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The Smart Way to Find a Fire Sprinkler Contractor

History of Fire Sprinklers

Saturday

Sprinklers were invented by an American, Henry S. Parmalee, in 1874 to protect his piano factory.

Until the 40s and 50s, sprinklers were installed for the protection of commercial buildings, like warehouses and factories. Insurance savings, which could pay back the cost of the system in a few years time, was a incentive.

Following fires with large losses of life, such as the Coconut Grove Nightclub in Boston, LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, and the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, fire officials searched for a way to provide protection for the occupants of any building. They found that factories and other buildings equipped with automatic sprinklers had an amazingly good safety record compared to similar buildings without sprinklers.

Building codes over the past 2 decades have called for sprinklers throughout buildings for safety. Where the building codes don't go far enough, many cities and states have enacted tougher sprinkler ordinances. West Virginia, for example, requires sprinklers throughout all new buildings exceeding 40 feet. Oak Brook, Illinois, requires sprinklers throughout all new buildings exceeding 1,000 square feet in area except single-family dwellings. Some communities, such as San Clemente, California, and Greenburgh, New York, require fire sprinkler protection even in new single-family homes.

In addition to requiring sprinklers throughout new buildings, some cities have encouraged sprinkler installation in existing buildings. These include New York City's landmark Local Law 5 for high-rise office buildings, and a Chicago ordinance requiring sprinklers throughout all nursing homes. High-rise hotels have been required to retrofit with fire sprinklers in the states of Nevada and Florida, and in the city of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Automatic fire sprinklers are individually heat-activated, and tied into a network of piping with water under pressure. When the heat of a fire raises the sprinkler temperature to its operating point (usually 165 degrees), a solder link will melt or a liquid-filled glass bulb will shatter to open that single sprinkler, releasing water directly over the source of the heat.

Sprinklers operate automatically in the area of fire origin, preventing a fire from growing undetected to a dangerous size, while simultaneously sounding an alarm. Automatic fire sprinklers keep fires small. The majority of fires in sprinklered buildings are handled by one or two sprinklers.

Sprinklers prevent the fast developing fires of intense heat which are capable of trapping and killing dozens of building occupants. Proper design and installation of sprinkler systems is standardized nationally in a consensus standard promulgated by the National Fire Protection Association - NFPA 13.

Aside from fire fighting and explosion fatalities, there has never been a multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building due to fire or smoke. Individual lives have been lost when the victim or his clothing or immediate surroundings became the source of the fire.

A National Fire Protection Association study for the years 1971-1975 found that approximately 20 lives are lost each year in this country in sprinklered buildings, as compared to approximately 4,000 per year in unsprinklered buildings.

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source - nfsa
posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 3:28 PM

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