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Below are a list of frequently asked questions. If you do not see an answer to your specific question or if you would like more information, please contact us.

Automatic fire sprinklers are individually heat-activated and attached to a network of piping with water under pressure. When the heat of a fire raises the sprinkler temperature to its operating temperature (usually 155o F), a liquid-filled glass bulb will shatter or a solder link will melt opening that sprinkler, releasing water and sounding an alarm. By acting automatically at the origin of a fire, sprinklers help prevent a fire from growing to a dangerous size, protecting the buildings occupants and contents.

While a limited type of systems are designed for all sprinklers to activate during a fire, the majority of fire sprinkler systems are designed so that only the sprinklers in the immediate area will activate to control the fire. The TV and the movies poorly reflect the actual activation of a fire sprinkler system.

Fire department hoses typically discharge ten to one hundred times more water than that discharged by sprinklers. Since only the sprinkler closest to the fire is activated, the total amount of water is limited. Fire damage is also limited; most fires are put out quickly or at least contained to a confined area, by only a few sprinklers, reducing overall building damage. The cost of water damage can be minimal compared to the cost of fire and smoke damage.

Local building authorities (permit offices) and building codes detail where and when sprinklers are required for life safety. A licensed fire protection contractor or engineer can help you find out about any requirements that apply to your project.

NFLFS employs NICET-certified Fire Protection Engineering Technicians. NICET, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, has a stringent testing and certification program for fire protection designers. Only trained and experienced professionals should design sprinkler systems.

Have your fire sprinkler system periodically inspected by a licensed Fire Protection Contractor. Most jurisdictions require annual or semi-annual inspections to keep you code compliant.

Do: •Know the location of the system shutoff valve. •Make sure the system control valve is always open. •Have your system re-evaluated for needed upgrades when: ◦Water supply changes--addition or change of backlow preventer or water meter, or reduction of public water supply. ◦Building occupancy or building use changes (offices to storage, etc.). ◦Building changes (walls, partitions, additions). •Leave the building and contact the fire department when any activation of the system occurs, even if the fire has apparently been extinguished. Don't: •Paint the sprinklers. •Damage sprinklers (report any damage immediately). •Hang objects from any part of the system. •Obstruct of cover the sprinklers. •Attempt to fight a fire yourself; leave it to the professionals at the fire department who are specially trained to fight fires.