Fire sprinklers are highly reliable and make a major contribution to any business' total fire protection system. In short, they save lives, reduce property loss, contribute to business survivability, and protect the environment. If you own or rent a commercial building without a fire sprinkler system installed, you're putting your business in danger.
These systems provide the first line of defense when it comes to fire damage and the loss of life due to a fire. Fire damage can be expensive and costly, both in terms of monetary losses and human casualties. According to FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), insurance companies reported almost half of their commercial losses were caused by fire, totaling more than $2.4 billion (2010) in losses. A fire in your building could cost your business millions, and many companies never recover from a serious blaze.
Luckily, installing fire sprinklers doesn't have to be a burden on your business. First of all, it's not as expensive as you may think; usually about the same cost as installing new carpets. In fact, installing fire sprinklers could actually save you money in insurance premiums, and in other ways.
How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work
Commercial fire sprinkler systems are comprised of a series of sprinkler heads installed in the ceiling. These sprinklers have a fusible link embedded in the head that keeps them closed. The fusible link is made from a type of plastic that will melt if there is a fire. Heat from the fire rises to the ceiling, the fusible link melts, and the sprinkler activates—spraying water in a circular pattern to contain or extinguish a small fire's flames and smoke.
Contrary to what is typically shown in movies, only one or two sprinklers usually activate in the case of a fire. The system is designed this way to minimize water damage, which can be nearly as expensive as the fire that caused them to activate.