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Homeowners: Know & Maintain Your Fire Sprinkler System

In his pots, All You Need to Know About Residential Sprinkler Systems, Bob Vila discusses the importance, care, and types of sprinkler systems. Vila notes,

Common misconceptions about sprinkler systems (also called residential fire-protection systems and residential fire-suppression systems) prevent people from including one in their home. The fear of a misfiring sprinkler head and the belief that a room fire activates the entire system are two such common misconceptions.

Many homeowners do not realize that it is their responsibility to test and maintain the fire sprinkler system on a monthly basis. The Central Savannah River Area Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers published a great guide for homeowners to answer questions, debunk myths, give solid facts, and list resources you can use to maintain your system. Their Do's and Don'ts section contains a quick list of basic information all homeowners should know.

DO: 1. Test your system monthly. (If your system is monitored by a fire service agency, be sure to notify them before testing the system. This will prevent sending a false alarm.) Open the test valve and listen for an alarm bell or buzzer. Once the alarm sounds, turn off the valve. If alarm bell or buzzer does not sound, contact a qualified fire sprinkler contractor. 2. Know the location of the system shutoff valve. Be sure all other adult occupants are aware of its location.

3. Make certain the system control valve is open at all times. 4. Have your system extended if your home is enlarged or remodeled. Contact a licensed fire sprinkler contractor. Submit plans to the local fire department or fire prevention division as required to secure a permit. 5. Contact the fire department when any activation occurs, even if the fire has apparently been extinguished. DON'T: 1 Don't paint the sprinklers. 2. Don't damage the sprinklers. 3. Don't hang objects from the sprinklers, valves or other components. 4. Don't obstruct the sprinklers. 5. Don't cover the sprinklers. 6. Don't remove the sprinklers. 7. Don't turn off or disconnect the system. 8. Don't shut off the system in the event of a fire. In the event of a fire, be calm and leave your home immediately. Call the fire department from a neighbor's house.

Furthermore, Forbes author Sheri Koones, reviews why fire sprinkler systems should be in all homes.

Every day on the news you see another house going up in flames. People’s total belongs gone in a flash, lives lost. 

One simple solution to this problem is the installation of fire sprinkler systems. More important than granite counter tops and other luxury items in the home is the safety of the occupants. I have long been an advocate for sprinkler systems because the best living conditions in any home are those that are safe first, then sustainable and energy efficient. Beautiful is an added plus!

Many argue that fire sprinkler systems add an extra expense to the cost of construction. But when you are investing in building a house – safety should be a major priority. 

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare — a house fire, caused by faulty wiring, a kitchen accident, an act of nature or simple carelessness. When most homeowners think of house fires, they probably first consider the resulting property damage, and the numbers are staggering. Fires in single- and two-family homes caused $6.1 billion in property loss, according to data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), based in Quincy, Mass.

But more sobering is the loss of life that often results from house fires. Every year, more than 2,300 people perish due to fires in their homes. If residential fire sprinkler systems had been installed in those houses, property damage could have been greatly reduced, and lives could have been saved.

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