sprinkler head to continue expelling water when it is unnecessary can cause serious water damage and business interruptions. From immediate property damage to costly mold growth, water damage can be incredibly expensive to deal with

Whether your fire sprinklers were activated because your fire detection system was accidentally activated, the sprinkler heads themselves misfired, or they successfully extinguished a fire but are continuing to run, you need to empower yourself to shut them off.

Invest in the Shutgun and provide effective Shutgun training to all of your employees by clicking the following link: Help Me Prevent Water Damage

Fire Emergency Preparedness Basics – Fire Safety Training Info

Woman using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire

Fire safety training is a critical aspect of workplace management that any business or organization should never overlook. Not only can it protect people, property, and assets, but effective fire preparedness can also safeguard your business’s reputation and ensure compliance with legal requirements and fire codes

Today, we will explain the importance of fire safety training before going through the main components of fire preparedness. We’ll even explain how you can prevent water and fire damage by keeping a Shutgun Fire Sprinkler Shut-Off Tool with every fire extinguisher in your facility.

The Importance of Fire Safety Training

While it may sound fairly obvious, ensuring that all employees, regardless of role, have basic fire safety training is incredibly important. You can save lives by ensuring that all staff members understand potential fire hazards, know how to use fire safety equipment safely and effectively and understand the importance of a quick and orderly evacuation. 

Effective fire safety training will teach your employees valuable skills and help them remain calm during incredibly stressful situations. This could go a long way towards saving lives and minimizing property damage. 

Effective Fire Safety Training 

Before we discuss the main components of fire safety training, it’s worth mentioning that this type of training should be ongoing. Staff should be drilled regularly, and fire safety and prevention inspections should be conducted regularly. 

With that said, here are some of the essential elements you need to include in your fire safety training program: 

1. Fire Prevention Training

Employees should be educated about fire hazards relevant to their specific workplace. This can include unplugging unused electrical equipment, properly storing combustible materials, not blocking emergency exits, and handling flammable materials correctly.

These training efforts need to be accompanied by regular inspections to ensure that nothing has been neglected. Remember, when it comes to fire safety, fire prevention is always better than being forced to react to a fire situation. 

2. Fire Safety Equipment Training

Employees should be trained on properly operating fire extinguishers, manual fire alarms, fire blankets, and other fire suppression equipment. Hands-on training and group demonstrations can ensure that employees know how to use this equipment properly, which can limit a fire’s destructiveness.

It can also explain how they can avoid misusing fire safety equipment during an emergency, which could endanger them. 

It can also be worthwhile ensuring that employees understand how to use fire sprinkler shut-off tools when fire sprinklers misfire. Displaying a Laminated Shutgun Instruction Card at each station can also be useful. 

3. Emergency Evacuation Procedures and Drills

All employees should be provided with clear and concise fire evacuation plans. They should understand all of the main escape routes and assembly points. A comprehensive training program should also include detailed instructions for assisting individuals with mobility issues.

Once all employees are familiar with evacuation procedures, regular and unannounced drills can make the correct actions second nature, plus they can highlight potential weak spots and areas that need improvement. 

While you should have an alarm system that automatically alerts fire responders, smaller businesses may lack these more advanced fire detection systems. In this case, employees should have a clear communication protocol. 

Important Considerations for Fire Safety Training 

Given just how important this type of training can be, it is not enough to go through the motions and check items off a list. You should encourage participants to get actively involved in the training sessions. 

Perform hands-on demonstrations and test employees to make sure that they are actually retaining the information. Use employee feedback and your own observations from drills to identify potential weaknesses and update your fire response strategies and training materials accordingly. 

Equipping Your Business with Fire Safety Equipment

While training staff is incredibly important, your training efforts will be far less effective if your business does not have the appropriate fire safety equipment. This equipment is essential for adequate fire prevention, control, and even the prevention of excess water damage from sprinkler heads.

Not only should businesses investing the following equipment and systems, it should be inspected and maintained at regular intervals: 

Fire Extinguishers

Different classes of fire extinguishers are available for different types of fires. For example, Class B extinguishers are specialized to deal with fires involving flammable liquids, while Class C fire extinguishers are designed to deal with electrical fires. 

Conduct a thorough inspection of your workplace and ensure that you have the appropriate fire extinguishers and that all staff are trained to identify various types of fires and effectively use the appropriate type of fire extinguisher. 

Smoke Alarms and Fire Detection Systems

Early fire detection is crucial for saving lives and minimizing damages. Alarms and fire detection systems should be installed throughout the premises and tested regularly. Staff should be familiar with the alarms and what their activation means. 

It’s also important to remember that fires and smoke can significantly reduce visibility, so alarm systems should be accompanied by emergency lighting and illuminated exit signs. 

Fire Suppression Systems and Shut-Off Tools

Automatic fire sprinkler systems should be your primary line of defense in the event of a fire. These systems can quickly extinguish fires before they have the chance to spread. They are effective and provide protection at all hours, even when the building is unoccupied. 

It is incredibly important that your workplace has an appropriate fire sprinkler system and that it is inspected and maintained at regular intervals. This can ensure that the system works when it is required and prevent leaks. Unfortunately, even the most well-maintained fire sprinkler systems can misfire, potentially causing tens of thousands of dollars in water damage. 

Furthermore, fire sprinkler heads continue to expel water even after successfully extinguishing a fire. Given that a single sprinkler head can release up to 60 gallons of water per minute, you don’t want to wait for the fire department or sprinkler repair crews to arrive on the scene. Instead, empower yourself and your staff to deactivate sprinkler heads in seconds with the Shutgun fire sprinkler head shut-off tool. 

We recommend building a Custom Shutgun Case to distribute the correct number and type of Shutgun tools for your needs. You can also use Shutgun Wall Mounts to ensure a Shutgun is positioned near every fire extinguisher. If you are unsure about your own Shutgun needs, click the link below: 

Find the Right Shutgun for Me 

Final Words 

Fire safety training and equipping your workplace with the appropriate equipment can help protect your business, employees, and assets from the devastating effects of fire and water damage.   

Investing your time and money into conducting regular and comprehensive fire safety training sessions can create a safer workplace for everyone. Remember, fire safety is a collective responsibility that requires the cooperation of all employees throughout the entire organization!

A Comparative Analysis: Residential vs. Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Red fire alarm box mounted on a wall

Fire alarm systems are essential for fire safety in residential and commercial settings. These systems are essential for early detection, enabling building occupants to evacuate and fire responders to arrive in a timely manner.

Plus, some fire alarm systems are even wired directly to fire suppression systems, like fire sprinklers, allowing them to contain and extinguish the fire before it can spread.

While both types of fire alarm systems have the same primary purpose, they almost always differ in design, scale, and capabilities. Today, we will examine the differences between residential and commercial fire alarm systems in depth so you can understand why each type is so important. 

We’ll also discuss other types of fire safety systems and equipment, including fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and the importance of having a fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the Shutgun, to prevent serious and costly water damage.

Residential vs. Commercial Fire Alarm Systems 

To help you understand the differences between them, we will examine the different components used in each type of system. To make things easy, let’s start with residential systems. 

Residential Fire Alarm Systems

1. Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are typically the component that most people are familiar with. As the name suggests, smoke detectors are designed to detect the presence of smoke, which is an early indicator of a fire. 

Smoke detectors are distributed throughout the interior of the residential building and act as the primary means of fire detection. When they are triggered, a signal is sent to the alarm, which is then used to alert the building occupants that there could be a fire. 

2. Heat Detectors

While smoke detectors are far more common than heat detectors, they can be used in higher-occupancy residential buildings, like apartment and condominium towers. Like smoke detectors, they are linked to audible alarms. They activate when interior temperatures have risen to a level indicating the possibility of an uncontrolled fire. 

3. Alarm Mechanism

Whether the residential system uses separate sirens and bells or just relies on a small speaker built directly into the smoke and heat detectors, the alarm serves the critical purpose of alerting building occupants of the presence of the fire. The alarm is designed to be both loud and piercing, so it will wake occupants up if they happen to be sleeping when the fire is detected. 

4. Manual Pull Stations

While they are uncommon in single-family dwellings, some residential alarm systems for larger buildings will have manual pull stations, where building occupants can manually activate the alarms if they discover a fire or other emergency. 

Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

1. Smoke and Heat Detectors

Like residential systems, commercial fire alarm systems use smoke and heat detectors to automatically detect the presence of a fire. However, they tend to be far more sensitive and can feature multiple sensors in one detector, providing more reliable fire detection capabilities. 

Commercial and industrial buildings tend to be much larger than typical residential buildings. They can also house far more flammable materials and heat-generating equipment. The increased sensitivity of these detectors also means that they are much larger. 

2. Manual Pull Stations

Manual pull stations are essential in commercial buildings. They tend to be positioned in high-traffic areas and positions where there is an increased fire risk.

These pull stations also tend to be where you will find fire extinguishers and fire blankets. It is also recommended that this is where a business positions Wall Mounted Shutgun tools and Laminated Shutgun Instruction Cards

3. Voice Evacuation Speakers

Unlike residential buildings, commercial buildings tend to have voice-enabled speakers connected to their fire alarm systems. These speakers can play high-volume, pre-recorded messages or live messages. They are used to explain to building occupants what is happening and how they can safely evacuate. 

4. Fire Alarm Control Panel

In residential systems, the alarms are typically switched off with a button on the surface of the alarm itself. However, due to the scale of a commercial alarm system, a centralized control panel is used to switch the system off.

This panel can also receive signals from the smoke and heat detectors and then use that signal to activate the building’s entire fire sprinkler system and contact emergency services.

While sprinkler heads have their own detection device, automating activation throughout the entire sprinkler system can be incredibly beneficial in buildings that house highly flammable materials, like chemical plants and lumber stores. 

While this can be incredibly helpful for preventing fires, it also makes the sprinkler system more susceptible to false activations and misfires.

This is why it is so vital to distribute Shutgun tools in easy-to-access locations throughout the building. Consider investing in a Custom Shutgun Case to ensure you have the correct number and type of sprinkler shut-off tools for your exact needs. 

So, What Are the Differences Between the Two Systems? 

Basically, residential fire alarm systems are smaller and less sophisticated. They focus on smoke and heat detection with basic alarms used to alert building occupants and help them evacuate in a timely manner. 

On the other hand, commercial systems tend to be far more complex, especially when installed in larger commercial and industrial buildings. These systems can involve computer systems that can locate where the fire has been detected, activate fire sprinkler heads in that area, and even contact emergency services.

In this sense, they offer more comprehensive coverage. Their multi-sensor detectors also provide more sensitive heat and smoke detection than what is typically used for a residential property. 

While it may sound like commercial buildings have more complex systems, so they are safer, the differences in the two types of systems only relate to the differences in fire safety demands. Single-family residential buildings are much smaller, so the focus is almost entirely on getting the occupants out of the house in time.

On the other hand, commercial buildings can house thousands of people at any given time, plus they can contain highly flammable materials and equipment that poses a high fire risk

Other Essential Fire Safety Equipment 

In addition to having a fire alarm system that can be heard throughout the building, it’s vital to ensure that your residential or commercial property is outfitted with other essential fire safety equipment and systems. 

A fire sprinkler system can be incredibly effective in suppressing and controlling fires. By releasing water or other extinguishing agents, they smother the fire and prevent it from spreading. While they are not typically used in single-family homes, they are essential for commercial, industrial, and multi-unit residential buildings.

Fire extinguishers are also essential for both types of buildings. Different types of fire extinguishers are designed to combat various classes of fires, and outfitting a home or commercial property with fire extinguishers can be the difference between a small accident with minimal damage and a deadly disaster. 

In addition to ensuring your home or business has well-maintained and properly installed fire systems and equipment, it is also important to conduct regular fire safety inspections. When it comes to fire safety, prevention, and preparation are always preferable to suppression and evacuation.

Chemical Fire Preparedness: Strategies for Effective Prevention and Suppression

Firefighters fighting a chemical fire at night

Chemical fires present a unique set of challenges compared to traditional fires. Not only are the flames unpredictable and difficult to suppress, but they also tend to spread extremely fast. 

Effective fire prevention strategies are essential for any business or organization that deals with flammable or hazardous chemicals. However, even the most well-prepared should still have the right equipment and response plans to deal with a chemical fire should the worst happen.

Today, we will cover the best prevention practices for chemical fires. From there, we’ll discuss how to contain and extinguish these types of fires. From choosing the right fire extinguishers to employing a well-maintained fire sprinkler system, you’ll learn how to protect your property from chemical fires.

We’ll even explain how you can prevent fire sprinkler-related water damage by keeping a Shutgun Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool near every fire extinguisher. 

Let’s get started! 

Why Are Chemical Fires So Dangerous? 

Before we discuss ways you can help prevent and react to chemical fires, it’s worth explaining why they are considered to be such a dangerous and difficult type of fire. 

Most fire safety experts consider chemical fires more dangerous than a typical fire because they are unpredictable. They tend to spread quickly, and the burning hazardous chemicals can produce toxic fumes, choking and disorienting those trying to escape the flames.

Plus, chemical fumes released during a fire can cause lasting inhalation injuries, which could impact a person’s health long after extinguishing the fire. 

Unless they are put out using the correct extinguishing agents and techniques, they can easily trigger secondary fires and explosions. This is why proper training, prevention techniques, and effective response strategies are vital when dealing with these types of fires. 

Effective Chemical Fire Prevention Strategies 

1. Hazard Identification

The first step in preventing chemical fires is identifying and assessing the potential risks. Thoroughly itemize any type of chemicals stored in the facility, then evaluate how flammable they are.

This information is critical when determining how chemicals will be stored and disposed of. It also helps reduce the risk that a potentially dangerous chemical will be overlooked. 

2. Safe Storage, Handling, and Disposal of Chemicals

Once the hazard points have been identified, all employees should be trained in safely handling chemicals. Clear protocols for storing, carrying, and disposing of chemicals must be made clear to everyone. Flammable chemicals must also be stored far away from potential heat and ignition sources. 

3. Conduct Regular Inspections and Safety Training Sessions

Once the correct safety procedures are in place, it is essential to ensure that standards do not slip. Conduct regular fire drills focusing on safely evacuating and effectively using fire extinguishers. Regularly check that chemicals are stored correctly and inspect spills and leaks. 

How to Suppress a Chemical Fire 

While prevention is always preferable to suppression, preparing is still incredibly important. With chemical fires, preparation requires having the correct fire suppression equipment distributed throughout the facility, especially in areas where chemicals are stored and used. 

To put out a chemical fire, your business should be equipped with the following: 

Have a Well-Maintained Fire Sprinkler System 

Fire sprinkler systems aren’t useful for suppressing fires; they help control their spread. By releasing high-pressure water or other extinguishing agents when temperatures reach a level that would indicate a fire, these automated systems can smother a chemical fire and reduce its intensity. 

With that said, fire sprinkler systems are susceptible to misfires, accidental activations, or even just running after they successfully extinguish a fire.

This is why it is so important to have a quick shut-off tool that can stop water flow immediately. Building your own Custom Shutgun Case is one of the best ways to ensure you have the correct number and type of sprinkler shut-off tools for your exact needs. 

Regular inspections and maintenance are also crucial, as they allow issues to be addressed before the sprinkler system is actually needed. 

Use the Correct Fire Extinguishers

Chemical fires present unique challenges, so your facility must be equipped with the correct class of fire extinguishers

For chemical fires involving combustible liquids and gasses, you will need Class B fire extinguishers, which use a foam extinguishing agent or compressed carbon dioxide (CO2), which can effectively smother these fires. The foam agent acts almost like a blanket, smothering the fire and preventing re-ignition.

C02 fire extinguishers work similarly but starve the chemical fire by displacing the oxygen needed to continue burning. On the other hand, fires fueled by chemical gasses will require a Class C fire extinguisher. 

As mentioned, it is recommended that you position at least one fire sprinkler shut-off tool beside every fire extinguisher. This is a good practice because it ensures they are distributed throughout the facility and easily located if a fire sprinkler head needs deactivated. Invest in a Shutgun Kit, as well as Shutgun Wall Mounts, so yours will always be within reach. 

Have Access to Other Chemical Fire Suppression Equipment

While fire sprinklers and extinguishers are your first line of defense when putting out chemical fires, having other safety equipment is also essential. 

Dry chemical systems are one option for facilities that house significant volumes of flammable chemicals, like chemical plants, laboratories, and chemical storage facilities. These systems work by releasing a fine powder rather than water. The powder smothers the fire, helping to immediately interrupt the reaction when highly flammable chemicals are exposed to heat. 

Fire alarms, fire blankets, emergency lighting, and clear emergency exit routes lined by fire-resistant walls can also help the occupants of the building evacuate. While prevention and suppression are extremely important, safe evacuation is also a critical component of fire safety. 

Final Words 

While chemical fires present their own risks and challenges, it is important to remember that all types of fire pose significant dangers. By equipping your business with the appropriate fire-safety equipment and conducting regular safety inspections and training sessions, you can protect your equipment, property, and personnel from the destructive nature of an uncontrolled fire. 

Avoiding the serious water damage risk posed by fire sprinkler systems is also incredibly important. Even when they are regularly inspected and properly maintained, fire sprinkler heads can be triggered unintentionally. With a single fire sprinkler head releasing up to 60 gallons of water per minute, you do not want to be caught waiting for the fire crews to deactivate the system. 

Instead, empower yourself with the ability to shut off fire sprinkler heads quickly and easily by investing in the Shutgun Fire Sprinkler Head Shut-Off Tool. Thanks to its simple, one-hand operation, it can be used by just about anyone. Prevent tens of thousands of dollars in water damage by clicking the link below: 

Save Me $1000s with the Shutgun

The Common Causes of Water Damage from Sprinkler Systems & How to Avoid Them

Fire extinguisher mounted on a green wall

When it comes to fire safety and prevention, almost nothing is as effective as a well-maintained fire sprinkler system. Not only can they extinguish fires and prevent them from spreading, they offer full protection even if a fire occurs when the building is unoccupied.

While their ability to suppress and contain fires can save property and lives, these systems can pose a serious risk of water damage if they are not appropriately maintained. On top of that, misfires and accidental activations can also result in serious water damage. 

Today, we will dive into the most common causes of water damage from fire sprinkler systems so you can discover some of the most effective ways to avoid these issues.

While avoiding water damage caused by sprinkler systems is important, it’s important to remember that accidents can still occur. Rather than waiting helplessly as costly water damage occurs, you can take action by investing in the ShutGun – a fire sprinkler shut-off tool that can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

To make sure you are prepared for anything, it is recommended that a Shutgun Fire Sprinkler Shut-Off device be kept with every fire extinguisher in the building.

The Most Common Causes of Water Damage from Sprinkler Systems 

1. Corrosion Damage and Other Defects

While the water damage caused by small leaks may not be as dramatic as other fire sprinkler-related water damage, it can become a serious issue over time. In most cases, leaks occur when a fire sprinkler system is improperly maintained. 

When the pipes and fire sprinkler heads are neglected, damages caused by corrosion and standard wear and tear can result in mild to serious leaks.

What may have started as the odd drip can lead to a serious flow of water. Plus, corrosion can spread, weakening the entire system’s integrity and increasing the risk of a serious leak. 

Prevention

To prevent this type of water damage, it is vital to ensure that the sprinkler system is routinely inspected and maintained by certified professionals. Like any complex system, following a routine maintenance schedule and ensuring the system adheres to industry standards and regulations will reduce the likelihood of malfunctions. 

Not only will regular maintenance help ensure that your system does not leak, but checking everything from water pressure to sprinkler head condition will ensure that your system can be relied upon in the event of a fire. Plus, there is also the fact that small issues can escalate over time if they are neglected. 

2. Misfires and False Activations 

One of the more dramatic and costly causes of water damage from a fire sprinkler system is accidental triggers and misfires caused by system malfunctions. When this occurs, the system discharges water even though there is no fire.

This could be caused by a defective fire detection element or a general lack of maintenance to the entire system. If an employee accidentally activated the fire sprinkler, it could be due to an improperly positioned or unshielded fire alarm pull station or poor employee training. 

Prevention

Ensuring the system is appropriately designed and tested regularly will help prevent misfires. Again, this is where professional maintenance and annual inspections can prove their worth.

Following a professional inspection, it might even be recommended that your system receive upgrades to its heat and smoke detection system, enhancing reliability and reducing the likelihood of false activations. 

Employee fire safety training can also help minimize the risk of false activations, as it will ensure that all employees know how to handle and respond to issues related to the fire sprinkler system. 

If a misfire does occur, you should also ensure that you have the correct tools required to handle the situation yourself. Rather than waiting as the water damage bill rises, be prepared to take action with the 7-Piece Complete Shutgun Case.

3. Improper Installation 

If the system was not installed correctly or the components were damaged before or during installation, there is a much higher chance of it leaking or misfiring. Not only would this drastically increase the risk of serious water damage, it would also reduce the effectiveness of the entire system. 

Installation errors could range from improperly sized water pipes to using improper or damaged sprinkler heads

Prevention

Hiring professional fire sprinkler installers is one of the best ways to prevent this type of water damage from occurring. These qualified professionals will follow all the appropriate steps to ensure your system will operate as it should. Routine maintenance and inspections will also help minimize potential water damage risks.

4. Vandalism and Human Error 

While rare, fire sprinkler systems can also activate due to intentional vandalism or basic human error. Tampering with the system, intentionally or unintentionally, could cause the system to leak or falsely activate, resulting in water damage. 

Prevention

To protect the fire sprinkler system, you should ensure that your business implements basic security measures and conducts regular employee training sessions.

Protecting individual fire sprinkler heads with head guards can also help prevent damage. These are particularly beneficial in industrial environments where the sprinkler heads could be exposed to physical damage. You can use the Shutgun Wall Mount to position a Shutgun near every fire extinguisher.

This ensures you always have the tools to shut off an activated fire sprinkler before it can cause serious water damage. You can also build your Custom Shutgun Case to make sure that you have the exact tools your business needs to handle the situation!

What Can You Do if Your Fire Sprinkler Systems is Accidentally Activated?

Accidents can still occur even if you follow all of the water damage prevention strategies we outlined above. Beyond misfires and accidental activations, fire sprinkler systems can also continue releasing water after successfully extinguishing a fire, which could also cause serious water damage.

Given that the average commercial fire sprinkler head releases 60 gallons of water per minute, the water damage can quickly become ruinously expensive and disruptive if it is not stopped quickly.

Introducing the Shutgun

Rather than waiting for the fire department or a sprinkler maintenance company to arrive on the scene, there is now a simple solution to accidental sprinkler activations! The Shutgun is a simple, handheld tool that lets you quickly and easily shut off a fire sprinkler head. 

With fire sprinklers causing an average of $35,000 in water damage when they are accidentally activated, this tool can prove essential for commercial property owners of all descriptions. 

Learn more about the Shutgun and how it can help protect your business by clicking the link below: 

Help Me Prevent Water Damage

High Rise Sprinkler System Design: What Every Property Owner Needs to Know

High-rise building

Just as it is for any other type of building, fire safety is critical for high-rise buildings. Whether you are focusing on a multi-purpose office tower or a high-rise residential building, like an apartment, hotel, or condominium building, installing a fire sprinkler system that is specifically designed for that type of structure is essential. 

A high-rise sprinkler system can save lives and protect property by preventing the spread of fires. This comprehensive guide will explore the inner workings of high-rise sprinkler systems, including their designs, significance, and various applications. 

On top of that, we’ll even highlight the Shutgun – an effective and affordable fire sprinkler head shut-off tool that can save property owners potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in water damage

So, let’s get started. 

How Do High-Rise Fire Sprinkler Systems Work? 

High-rise fire sprinkler systems operate on a relatively simple principle: water is expelled in all directions from specialized sprinkler heads when triggered by temperatures that indicate the presence of a fire. Most systems can also be triggered manually. 

Water is transported to the sprinklers through a network of interconnected pipes fed from a reliable water source. In most cases, the water is pressurized, ensuring rapid water delivery when the sprinklers are activated.

After the sprinkler has been triggered, it will continue to expel water, even after the heat source has been eliminated. This helps contain the fire, prevents it from spreading, and gives building occupants the time to evacuate safely. 

Since fire sprinklers will continue to spray water even after the fire has been extinguished, they can cause tremendous amounts of water damage. In fact, a single sprinkler can release 60 gallons of water per minute, quickly adding up to tens of thousands of dollars in water damage. 

This is why a fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the hand-held Shutgun, is essential. We recommend positioning a Shutgun fire sprinkler shut-off tool to protect your building near every fire extinguisher.

This will ensure that you are not scrambling to find one in an emergency or waiting for first responders to deactivate your fire sprinklers. Building a Custom Shutgun Case gives you the correct number and types of tools for your exact requirements. 

High Rise Sprinkler Design Variations 

While they all follow the same basic principles, several design variations exist for high-rise fire sprinkler systems. Each is tailored to the specific needs of different types of buildings and their unique safety requirements.

Property owners should remember that installing and maintaining the correct type of fire sprinkler system for your building is important for regulatory compliance and insurance reasons. 

To ensure your building is safe and compliant with the requirements, you should familiarize yourself with the different high-rise sprinklers and sprinkler heads. 

To help you choose the correct type, here are the most common designs: 

1. Wet Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems

These are the most common types of high-rise sprinkler systems. The water pipes that supply the fire sprinklers are always filled with pressurized water. When a fire sprinkler head is activated, water is released almost immediately. 

You will find these fire sprinkler systems in most high-rise buildings, as they are the safest. Their near instantaneous ability to release water can extinguish a fire much faster, so it has less time to spread and threaten the lives of the building occupants, as well as the structural integrity of the building itself. 

Unfortunately, these systems are also more prone to misfires and accidental discharges. If your building has this type of system, you will want to invest in enough Shutgun tools to make sure that one is accessible on every floor of the building. We also recommend investing in Shutgun Wall Mounts and Laminated Instruction Cards.

2. Dry Pipe Fire Sprinklers

A dry pipe design will be used in high-rise buildings where temperatures can drop below freezing. As the name suggests, the pipes do not contain water until the sprinkler heads are activated.

When this occurs, water is released. The air pressure in the pipe is immediately released, which forces water to flow through the pipes and out through the sprinkler heads. 

While these are far less common in high-rise buildings, they can be used in buildings that have cold storage facilities. 

3. Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems

These system designs use a combination of wet and dry pipes. An automated valve holds back water. When the system detects smoke or heat, the valve releases water, which floods the pipes and allows the sprinkler heads to expel water. 

4. Deluge Sprinkler Systems

These systems discharge vast volumes of water from all sprinkler heads at the same time. These are more common in high-rise buildings that are filled with highly flammable materials, as well as those that are located dangerously close to other buildings that do. 

As expected, systems designed this way pose a greater water damage risk. This is why it is important to invest in an appropriate number of Shutgun tools

Different Types of Sprinkler Head Designs 

Beyond the fact that high-rise buildings can feature different system designs, they can also be outfitted with different types of specialized sprinkler heads. As we will also explain, each type of sprinkler head can require its own shut-off tool, so we offer different types of Shutguns. 

The following are just some of the different types you are likely to encounter as a high-rise property owner: 

Standard Spray Heads

The most common type of sprinkler head is designed to spray water in a pattern that covers a wide area and is suitable for dealing with most fires. They are activated when a temperature-sensitive fusible link melts due to excess heat.

Sheared Heads

These are designed to activate when temperatures are hot enough to cause the built-in trigger mechanism to shear off. When this happens, water is released. While they function the same as standard heads, they need to be deactivated in a specific way, which is why you will need to invest in Sheared Head Shutgun tools. 

Concealed Sprinkler Heads

Concealed heads are recessed into the ceiling or wall, which has a more aesthetically pleasing appearance than other types of sprinkler heads. These tend to be used in more upscale offices, hotels, and high-rise condominium buildings. 

Due to their unique design, these also need specialized shut-off tools, so we carry the Concealed Head Shutgun

Institutional Sprinkler Heads

These are used in hospitals and other institutional settings. They have a unique tamper-resistant covering. They also tend to be made from materials with enhanced corrosion resistance that can handle the unique requirements of the buildings where they are installed.

Like the other heads, these cannot be deactivated with a standard Shutgun, so you will need to choose the Institutional Head Shutgun. They are engineered to handle the unique characteristics of institutional sprinkler heads, including pendant head sprinklers and sidewall sprinkler heads.

Fire Sprinkler Head Replacement: How to Do it Safely and Effectively

sprinkler head replacement

A well-maintained fire sprinkler system can be one of the most important lines of defense when it comes to fire safety. These systems can protect property by extinguishing flames and save lives by slowing the spread of a deadly fire. 

With that said, fire sprinkler systems are also susceptible to wear and tear, corrosion, and physical damage. One of the most vulnerable components of the entire system is the exposed fire sprinkler heads.

When damaged, the sprinkler heads cannot be relied upon to work effectively, plus they can cause serious water damage due to leaks. 

This is why replacing damaged fire sprinkler heads as quickly as possible is so important. To help you maintain your system’s reliability, we will explore the importance of replacing fire sprinkler heads and detail how to do so safely and effectively. 

On top of that, we’ll also help you avoid costly water damage by explaining how you can use the Shutgun fire sprinkler shut-off tool to deactivate a misfiring sprinkler head quickly and easily.

So, let’s get started!

When Should You Replace Fire Sprinkler Heads? 

Like any mechanical component, fire sprinkler heads are susceptible to deterioration and damage over time. This can compromise their functionality and reliability in the event of a fire. 

For starters, any visible signs of corrosion would necessitate replacement. Any sprinkler head damaged due to a physical impact must also be replaced. Even seemingly minimal damage could compromise the fire sprinkler’s ability to discharge water evenly when activated, which would mean its fire suppression capabilities would be reduced.

If you are unsure if a fire sprinkler head is damaged to the point of needing replacement, you should have your system professionally inspected. They will be able to assess the situation and ensure that your system meets the relevant fire codes and safety regulations

One of the most overlooked reasons to replace fire sprinkler heads is charges in the layout or purpose of a building. There are several different types of fire sprinkler heads, and each is designed for a unique application.

The sprinkler heads you are using must be appropriate for the environment. If the type you have installed is unsuitable, it should be replaced. 

How Can You Prevent Water Damaged Caused by Fire Sprinkler Misfires? 

Even if you have replaced your fire sprinkler heads correctly, there is always a risk that they could be activated accidentally. When this occurs, the water damage can be incredibly costly. 

With a single fire sprinkler head being capable of releasing 60 gallons of water per minute, you don’t want to be stuck waiting for the fire department or a maintenance team to arrive. Luckily, there is a solution – the Shutgun

The Shutgun is an affordable, easy-to-use fire sprinkler head shut-off tool. Rather than waiting while your business suffers tens of thousands of dollars in water damage, handle the situation internally.

Plus, you can even order the Shutgun Training and Demonstration Unit to ensure your staff knows how to react if a sprinkler head is causing water damage. 

Whether you’re installing concealed sprinkler heads, sheared sprinkler heads, or standard heads, there’s a Shutgun that can quickly deactivate it!

Fire Sprinkler Head Replacement Step-by-Step Guide 

While it is possible to replace a fire sprinkler head without assistance, we highly recommend enlisting the services of a certified installer and maintenance team. These professionals have the expertise to ensure that your fire sprinkler heads will be replaced correctly. 

Remember, improper installation can have serious consequences. Not only can poorly installed fire sprinkler heads leak and cause water damage, but they might also not work in the event of an emergency. 

With that said, here are the steps that should be followed when safely and effectively replacing a fire sprinkler head: 

1. Assess the Sprinkler Heads and Prepare for Replacement 

Before you begin replacing fire sprinkler heads, you should thoroughly assess each and every existing sprinkler head. Once you have determined how many need to be replaced, you need to identify the type and model to ensure compatibility with your specific fire sprinkler system. 

Once you have compatible replacements, ensure the water supply to your fire sprinkler system is shut off. This will help you avoid accidental water damage.

Gather the appropriate tools, including a suitable pipe wrench, Teflon tape, a safety ladder, and any PPE required to work in that environment. For safety purposes, at least two people should carry out the replacement. 

2. Remove the Existing Fire Sprinkler Head 

Once you are safely at the level of the fire sprinkler head, carefully loosen and remove it from its fitting using a pipe wrench. It is important not to force the existing sprinkler head, as it could damage the surrounding piping and fittings.

Regardless of the reason for replacement, inspect the old sprinkler head for signs of corrosion and the surrounding area for signs of water damage. If these are noticeable, you could be dealing with a leak. 

3. Install the New Fire Sprinkler Head 

Before fitting the new fire sprinkler head into place, apply Teflon tape to the threads. This will help ensure a watertight fit. Ensure the threads are correctly aligned, and do not force it in.

You can also wipe the fitting clean ahead of time to prevent cross-threading and other issues that could be caused by debris. Ensure that the sprinkler head is secure, but do not apply too much pressure when tightening it, as it could damage the fitting and cause leaks. 

4. Inspect and Test the System 

Once you have installed all your sprinkler heads, activate the water supply to the fire sprinkler system and check for any signs of leaks. You should also test the fire sprinkler system to ensure the replacement was done properly.

This will ensure that the spray pattern and water flow to the sprinkler head are correct. If you are unsure how to test your system and want to ensure it complies with all of the relevant standards, you should seek a professional assessment.

Remember, when testing your newly installed fire sprinkler head, having a reliable sprinkler shut-off tool is important. This is why we recommend building your own Custom Shutgun Case. Have exactly the tools you need when you need them the most!

Final Words

Replacing fire sprinkler heads can be important to maintaining a reliable fire sprinkler system. Always follow the correct procedures when replacing the sprinkler heads.

It is also vitally important to position a Shutgun with every fire extinguisher to mitigate serious water damage. Consider using Shutgun Wall Mounts to ensure a Shutgun is easily reachable in an emergency.

How to Clean Sprinkler Heads – 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Fire sprinkler head expelling water PC

Fire sprinkler systems are one of the most important pieces of fire safety equipment in any building. When maintained properly, they offer lasting protection to save lives and protect property. 

Today, we will cover one of the most commonly overlooked maintenance tasks – cleaning the fire sprinkler heads. While it may seem like a fairly straightforward process, there are common mistakes that you should avoid.

These incorrect cleaning methods can fail to clear the sprinkler heads of debris, damage the heads, and potentially lead to severe malfunctions and leaks. 

This guide will explore five of the most common mistakes you should avoid. From there, we will cover the proper techniques you should follow so you can learn how to clean sprinkler heads correctly.

To help you avoid costly and destructive water damage, we’ll also explain why you should invest in the Shutgun – the ultimate sprinkler head shut-off tool

5 Common Fire Sprinkler Head Cleaning Mistakes:

1. Cleaning with Harsh Chemical Agents 

Sprinkler heads can become caked in stubborn dirt and grease buildup, especially in industrial environments.

While it may seem like the right idea to clean the sprinkler heads using a powerful chemical cleaner, these harsh substances can damage the sprinkler heads’ delicate inner components by causing corrosion and premature deterioration

When this occurs, rust can spread, potentially causing malfunctions and leaks or even reducing the sprinkler head’s effectiveness in a fire. 

What Should You Do? 

Opt for a mild cleaning agent, like a basic dish soap or diluted vinegar solution. These gentle cleaners may take more time to remove dirt and debris, but they are effective, and, more importantly, they will not harm the sprinkler heads. 

2. Using an Overly Abrasive Cleaning Material 

Like harsh chemicals, using an abrasive material to clean the fire sprinkler can damage it. Avoid using materials that could scratch and damage the metal, like steel wool or a wire brush. 

You could damage the sprinkler head and even trigger a misfire by breaking the fusible link within the sprinkler head. If this occurred, the sprinkler would expel water just like it would in the event of a fire.

If this happens, you will need a way to shut the sprinkler off. By investing in a 5-Piece Shutgun Kit, you give yourself the ability to shut off the sprinkler and prevent costly water damage. 

What Should You Do? 

Use a microfiber cloth or toothbrush to clean the sprinkler head gently. 

3. Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions 

No matter the maintenance you perform on your fire sprinkler system, you will want to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This includes following the recommended cleaning instructions. 

What Should You Do?

Carefully read the manual and any other type of guidelines the manufacturer provided. To guarantee that everything is done safely and effectively, you can also schedule professional service from certified installers and maintenance personnel. Choose specialists that the manufacturer approves for the best results. 

4. Failing to Inspect the Sprinkler for Damage While Cleaning 

Cleaning the fire sprinkler heads is the ideal time to inspect for signs of corrosion and other types of damage. Cracks and dents can also mean that the performance of your sprinkler heads will be compromised. 

What Should You Do? 

Take this time to perform a thorough inspection. Inspect before and after the cleaning, and make sure that you check the surrounding area for signs of water damage and rust. 

This can also be an excellent time to ensure you are prepared for leaks, misfires, and accidental discharges. Access the number and location of your sprinkler heads. Invest in a Custom Shugun Case to ensure you have the correct number and types of Shutguns to deal with any situation. 

5. Not Cleaning the Sprinklers Regularly 

One of the most common mistakes is waiting too long between cleanings. Over time, the sprinklers can become caked in dust, dirt, grease, and other types of debris.

This accumulation can obstruct the flow of water from the sprinklers when they are activated. On top of that, the buildup can trap moisture, which could cause premature corrosion.

As you would expect, this is even more of an issue in industrial and agricultural buildings, commercial kitchens, and other locations where airborne debris is common.

What Should You Do? 

Create a regular cleaning schedule for your fire sprinkler heads that makes sense with the type of environment where the sprinkler system is installed. At a minimum, you should clean the sprinkler heads at least twice per year, so cleaning them correctly every six months should ensure they perform as expected. 

How Do You Clean Sprinkler Heads Correctly? 

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, we can look at the correct steps to clean your fire sprinkler heads. Remember, cleaning fire sprinkler heads ensures proper functionality and prevents malfunctions. Cleaning can also extend the lifespan of your sprinkler heads. 

Don’t forget that you need to make sure that you clean every one of the heads, even those located in less visible areas of the building. 

Step 1

Turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system to avoid accidental activation. Even if you have done this, you should still have a Shutgun tool on hand. We recommend positioning a Shutgun within reach of all fire sprinkler heads to help you avoid thousands of dollars in water damage

Step 2

Gently wipe the surface of the sprinkler head to remove loose dust and dirt. Use a soft cloth or toothbrush. Use a mild dish soap and warm water solution or diluted white vinegar for more stubborn debris. Avoid applying too much force. 

Step 3

Rinse the sprinkler head with clean water to remove any leftover cleaning solution. 

Step 4

Inspect the cleaned fire sprinkler head for signs of damage or corrosion. If you discover anything that looks out of place, contact a professional service team as soon as possible. 

Step 5

Once all sprinkler heads are cleaned and inspected, restore the water supply to the sprinkler system and observe them for leaks. 

Get Your Shutgun Today

As mentioned, the Shutgun is an indispensable tool that can give you the ability to quickly and easily shut off an activated fire sprinkler head.

Whether the sprinkler misfired, was accidentally activated or continues to run after completely extinguishing a fire, you do not want to be stuck waiting for first responders to arrive and shut off the system. Each minute you wait could cost you thousands of dollars in water damage.

The Shutgun’s’ one-hand operation means anyone can safely use this simple and affordable tool. Shutguns are also available for different fire sprinkler heads, so you do not have to worry about compatibility issues. Simply order the Shutgun that matches your system.

Don’t wait any longer; click the link below to learn more and order your own: 

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When Are Fire Sprinklers Required in Residential Buildings? Understanding the Rules

Flames on a black background

Fire sprinkler systems are a common sight in commercial and industrial buildings. Thanks to mandatory fire code requirements and government regulations, fire safety equipment within these workplaces is strictly controlled.

While we all understand the need to protect lives and property within the commercial and industrial spheres, fire safety is just as important for residential buildings. Today, we will examine regulations and requirements regarding fire sprinkler systems in residential properties.

Since fire sprinkler regulations can vary from country to country and region to region, we will focus on Canada and the United States. From single-family homes to larger apartment and condominium buildings, it’s time to explore residential fire sprinkler regulations and address some common misconceptions! 

Fire Sprinkler Requirements for Different Types of Residential Buildings

Multi-Family Dwellings (Apartments and Condominiums)

In Canada and the United States, most multi-family residential buildings must have fire sprinkler coverage in common areas, basements, and parking garages.

In the United States, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established these guidelines nationally, while in Canada, the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) has strict regulations regarding fire sprinkler installation and maintenance in multi-family residential buildings. 

While regulations in both countries do not require fire sprinkler coverage within the private units of multi-family buildings, this could change. Many newly constructed condominium buildings and apartments often include residential fire sprinklers within individual units, even though they are not always required by law. 

This helps protect the entire building and reduce insurance premiums and the need to retrofit the units with automatic sprinklers should regulations change, which would be more expensive and intrusive.

If your apartment building has a fire sprinkler system, we recommend that a Shutgun Fire Sprinkler Shut-Off device be kept with every fire extinguisher. 

The Shutgun is a quick and easy tool to mitigate water damage if the main water shut-off is not immediately accessible. It can be conveniently mounted on the wall, and we even have a water protection kit to keep you dry in case of an accidental activation.

Single Family Dwellings (Detached Houses and Townhouses) 

Neither national fire safety organization requires installing a fire sprinkler system in a standard single-family home in Canada and the United States. With that said, the topic continues to be debated. 

Given that other fire safety equipment, like smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire-resistant construction material, are often required, many regulators are asking why building codes wouldn’t require fire sprinkler systems, especially since they are among the most effective fire prevention measures today. 

Many American and Canadian homeowners and landlords also voluntarily choose to install fire sprinkler systems in their properties, as they are now more affordable than ever before.

Temporary Residential Dwellings (Hotels, Motels, and B&Bs) 

While technically listed as commercial properties, hotels, and motels function much like residential buildings but more temporarily. 

With guests coming and going daily, these buildings can be very complex. Since they tend to be located in densely populated areas, the NFPA and Canada’s CCBFC have strict guidelines regarding installing fire sprinkler systems in these buildings. 

You may have noticed fire sprinkler heads of varying size on the ceiling of hotel rooms you have stayed in. While most hotel and motel owners value the safety of their staff and guests, including fire sprinkler systems was not a voluntary decision – it was required by law.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Fire Sprinkler Systems in Residential Buildings? 

1. Fire sprinklers are prohibitively expensive for homeowners.

While it’s true that fire sprinklers used to be incredibly expensive, the costs associated with purchasing and installing these systems have decreased in recent years.

Many homeowners are beginning to view fire sprinklers as an investment in their peace of mind. While upfront costs can be significant, the fact that they can protect the property and the occupants means that they are well worth the initial cost. 

On top of that, most home insurers will offer discounts to property owners with a professionally installed and maintained fire sprinkler system, as the risk of a destructive fire is significantly reduced. 

2. Fire sprinklers can only be installed during the residential building’s initial construction.

While it can be a more complex process, fire sprinklers can be installed after constructing the building. Many companies specialize in professionally retrofitting older buildings with up-to-date fire sprinkler systems.

3. Fire sprinklers in residential buildings are expensive to maintain.

Another misconception is that a fire sprinkler system is incredibly expensive and difficult to maintain. Today, fire sprinklers are far more reliable and resilient than ever before. Even with basic maintenance and inspections from certified professionals, a residential fire sprinkler system could last decades without needing major work.

With that said, adhering to a proper maintenance schedule is essential. Even the highest quality systems can still leak or misfire if they do not receive basic care. Fortunately, maintenance is not very expensive.

What Can You Do if Your Residential Fire Sprinkler Misfires?

One of the main concerns with any fire sprinkler system is water damage. If the sprinkler heads leak, the system misfires, or the fire sprinklers are accidentally activated, water damage to the property and possessions within can be substantial.

This is not surprising when you recognize that a single fire sprinkler head can release up to 60 gallons of water in a single minute. In a misfire, you would typically have to wait for fire responders to arrive on the scene to deactivate the fire sprinkler system.

While this safety feature is well-intentioned, it can be incredibly costly. But a Shutgun lets you quickly and easily shut off a fire sprinkler head.

Whether the fire sprinkler was activated accidentally or continues to expel water after successfully extinguishing a fire, you can deactivate it with this easy-to-use, single-handed tool. If your residential building has tamper-proof sprinklers, we have a special institutional Shutgun for that too!

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When Were Fire Sprinklers Invented? – The History of Fire Sprinklers

Fire alarm box on wall

A reliable fire sprinkler system is one of the most important pieces of fire safety equipment today. They are an integral defense against fires in residential and commercial buildings. 

Despite their widespread use, relatively few people know the history of fire sprinkler systems. That’s why we will explain when fire sprinklers were invented and how the latest versions differ from the earliest models. We’ll even dive into the equipment that makes having a fire sprinkler system convenient and risk-free.

When Were Fire Sprinklers Invented? 

While it may surprise you, fire sprinklers actually have their origins in ancient times. In fact, the earliest recorded use of a rudimentary fire sprinkler system dates back to ancient Rome

Thanks to the ancient Roman’s obsession with meticulously recording schematics and statistics, we have the architectural notes of Vitruvius, a Roman architect and engineer.

According to his notes, the Romans installed a series of pipes in certain buildings that could distribute water from the ceiling in the event of an uncontrolled fire. These basic fire sprinklers held water along the ceiling, which would be released if a building occupant pulled a rope or pulley system. 

While these early systems were rudimentary compared to today’s automatic fire sprinkler systems, they still served the same primary purpose. In the centuries that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire, other ancient civilizations developed their fire sprinkler systems – many of which resembled those developed by the ancient Romans.

When Was the First Automatic Fire Sprinkler Invented?

Until the 19th century, there were barely any improvements to the earliest fire sprinkler systems the ancient Romans used. However, in 1874, American engineer Henry S. Parmelee patented the first automatic fire sprinkler system. 

This major advancement in fire sprinkler design relied on using a unique metal alloy that would melt when exposed to the temperatures that a large fire would generate. Parmelee used this alloy for the valves in his system.

When the alloy valve was exposed to high enough temperatures, it would melt, opening the valve and releasing the water it was holding back. This water would then cascade from the ceiling, extinguishing the fire below. 

The genuinely ground-breaking feature of this design was that the water could be released without human involvement. Like a modern system, this meant that a person did not have to identify the fire; the system would protect the building, occupants, and property without an operator. Even if the building were utterly empty, it would still have a basic level of fire protection. 

While this early design was not widely adopted out of concerns about cost and reliability, it still significantly impacted the fire sprinkler designs that followed. 

Fire Sprinkler Systems in the 20th Century

Throughout the 20th Century, most countries developed stricter fire safety standards. This included forming the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which was crucial in establishing guidelines for fire safety equipment in commercial and industrial buildings, like fire sprinklers.

This move led to more widespread adoption of fire sprinklers and innovations in the systems’ design. Another significant difference from earlier systems was that many architects began incorporating fire sprinklers into the actual design of their buildings, so structures had a basic level of fire protection before they were even occupied.

More durable and reliable fire sprinklers and heads that could distribute water more effectively following activation were developed. Dedicated water reservoirs also ensure that fire sprinkler systems can receive a constant water flow during a fire.

The Latest Fire Sprinkler Systems

Like the centuries that preceded it, the 21st century has seen a wide range of improvements in fire sprinkler system design. Modern systems can rely on delicate sensors to reduce false activations and the accompanying water damage. 

One of the best ways to avoid accidental water damage is by keeping a Shutgun fire sprinkler shut off tool next to every fire extinguisher in the building. It can be conveniently stored in a case or mounted on the wall.

The latest sprinkler systems are also far more interconnected, meaning their activation can be tied to other fire safety equipment, like fire alarms or emergency lighting, and some can even alert first responders by letting them know a fire has been detected. 

Not only are these systems more user-friendly and reliable, they are also more affordable and easier to install. This has led to more widespread use in residential buildings that are not legally required to have a fire sprinkler system. 

Despite the remarkable advancements in fire sprinkler technology, they are still susceptible to certain issues. One of the primary challenges is that even the latest systems can still misfire and be susceptible to false activations related to human error. In either scenario, water damage can be a significant concern.

Even if the fire sprinkler is activated for the right reasons and manages to extinguish a fire, it can still expel water. Given that a single fire sprinkler head can release 60 gallons of water per minute, the water damage that can occur while building owners wait for first responders to deactivate the fire sprinkler system can be incredibly costly. 

What Can You Do About Fire Sprinkler Water Damage?

If you want to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in water damage to your property, it is time to invest in the Shutgun. This affordable and user-friendly tool can quickly and easily deactivate a fire sprinkler head. 

The Shutgun can be operated with one hand to be used safely from a ladder, even by untrained personnel. It works with a wide range of fire sprinkler heads, and it is small enough that multiple Shutguns can be distributed throughout a larger building, so they are always on hand. 

Ready to prevent fire sprinkler-related water damage? Click the link below: 

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