Sprinklers save buildings from fire and smoke damage

Image showing thick smoke resulting from a fire

Not only do fire sprinklers save lives, they have a huge impact on the extent of damage caused by fire and smoke. The destructive nature of an unwieldy, out of control fire is obvious, but many people don’t realise the equal extent smoke damage can play in the destruction of property and belongings. Smoke damage is a major cause of loss in fires, and in serious cases is the main cause of death.

Sprinklers not only keep a fire under control, they also wash the larger particles out of smoke, reducing its density and toxicity. A sprinkler also cools smoke, making it less harmful. Fast attack of a fire with a sprinkler dramatically reduces the amount of smoke a fire can produce. Here are three recent cases as reported by the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, that show just how effective fire sprinkler systems can be in the event of a fire.

Sprinkler Save: School Nottingham

On 26th May the fire brigade was called to a primary school in Nottingham. A fire, which started in a first floor toilet, activated a single sprinkler head and extinguished the fire prior to the arrival of fire crews. The school was evacuated safely and fire and smoke damage was limited to minimal and contained within the toilet block.

Sprinkler Save: Shopping Centre, Hither Green

Just before 4pm on Thursday 25th May a fire started in a retail unit at the Riverdale Shopping Complex in Hither Green, London. The fire was due to an electrical fault in a drinks chiller cabinet. About 150 persons were safely evacuated from the shopping centre.

The London Fire Brigade deployed personnel with breathing apparatus and a single hose reel and were able to extinguish the fire within 57 minutes of the alarm due to a single sprinkler head controlling the seat of the fire. A smoke extraction system was also deployed and the shop reopened the next day.

Sprinkler Save: Waste Plant, London

The London Fire Brigade were called to a waste and recycling unit in Thamesmead on 25th May 2017 where approximately three tonnes of rubbish was being stored in a concrete compartment. The blaze took hold in about 400m³ of waste material, and took 35 firefighters and 6 pumps to put the fire completely out. The incident was closed after three and a half hours. Three sprinkler heads had activated prior to the arrival of the fire service, helping to control the fire and assisted in preventing a protracted incident.

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