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Home Fire Sprinkler Facts

Fires kill more people in the United States every year than all natural disasters combined.

Eighty percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. The single most effective way to prevent fire-related deaths is the installation of residential fire sprinklers. Combined with smoke alarms, they cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 82% compared to having neither.

HFSC has produced a presentation that follows a home fire in realtime, demonstrating the effectiveness of home fire sprinklers. You can use the movie in your own presentations.
See the movie.

Fire sprinklers can save money for developers, builders, homeowners, and communities.

Through the use of trade-ups, developers and builders can achieve reduced construction costs while providing higher value homes for their customers. In the event of a home fire, homeowners can expect financial losses 90% lower than those that occur from fires in unsprinklered homes. Communities can deploy emergency services resources more effectively by reducing the burden caused by home fires.

Installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 82%, relative to having neither.

Facts & Figures*

  • Sprinklers typically reduce chances of dying in a fire and the average property loss by one-half to two-thirds compared to where sprinklers are not present.
  • NFPA has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely sprinklered public assembly, educational, institutional or residential building where the system was working properly.
  • In 1999, 34% of public assembly properties where fires occurred in the U.S. were equipped with sprinklers, compared with 7% of residential properties.
  • In 2002, 79% of fires occurred in the home, resulting in 2,670 fire deaths.

* From NFPA's U.S. Experience with Sprinklers and NFPA's Fire Loss in the United States, November 2003, Kimberly D. Rohr.

Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.

Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat. Despite "sight gags" on TV sit-coms, smoke does not trigger sprinkler operation. The rest of the sprinklers in a house will not activate unless there is also a fire in other locations of the home. Ninety percent of all home fires are contained with a single sprinkler.

You can use HFSC's How Home Fire Sprinklers Work animated movie in your presentations to demonstrate the reliability of fire sprinkler systems.

Fire hoses, on average, use more than eight-and-a-half times the water that sprinklers do to contain a fire.

According to the Scottsdale Report, a 15-year study of fire sprinkler effectiveness, a fire sprinkler uses, on average, 341 gallons of water to control a fire. Firefighters, on average, use 2,935. Reduced water damage is a major source of savings for homeowners.

HFSC has an interactive demonstration of water usage you can use in your presentations. Watch the movie.

The likelihood that a sprinkler will accidently discharge because of a manufacturing defect is extremely rare.

Sprinkler mishaps are generally less likely and less severe than accidents involving home plumbing systems.

Modern fire sprinklers provide unobtrusive protection.

Unlike commercial fire sprinklers, residential sprinklers are small, and can be recessed into ceilings or walls. Some models are completely concealed by plates that can be matched to a room's paint colors.

For more information on including fire sprinklers in the homes you build, call 1-877-550-HFSC (4372).

pdf Download the Home Fire Sprinkler Fact Sheet (2.75 Mb)