For most people, safeguarding against the risk of fire stops at the installation of a smoke or fire alarm or a system combining the two. When asked to consider investing in an automated fire sprinkler, they hold on to the idea that a smoke or fire detector will provide enough protection. Supporting this idea are studies which have indicated that the chances of surviving a reported home fire when smoke alarms are present and working is 99.45%. The problem with this argument is that, it is a myth that does not take into consideration several factors.
Quality of Life
First, the difference in the chances of survival in homes where smoke alarms are present and in homes where they are not is marginally different. In the latter case, the chances for survival is 98.87% which shows that fire and smoke detectors on their own add very little fire protection. This is largely because of their way of working. The alarms are made to detect fires and alert the house occupants and not to put out the fires. This is totally unlike the protection offered by fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers reduce the risk of death which is different from just increasing chances of survival. They decrease the risk of death by over 80% and there has been no case of multiple deaths in reported fire cases where sprinklers were present and working.
Smoke & Fire Alarms
Smoke and fire alarms also differ from fire sprinklers in terms of reliability. Studies have now indicated that 14% of smoke alarms have failed to work properly in case of a fire. This is a huge margin compared to the chances of a sprinkler failing being 1 in 500,000. Even in cases where the alarms are working, they may not be enough to guarantee the evacuation of every person to a safety point. This is especially the case for home fires which tend to happen when people are sleeping. Within a short time a room can be engulfed in fire and not every person may get the chance to clear areas.
Most deaths in a fire happens within five minutes of the fire breaking out. People at a high risk of suffering are the young ones and the elderly. Such high risk people are not helped much by the alarm since they may fail to hear it as well as move swiftly to the safety areas. What is needed is a system that puts out the fire the moment it starts. In a home on fire you may have little more than 3 minutes to make an escape. Fire sprinklers can put out fires in just a minute and a half and allow for more time for evacuation by controlling the spread of fire.
Aside from life, fire sprinklers reduce the damage to property in case of a fire. As you await for fire fighters to arrive, you can reduce property being damaged at your home as the fire sprinkler systems will be putting out the fire.