Even though fire sprinklers can be found in many newly built buildings, they still have more potential as their use is expanded. Let’s take a deeper look a fire sprinkler history to learn more about modern fire sprinkler systems, their use and operation.
Fire sprinklers have been around for over a century. These simple yet irreplaceable systems are capable of greatly reducing damage from fires and save thousands of lives annually. Even though all modern buildings in the US and Canada are required to have fire sprinkler systems now, they are still rare in certain buildings.
For example, they were found in less than 50% of schools, stores and offices that experienced fires in the past 5 years. What’s more, properly working fire sprinklers were found in only 6% of homes that had fires from 2007-2011.
The Use Of Fire Sprinklers Around The World
Scotland and England are way ahead of the US and Canada when it comes to protecting modern buildings. In Scotland, all new schools are sprinkler protected, as well as new care homes, sheltered housing and high-rise flats. In England, all new buildings over 30m are required to have sprinkler protection now. Wales was the first country in the world to make installation of fire sprinklers in all new homes mandatory. The law applies to all newly built houses and blocks of flats, as well as care homes and universities.
How It All Started
The modern fire sprinkler system was invented in 1812. The first fire sprinkler, as we know it today, was installed in the l, Drury Lane in London by architect William Congreve.
The first prototype consisted of a number of pierced pipes, which led to a large container full of water that was released if fire was detected. In the 1870’s, Philip Pratt presented the first automatic sprinkler system, which was improved and perfected by the late 1890’s by other inventors.
How do fire sprinkles work?
A lot of people assume that when a fire happens, all the sprinkler heads are activated at the same time throughout the building. You may have seen it in movies, but this is not how modern fire sprinklers operate.
In Reality… fire sprinklers activate one by one. Contrary to popular belief, fire sprinklers are also not triggered by smoke. The heat from the fire rises and activates the sprinkler heads that located above the fire. Each sprinkler head has a small heat-sensitive glass bulb or metal link inside.
Fire Sprinklers Detect Heat
When a fire occurs, the heat from the flames causes the bulb or link to break releasing the water. Even though most fire sprinklers are the same, the bulbs inside them have variances now. For example, in large office buildings and newly built schools, quick response sprinkler heads are usually installed.
The design of fire sprinkles didn’t change much but there are some additions that improved the functionality of the entire system. Over the past half-century, fire pumps were added to deliver pressurized water to high rises. Also, sprinkler systems are now often integrated with fire alarm to ensure a quick response from authorities. The improved infrastructure of the public water system has also made fire sprinkler systems more efficient.
Still have questions about fire sprinkler systems? Contact Glendale Plumbing & Fire Supply, Inc. to learn more about fire sprinkler systems, including the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of them.