In the fire service, protection systems are used to help safeguard lives and property by detecting or suppressing fires. Detection systems will detect a fire and alert occupants in the building, whereas suppression systems aid firefighters in controlling fires. Both are integral parts of the fire service today. Sprinklers are a type of suppression system. They were first designed in the 1800’s. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a huge contributing factor in the idea of placing sprinklers in buildings and factories to protect the occupants inside. Sprinklers are said to be almost 100% effective.
There are a number of different types of sprinklers and designs. Sprinkler heads are the key element of a sprinkler system. Some different sprinkler heads are pendant, upright and sidewall, just to name a few. Parts of the sprinkler head can include: a deflector, deflector screw, link plates, roller key, female lever, and male lever, cap, disc ...view middle of the document...
When the water pressure begins to diminish, the main check valve is opened and water is flown into the system. It fills the retard chamber and activates the automatic alarm and the water gong. Oftentimes, wet pipe systems are located in areas that aren’t subject to freezing temperatures.
Along with wet pipe systems, there are dry pipe systems. Instead of water under pressure like in the wet pipe system, the dry pipe system has air under pressure, which is useful in areas that are prone to freezing temperatures. It uses a dry pipe valve to maintain pressurized air above it and supply water pressure below it. Dry pipe systems react slower when flowing water. Some systems use exhausters or accelerators in tandem with these systems to speed up the process. As with wet pipe systems, when a sprinkler head becomes fused by heat, air is released. After the pressure drops a clapper valve locks open and water begins to flow.
Among the many fire sprinkler systems, there are deluge systems that protect areas that are prone to a fast spreading fire such as hazardous materials storage facilities. Preaction systems that have closed piping heads and do not begin flowing water until signaled from another system. In addition, residential sprinklers are used in residential occupancies allowing occupants a chance to escape a fire with a better chance of survival.
The presence of these systems has tremendously impacted the fire service in a positive way. It can date back as far as the first automatic sprinkler installed by Henry S. Parmalee in 1874, to the tragedy at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911. According to NFPA, “ If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.” They also stated that, “ People in homes with sprinklers are protected against significant property loss—sprinklers reduce the average property loss by about 70% per fire.” Firefighter safety and the safety of the public are undeniably the most important things we strive for, and the invention and installation of fire sprinkler systems have helped us to achieve that today.
firefighter's handbook: essentials of firefighting third edition