Sprinklers Essential to Safety in High-Rise Residences

Apartment Building. Downtown of Vancouver

High-rise buildings come in many capacities, including senior living communities, college dormitories, hotels, and condominiums. They also come with unique safety challenges in case of fire, such as getting people on the top floors out of the building safely. Automatic sprinkler systems make a vital difference in these types of dwellings, especially when considering that many fires occur at night when people are sleeping. Unfortunately, they can also cause a lot of damage when triggered by accident. A fire sprinkler shut off tool is essential in these situations.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems Required in High-Rise Buildings for Almost 40 Years

In the early 1980s, the National Fire Protection Association implemented the Life Safety Code in all high-rise buildings. The safety code required all new and existing high-rise buildings to have an automatic sprinkler system installed. However, specific building codes vary according to the municipality or state.

Due to these variations, some cities and suburbs have adopted only part of the Life Safety Code based on the type of occupancy in a high-rise facility. For example, some municipalities have grandfathered the requirement for retrofitting high-rise buildings with automatic sprinkler systems. Grandfathering means that community leadership only requires a retrofit to take place when the building changes ownership or occupants.

How Automated Sprinkler Systems Work during a Fire

When an automated sensor detects smoke or fire, it begins releasing water to smolder the flames. The rate of water usage is approximately 60 gallons per minute. An automated sprinkler will continue to release water until it no longer senses smoke or fire, or a member of the local fire department arrives to turn the sensor off. Other high-rise building features that promote resident safety during a fire include:

  • Back-up generators and emergency power systems.
  • Building communication systems in good working order.
  • Construction of the building hinders smoke and flames from spreading.
  • Having an adequate number of smoke detectors with working batteries that sound loud enough to wake people from a deep sleep if necessary.
  • Pressurized and smoke-proof stairwells.
  • Short distance between resident or guest front doors to the nearest exit.
  • Vertical opening protection.

These features, along with an automated sprinkler system, are especially important in high-rise buildings, considering the vulnerable populations staying there either temporarily or permanently. These include elderly individuals, college students, and people staying in hotels in areas unfamiliar to them. As crucial as automated sprinkler systems are, they can also cause extensive damage if a fire sprinkler shut off tool is not available.

What is a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool, and When Would Someone Use One?

As mentioned above, people can sometimes accidentally trip an automated building sprinkler system when no fire is burning. When a fire is minor, it may be out entirely before the local fire department arrives. On average, it takes fire departments 20 minutes to respond to a call for help. By that time, a fire sprinkler could have caused far more damage than a fire ever would have. The average loss reported to insurance companies from an automated building sprinkler system is $35,000.

Located in Collingwood, Ontario, Shutgun.ca manufactures and sells fire sprinkler shut off tools that can save building owners thousands of dollars. Our shop page showcases all of our various options

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