A & F Sprinklers Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you own industrial, commercial or retail premises, the installation of sprinklers is a prudent decision. It could save lives as well as your business. Can you afford not to?

We get asked the same questions all the time. So we thought you might be interested in the answers:
  • How do sprinklers work?

    The areas of a building that require protection are covered by a grid of pipes with sprinkler heads at regular intervals.

    The pipes are filled with water and when the sprinkler head reaches a certain temperature it bursts open and sprays water on the fire.

    Only the sprinklers over the fire will open, limiting damage to areas it hasn’t reached and reducing the amount of water needed to put it out. At the same time water will flow into a separate pipe, causing a bell to ring.

    The flow of water through a sprinkler system is calculated to take account of the size and construction of the building, the goods stored in it and its use.

  • How do sprinklers protect people?

    In a large fast-moving fire, people often panic, don’t know how to exit a building and may not be able to use hose reels or fire extinguishers. In contrast, sprinklers respond automatically and autonomously and can prevent heat and smoke from trapping people.

    Other than where an explosion has occurred, there have never been multiple fatalities in a fully sprinklered building in the UK.

    Worldwide, the total number of deaths in sprinklered buildings is only 50 compared to thousands in unprotected buildings.

    Source: www.local.gov.uk

  • What about water damage?

    It is a myth that a sprinkler system will cause more damage than a fire, not least because only those sprinklers located over a fire will be activated. A sprinkler opening by accident is almost unheard of.

    Accidental discharge of water from all causes is 1 in 500,000 (per year of service).

    Source: LPC (as per BAFSA website 2016)

    Accidental discharge of water due to manufacturing defects is 1 in 14,000,000 (per year of service).

    Source: FM (USA) & LPC (UK) Statistics (as per BAFSA website 2016).

  • How do sprinklers protect against smoke?

    Smoke damage can cause extensive damage following a fire and is often the main cause of death or injury. Sprinklers combat the risk of harm from smoke by washing larger particles out of smoke, reducing its density and toxicity and cooling it as it does so.

    By attacking a fire earlier in its growth, quick response sprinklers dramatically reduce the amount of smoke it can produce.

  • How reliable are they?

    Sprinklers are extremely reliable. Most have no moving parts that could fail and as long as there’s water in the system’s pipes (they’re engineered to be pumped from dependable sources) it will work.

  • How much do they cost?

    It varies depending on what your building is made of, what you store in it, what you use it for and how good your water supply is.

  • Aren’t they obvious and ugly?

    No. Modern sprinklers are designed to meet the aesthetic needs of prestige buildings including offices, hotels and public buildings and are extremely discreet.

    Miniature sprinklers can be fitted with ceiling rosettes and painted to match any colour scheme.

    Concealed sprinklers are recessed and covered by a flat plate flush with the ceiling.

If you’ve got a question we haven’t covered we’d love to help. Please call us on 0845 505 1550.


Sprinkler Stats

  • 40 million sprinklers are fitted world-wide each year
  • Sprinklers cost less than carpet and they’ll last for the life of the building
  • In buildings fully protected by sprinklers, 99% of fires were controlled by sprinklers alone and 60% of fires were controlled by the spray from no more than 4 sprinklers
  • the oldest sprinkler in Britain was fitted in 1812 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
  • losses from fires in buildings with sprinklers are estimated at 1/10 of those with none

Source: BAFSA 2016