Skip to content

Think Sprinkler – RBFRS supports National Sprinkler Week

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s week-long sprinkler campaign, from 18-24 May.

Sprinklers are widely recognised as the most effective method of fighting the early stages of a fire, can save lives and reduce damage to property.

Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, Doug Buchanan, said: “Although times are challenging at the moment with the ongoing pandemic, we want to take this opportunity to reinforce the compelling case for installing sprinkler systems. Sprinklers without a doubt save lives and reduce injuries, they can protect firefighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire. Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire and rescue service can arrive.”

Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “During this week it is important that we actively promote the benefits of sprinkler systems across Royal Berkshire. Sprinkler systems are an excellent means of containing or extinguishing fires before firefighters even arrive at the property, but more crucially and critically – they save lives.”

Research by the NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) found that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions so are very reliable and when they do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions. The result is sprinklers reduce injuries by at least 80%, reduce property damage by 90% and substantially reduce damage to the environment from fire.

Despite the benefits of sprinkler systems, some may have reservations due to a number of misconceptions. Some of these are:

Sprinklers are hugely expensive.

Actually, the costs of installing sprinklers are roughly equivalent to carpeting the same building in new buildings. However, damage from fires can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds – sometimes running into millions of pounds. Losses from fires in buildings protected with sprinklers, in comparison, are estimated to be one-tenth of those in unprotected buildings. Fitting sprinklers can save money in some areas – insurers will often offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems, and policy excesses may be lower.

When there is a fire, all the sprinkler heads go off at once. 

Each head is independent and only the head(s) adjacent to the fire go off as the heads are activated by heat and not smoke.

Sprinklers can go off accidentally.

Records show that the chance of an accidental discharge from a sprinkler is in the region of 16 million to one. They will only go off if there is a fire, which increases the heat beyond the defined sprinkler trigger point (typically 135 to 165°F (57.2 to 73.9°C).

Water damage is as bad as the fire damage.

A typical sprinkler discharges 55 litres per minute. A firefighting hose discharges over 600 litres per minute. You can expect a sprinkler to discharge less than 5 percent of the water used by the fire service.

Find out more about the benefits of sprinklers at: