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Home Fire Safety

Home Fire Safety


House Fire

“Discover How You and Your Family
Can Feel the Comfort of Continuous
Fire Protection In Your Home…”


– That the most effective and reliable fire protection system was invented over 100 years ago, yet your home most likely is not protected.

– That your understanding of fire sprinklers may be based on commonly believed myths – separate the truth from the myths of home fire sprinkler systems.

– That smoke detectors frequently fail when you need them most – this is critical information if you have young children.

And you’ll also have access to the latest updates and industry news so you can confidently protect your home and family with the best fire safety methods.

On the left side of the screen just type in your first name and primary email address, then click the “Free Report!” button.

You will receive an email confirmation with a download link to instantly access the “Home Fire Safety – Consumer Bulletin.”  This incredibly thought provoking report may forever change your views of home fire safety.

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93 Responses to “Home Fire Safety”

  1. Fire sprinklers save lives, it is only a matter of time until thinking progresses to the point were we can’t justify putting a price on ONE single life.

  2. Where do I find a contractor with the proper qualifications to install a sprinkler system in my home. Will you please address in a future article what I should look for and insist upon when making my selection?

  3. Michael,

    You hit the nail on the head with your comment. In fact, has been receiving frequent email requests from people looking for qualified contractors to install their fire sprinkler systems.

    I am thrilled to see this growing desire to protect homes and families from fire. You bet that we will soon have an article published to shed some light on selecting a qualified contractor.

    Actually, we got a lot more than just an article in the works for you. What’s coming will knock your socks off when you see how plain and simple it will be to find qualified contractors in your area.

    Stay tuned. Make sure you have downloaded your free home fire protection report on the left side of the screen so I can notify you the moment we are ready to roll out the program.

  4. My name is Scott Kimbrell. I am a branch manager of Ranger Fire here in Oklahoma. I am thrilled to see that there is a website to enlighten the public of how important life safety is. What people need to understand is that for a few thousand dollars they can not only lower their insurance premium, but also sleep well at night knowing that their loved ones are protected form fire and smoke.
    If there is anything I can do to help spread the word let me know.

  5. I have been getting more and more calls about residential fire sprinkler systems. I have been in the industry for over 13 years and I am glad to see that people in the Carolina’s are starting to recognize the need for residential fire sprinklers. Saving lives that’s the most important aspect, that’s what drives me. I hope that South Carolina will pass the law requiring these systems to be installed in new homes and start saving lives.

    Kris Hornberger
    SimplexGrinnell LP

  6. I am thrilled to see your web site, I have operated Residential Fire Sprinklers a licensed California C-16 fire protection contractor since 1994. Complete Fire Safety in the home is now possible. Education is key to implementation. Good Luck !

  7. I’m Adrian and i have a plumbing and hydronic business – NewWay Energy and Hometechnic. Im very interested to install fire sprinklers and i was asked all the time by the builders if i know how to. i tried to find where i can get the education and training for that but i couldn’t find anything. if you could please give me more information i would appreciate it very much. thank you

    “home fire protection is where the greatest need for change exists.” thats right from your view of point!!! first sorry i dont write so correct english, i’m born in Romania and my education was done in Romania and Germany,since 2003 in USA. ok from my view i think USA is going the right direction in using alternative energy sources like solar and geothermal;here i see a very big growth in the next decade, and the greatest need for change… ; but if we take a closer look u invest more money at start up for a payback and the smartest thing is to protect the assets like fire sprinklers.i agree with that and i want to do fire sprinklers because the change will come and should come. thx adrian

  8. Adrian, since you currently have a plumbing business I would highly recommend that you become a part of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) for your training needs, if you are not already a member. Fire Smarts LLC, is working with the PHCC to provide their membership introductory webinars on residential fire sprinklers with more specific and technical training to follow. This should fit very well with your needs as you consider entering the residential fire sprinkler market.

  9. Ryan, I agree the residential sprinklers are very important and needed. As a person who works in the insurance industry I would like to see greater discounts applied by insurance companies applied to their home insurance.

    From a insurance cost standpoint, there are greater cost saving opportunities for owners of commercial buildings on their insurance if they receive the Sprinkler Credit from an ISO Survey. An owner of a hotel which is sprinklered can save 5 times (or more) on his property insurance than if he did not get his building sprinklered.

  10. Can a sprinkler system be installed in a home that is subject to freezing temperatures? When a home is closed up for the winter and heat is turned off it gets well below freezing inside. And this same home has a well for the only water supply. Can we make the sprinkler system work in these conditions?

  11. Wayne, great question and the answer is yes. Fire sprinkler systems can be used in homes subject to freezing temperatures. There are several installation methods to accommodate freezing conditions including insulation, antifreeze systems, and PEX tubing. Insulation can be effective, but may not be enough in very low temperatures for long periods of time. Antifreeze systems do require additional maintenance to keep enough antifreeze in the system to prevent freezing. PEX tubing works especially well for these conditions since the material can swell when it freezes and shrink back to normal when it thaws.

  12. It’s great that plumbers are intrested in installing NFPA 13D sprinkler systems.

    Just a reminder that some locations, like in the State of Illinois, require the systems to be designed by a NICET certified designer or a PE though the installation can be done by a plumber.

  13. I am interested in starting residential sprinkler system business in Kentucky,but I have never done this before. What do I need to do to get certified? How do I get information on what all is needed to do so?

  14. Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
    101 Sea Hero Road
    Suite 100
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    Phone: 502-573-0364
    Fax: 502-573-1057

    James McKinney – email the person above and ask him, this is the Kentucky state department in charge of Fire Sprinklers. This should be a good jumping off point.

  15. Michael, great articles and informative content can never be taken for granted and you’ve done a great job in presenting basic yet very timely information and insight.

    We’re a company that is interested in getting in on the ground floor of inspecting residential sprinkler systems in new construction and are on the way to getting started looking for the right information. Would you please point us in the right direction in order to not be misled by some of the no value educational seminars out here. We want the meat and potatoes and only the serious instructors and certifiers that will be recognized by the industry. Thanks for this service and keep up the good work.

  16. Bill, the 2007 NFPA 13d code book is only 30 some odd pages, learn it inside and out.

    Focus your formal education on what is enforced in the cities or counties where you will be working.

    If you are trying to become inspectors, you too need to be talking with people in your State’s (OH & MI) Fire Marshals Office. Where I’m at, in Washington State every county and city have their own input on the things they require over and above the NFPA13d code. Talk to those folks first, find out if they have uniformity on their requirements of the code, or if it is like mine.

    Talk to your local Fire Marshal and Fire Chiefs.
    These are to heart and soul of the industry. Find out what they want from inspections in your area.

    As far as formal inspectors schools, I’m sorry I do not know of any.

    To be honest, I work with an installing company that installs only pex piped, multi-purpose sprinkler systems. We have to have meetings with every Fire Marshal and Fire Chief in every new area we work. Most have never seen the type of systems we install. We get to “teach”, in a way, our inspectors. These folks are VERY experienced in fire sprinklers, but not in 13D multipurpose systems. They are surprised how simple and efficient these systems are. Initiating and Maintaining a good relationship with these guys and gals is vital to the success of our company.

    One thing you will need is knowledge of fire sprinkler layout. You will need the equivalency of a NICET level 1 sprinkler layout certification. (this covers NFPA 13D only)This will at least give you enough background to make the call if want to pursue this further.
    Check with AFSA or NFSA and see what they offer in your area.

    I hope this helps.

  17. Bill, I’ll just add one thing to the comments above since you have indicated you are looking for the “meat and potatoes” from “only the serious instructors”. AFSA and NFSA have some great training programs if you can fit into their schedule, but if you are training more than three people at the same time or need a more customized program, I would highly recommend the private training services of Fire Smarts, LLC. Their Faculty team of industry experts provide private and personalized training. In full disclosure, I am affiliated with Fire Smarts and they are the sponsor of this site. To see a list of training topics available visit Fire Sprinkler Training.

  18. Yes! I am a “supporter” of residential sprinkler systems and I have over the last 9 months been trying to pass a “new” state law here in the State of Texas that requires automatic fire safety suppression systems (sprinkler systems) in ALL “NEW” residential home construction, but Texas is one of those states that does not believe in “progress”.I have contacted every state “agency” on this issue and (which does not “surprise” me down here) Texas legislators would rather spend time and money on “issues” that they can not control or want to spend $5 to go after $1. Typical Texas “politics”.
    It is amazing to me that 16 states in the United States require or mandate residential sprinkler systems in all “new” home construction, but Texas is like the “turd that won’t flush down the toilet” when it comes to fire safety “progress” for the 21’st century.
    Down here in the good “ol’e Lone Star” state the attitude towards something like this is that “as long as my home doesn’t burn, I do not care” If some one dies in a residential fire the “attitude” down here is that “I pray for the family” or some other “religious” B.S. or “That’s just how we do things down here ya’ll” and it is “true” I live here in San Antonio, Texas and we have this “fire problem” here all the time, but from our city “government” to our state “government” no one wants to “step-up to the plate” on making Texas home “safer” by mandating residential sprinkler systems in Texas homes.
    You would think that Mr. Rick Perry (Texas governor) would pass a state law on this, but unfortunately Mr. Perry’s “interest” is not on residential home safety, his “intrest” is about money.Especially since the state mansion was nearly burned down.You would think that Mr. Perry would have a different “attitude” about fire safety.
    Also! Texas is “naive” when it comes to this type of topic(s)on fire safety and as one senator had told me “That if Texan’s are too “lazy” to change a battery and test a smoke detector whether it is a battery operated or “hard-wired” one,do you think that they would “test” a residential sprinkler system? And yes! Texas is a “lazy” state, but at what level does it have to get before and how many more “bodies” does it take for the State of Texas to “wake-up”?

    Is there anyone in the Texas state legislator that “supports” a state law on residential sprinkler systems? The only thing that is “mandatory” under Texas state law is smoke detectors and that has been “law” since 1981 and the “revised” “Madla’s Law” which closes the “grandfather” clause in the law for homes that were built before September 1, 1981 when Texas’s “smoke detector” law went into effect ( Section 92-252 of the Texas “Health and Safety” Code effective September 1, 1981).
    Now forward 28 years later (2009)Texas should have law like this NOW for residential sprinkler systems.

  19. What is to stop a homeowner from shutting off the sprinkler system? It’s hard enough to remind the average homeowner to change a smoke detector battery! What about children – throwing balls, hitting a head, destroying property by water damage? The control needs to be in the CONSTRUCTION of the home, not the OPERATION of the home, because users cannot be relied upon to maintain systems safely. Mandatory sprinkler systems are a very poorly thought-out item, and will surely be reversed in the next IRC code release

  20. Mark,
    Item 1: The beauty of a well designed Home Fire Sprinkler System is that the home owner does not have to remember to do anything. In a multipurpose sprinkler system, the toilets get their water service from the sprinkler plumbing. If they shut off the sprinkler, they shut off the toilets(not very likely). The only maintenance that needs to be done is the check if the fire bell is working. If the homeowner does not do this, it will not have any effect on the sprinkler system working. (At worst, the bell may not work.)

    Item 2:The most common sprinkler head in use today is of the concealed type, it has a 1/4″ profile and a 3″ circle on the ceiling is all you see. While not vandal proof, it puts an end to the type of mistake with a ball that you describe.

    Item 3:Mandatory sprinkler systems is a very well thought out item. Construction control is NOT the answer.

    CONTENTS of a house is what ignites and burns in almost ALL home fires, not the structure. From ignition to flashover in about three minutes. Between carpet, flooring, upholstery, window coverings, and furnishings, it is what we put in our home is what supplies the fire load. At the point of flashover, nobody is alive in that room anymore. Again, this is only three minutes. Only at the flashover point does it even become a structure fire.
    How a house is constructed will not change this,and can not protect its owners from fire.

    But a sprinkler system can prevent flashover, by putting water on the fire before it gets lethal. This gives time for escape, to save lives.

  21. Great to run across this site. I live up in Vancouver, Canada where any new residence MUST have a sprinkler system installed. This law was passed at least 10 years ago and I became involved in my retirement designing residential sprinkler systems. It may seem to be overkill for each system to have an engineer’s stamp on each design but there have been many cases where only 3/4 inch diam pipe is installed in a house and barely a trickle comes out of a remote head when activated—so watch the friction calculations.

    As a last note: 96% of all domestic fires are extinguished by a single sprinkler head when a house has a sprinkler system installed.

  22. Just read the thread above. It is hard to believe the resistance to fire protection. So many tragedies can be saved by a single sprinkler.

    I had no idea we were so progressive.

    Good Luck with the politicians down there.

  23. If there was ever a need that could be supported by the federal stimulus funds surely this is one. Has there been any discussion in the industry to seek federal stimulus funds to support retrofitting homes with sprinklers? It would be a double hit – creating jobs and saving lives.

    It should be no surprise that the public is very naive about the cost vs. benefit of a residential sprinkler system. If a person can afford a flat panel TV; they can afford a residential sprinkler system. We need to get the word out to the public.

    Obama was supported by the IAFF during his campaign. There should be some return expected on their “investment” and this effort is worthy. The loss of a home is tragic enough without the loss of loved ones.

  24. Kitchen fires question.

    If a high percentage of residential fires start in the kitchen stove-tops from burning cooking oil, for example, and sage advice from NFPA and other sources say do not use water to put out those fires, why is the use of fire sprinklers considered safe and effective for these fires?

    I have a hard time coming to terms with that logic. Can anyone throw some light on this?


  25. I just added a home sprinkler system to my home with the help from the home fire sprinkler coalition. I had never even heard of a sprinkler system in homes until my home caught fire in Jan. When my family and I were displaced to a Hotel I realized they had a sprinkler system and I thought if they put them in Hotels why not homes. I am still not home yet and I don’t know if I would ever be able to move back if it weren’t for the sprinkler system. It will bring me peace of mind. My fire happened while I was awake and I was lucky enough to get me and my 3 small children out of the house but if my fire would have happened at night I am not so sure I would have been that lucky.
    Home sprinkler systems are very low cost while building your home it should be mandated to protect you and your family!
    Most people have lawn sprinkler systems put in so their grass is green why not add a sprinkler system in your home to protect the lives of your family and the fire department, if the need would arise?
    I think the public should be educated on home sprinkler systems so they know this is an option for them.
    I wish I knew how to help more and I am so glad people are pushing for this because it should be mandated!

  26. I have a residential home for Sr. Adults in Munford, Al. Do you install in this area? I need an estimate. You can e-mail me.


  27. Carl G
    I doubt we will ever see any “stimulus money” for anything so worthwhile as residential sprinklers anytime soon which is a shame because as you noted they do save lives and property.
    The enlightened ones who recognise the benefits of sprinklers to the property owners should be sure to share with the lawmakers and opponents of these systems that they also benefit the whole of the community because with a fire system the first level of fire prevention responsibility is shifted from the community fire department to the individual homeowner.
    One of the great attributes of any community is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for oneself and not a reliance on the government.

    I can see the logic of your conflict but there is a vast difference between throwing a pot full of water on a grease fire and executing a continous spray upon the oil fire. In the pot or two of water the oil just floats to the top and out of the pan while a continous discharge of a fine spray from above the fire will cool the oil to below its flash point and thereby control the fire.
    BTW the average home fire including kitchen fires only needed about 300 gallons of water compared to over 3,000 gallons for a fire department hose to control the blaze by the time they got to the scene.
    I hope this helps

  28. Being NICET IV certified in fire sprinkler layout, I have lots of experience, I want to throw just a little cold water onto the “I want to get into the business of installing fire sprinklers” enthusiasm. For 13D systems it is possible for HVAC companies to do the job but there are a few things they better be aware of before they embark down the path of being an installation company.

    You better know what you are doing and you better do it right. If there is a fire and loss of life in a home that does have sprinklers you better believe there will be lawyers and if you didn’t do the job right it won’t be pretty.

    For example using a Viking Freedom HSW (VK460) to cover a 12′-0″x22′-3″. In this configuration we would need 38 gpm @ 42.9 psi at the head. I would venture a guess, once considering head loss for back flow prevention devices, valves, pipes, fittings and height less than half of the city water systems in the country will supply the kind of pressure needed to make this work.

    1″ CPVC might sound like a good size pipe but at 38 gpm the friction loss through a total of 100′ equivalent pipe length exceeds 22 psi. A total equivalent length of 100′ is very easy to get and with an 8′ height ceiling (3.5 psi), end sprinkler pressure (42.9 psi) and 22 psi friction loss we’re at 68.4 psi without calculating a loss through back flow and meter devices. I will bet more than half the towns in the USA are unable to provide 68 psi required (much less the 70 to 80 psi should we add in underground, back flow preventers etc).

    If there is a fire with loss of life there could be a case for negligent homicide if the job wasn’t done right.

    If you want to do it that’s fine with me but you better do it right.

  29. I like this page. wish to obtain yor safety bulletins

  30. Hello,

    I am looking to start a residential sprinkler company. I am a Carpenter by trade and interested in more information regarding training and certification in PA.

    Thank you in advance for your time,

    Bill C Scharr

  31. i am also looking to start a home based fire protection bussiness in south carolina. the good thing is i have been installing 13r and 13 systems for 8 years now and am very familiar with viking, blazemaster and tyco products, i guess more of what im looking for is where to get my own personal licsensing. i know some states only require a plumbers licsense. i have worked all over this country with the company that i am currently employed with and i enjoy the work , just getting tired of working so far away.

  32. But what do you do when the City pressure exceeds the maximum allowable for the plumbing fixtures? My Local Fire Department will not allow us to regulate the systems. Also how do we get around the alarm requirements some jurisdictions won’t wave? If we do a combo system this could be a concern

    Thanks for the help

  33. to john campbell
    just use pressure reducing valves they come in various sizes and can be used in different applications and are even adjustable to seek the pressure you are looking for

  34. There in lies the problem. Every regulating device typically used for a home has a maximum flow that is LESS than the typical sprinklers demand, not to mention the friction loss thru them. When you combine domestic demand and fire sprinkler demand the flow exceeds that which the regulating device is designed/approved for so the FD won’t allow them. What is needed is a high flow GPM PR valve in 1″ – 1-1/4″ size. This, in our area, than requires a stand alone system

  35. When the fire engine hooks up to the FDC what pump discharge pressure should they use? I’ve been told 150 psi (as is normal for commercial buildings) may blow apart the sprinkler system.

  36. to john campbell
    for coming into the home i would tee off the domestic line installing your pressure reducing valve for domestic and use back to back checkvalves with a drain for your sprinkler system. i do this alot in the mountains because of height differrences between city water and building locations and it has never been an issue with any inspectors ive worked with.
    and for nathan cpvc sprinklers systems can hold 175 for life and theyre burst is 350 and this is in residential where as commercial is typically steel would definatly handle higher pressure amounts. i would worry more about installations. if not installed properly the pipes will shift and can cause damage to the buildings and all other trades as well,being that pump trucks will put the pressure on almost instantaniously where as pumps are gradual.

  37. Less than 30 years ago, children stood next to mom or dad on the front seat of an automobile with no seat belt, much less a child safety seat. Nothing much changed until laws were enacted requiring children to be restrained. At the same time a massive education process took place to create a culture of automobile safety where parents restrained children by choice and not to comply with a law. Today, my daughters place my grandchildren in safety seats and strap them in until they can hardly move for the shortest trip. They would not think of doing otherwise, but it took legislation to get the ball rolling. Along with residential ordinances, we need to develop a culture of safety where the next generation(s) would not even consider living in a home without fire sprinkler protection. That will be the ultimate win.

  38. As housing development sprawls from the core city, the fire department wants a maximum seven minute response time. That has spurred tax increases on everybody so these people who want their house in the boonies can have fire protection. Often with driveways that a fire truck cannot negotiate. It is time that all new houses and remodeled houses have sprinkler protection! They save lives, property and tax dollars.

  39. With fire sprinklers rated as 98 percent effective in stopping hostile fires, why are they not included in more structures.

  40. I run a small plumbing company in SC. I have a commercial and residential license. It seems not a week goes by that a different builder asks me to get “certified” to install residential sprinkler systems. What do I need need to do? With a commercial license, an I already certified to install these systems?

    Thank you,

  41. I live in Baltimore,Md i want to start my own company im in the union apprenticeship and need to know what i need to have in the state of md

  42. My name is Jim Stillman, son of Timothy Stillman who worked tiredly to push for home fire sprinkler systems in all residential homes. He was the first to fully sprinkler his home in Florida in the 60’s. He made it his life’s work & pushed the NFPA as well as others on the matter until his death in 1992. While he may be gone there are others who believe his vision may become a reality as many jurisdictions & even states are looking into laws for home fire sprinkler systems in new home construction. I have decided to put my other fire fighting causes on hold to push fire organizations, those who govern, & anyone who will listen that this may become a reality soon & that homes may have sprinkler systems as most have smoke detectors today as my father always preached. “Why just have a smoke detector in your home that warns you about a fire when you can have a sprinkler system that will put it out” (Tim Stillman) I would be happy to talk with anyone trying to get requirements & educate those on home sprinkler systems. Our family appreciates all that help keep my father’s dream, & goals alive that those many may be saved from the horrible affects of fire in the place people feel most safe, their own homes. Thanks;
    James F. Stillman

  43. Mr. Alan,

    Also read and attempt to understand what Mr. Arthur, comment 28 is saying. It is very true, and here are some upfront hints

    ASSE 7000 series for installers and inspectors for 13D multipurpose sprinkler systems. You need to be a plumber for 5 years with proven experience or a sprinkler fitter with the same amount of time. Sprinkler fitters can only do the cold water plumbing, since they are not plumbers.

    Hydrostatic Testing of your cold water piping to 175 or more psi means you need a clean water hydrostaic tester, very good gauges etc.

    Designs are not by any schedule system, it is by a licensed fire protection engineer who may have a NICET level 3 or 4 designer doing the legwork. Ohio recognizes a level 3 or 4 as a design profesional for a very limited area of design.

    You will need certifications for the various materils and systems, BLazemaster, Uponor, Rehau. The training and certs are much like gastite, wardflex.

    You will need continuing education and recertification on the material systems.

  44. Mr. Phillip on 24

    A significant number of fires occur in the kitchen, and yes, water is the acceptable method to control the fire in a residential kitchen.

    What you are wrestling with is a grease fire in a pan. flooding the pan with water will cause the grease to flow out and spread igniting other combustibles.

    the sprinkler head will not be going off until there is a fire established, and the ceiling temperature reaches 135 to 155 °F, the normal temperatures. At that time, the grease, which is a fuel load should have been pretty well consumed, and the other stuff that is burning is begins a quenched by the water spray. The residential sprinkler system is designed to give you time to CLEAR OUT OF THE BUILDING, it may or may not extinguish the fire, but in about 90% of the cases, it will extinguish the fire. The time to clear out of the building is called life safety and it is intended to be about 10 minutes, which should be enough in most instances for the fire department to show up and the pros extinguish the fire. If you want more protection, in a higher level system, 13R or 13, instead of a 13D, with a higher application density is required.

    if you happen to have installed n upscale commerical kitchen grille, stove, oven applicances in your kitchen, which most model codes prohibit, then your kitchen is then considered a commercial design and a commercial extinguishing system is needed, that also shuts of the energy source, namely the gas or electic at the same time as the activation.

  45. We’re building a new house & we were required to install a fire suppression system. Our cost for design & installation was over $9,700 for a 2500 sq ft home.
    Since the garage is attached to the house we were required to install the system there as well. Since the garage is unheated, what would be the best method of providing enough heat in the garage to prevent the pipes from freezing? Would ceiling-mounted heaters controlled by a thermostat work? If so, what brands would be recommended?
    We’re located in Prescott, AZ


  46. We installed a system in our new house 5 years ago. Unfortunately for us our “Professional”
    contractor went out of business. So the other day one of our heads fell off the end of the pipe. Not enough glue on the pipe to hold the head on. Lots of water damage. Lot of water.
    So my question is this. At what pressure should the system be tested before filling with water again? I don’t trust any of the connections in the house anymore and I don’t have any recourse against the licensed contractor that went out of business. Any thoughts?

  47. It seems to me that many of the favorable comments regarding residential sprinkler systems are coming from those with vested interests in fire suppression systems, manufacturers, distributors and installers. Pardon me if something seems wrong to me. There are plenty of other causes I am likely to die from if, as I do, I have several smoke detectors throughout the home, and I don’t do stupid things like smoke. I don’t think the return on the investment is very good overall. Yes, I might think differently if a family member died in a fire. But life can not be made totally safe from all hazards. Let’s eliminate drunk drivers first. There’s a 5 to 6 times better chance of dieing in an alcohol related crash.

  48. I have a question for everyone. I you read the report you remember the pie chart. 79% o all fire occur in residential structures. hat is an impressively large figure. That could be worrisome. However, there is information that we do not have to go along with that statistic. That 79% figure is meaningless unless we know the breakdown as to the percentage of actual residential structures in the country. If fifty percent o the countries structures are considered residential then 79% fires would be o concern. However, if eighty percent of the countries structures are considered residential then the figure of 79% is right in the ball park. If that was true we could then say that residences are safer than commercial buildings as commercial buildings have sprinklers and still have relatively the same number of fires.

    Something to think about before getting all worried about that 79% number.

    Will this post stay posted?

  49. @Don, thank you for your comment. I believe you have misunderstood my purpose of including the 79% statistic in the Home Fire Safety report. The 79% refers to the percentage of structure fires in residential structures as compared to the total number of structure fires. The point is that of the total number of structure fires in the US in 2006, 79% of them where in residential occupancies. Based on the data available at the time of the report, this 79% represented 412,500 residential structure fires. It is easy to have a mindset of “a house fire won’t happen to me.” I believe this data showing that in a single year (2006), just in the United States there were 412,500 residential fires, is helpful to realize they happen more often than people think. If you would like to further the data analysis with a comparison that includes the total number of residential structures in the U.S. (actually square footage would probably be a better measurement since commercial facilities are typically much larger than residential) compared to commercial structures, then I would welcome your findings.

  50. The best way to avoid fire is not to create “FIRE”.

    *Always secure that children can’t reach any fire paraphernalias.

    **Avoid overloading of appliances.

    ***If accident exist, you should have smoke detector to give you the alarm.


  51. tom watkins system should be tested to 150 psi nfpa standards

    Dan Plumbers are not Sprinkler Fitters and not fire protection specialists therefore let them stick to plumbing. To everyone who reads the blog and are interested in installing a system please hire with a fire protection contractor its our craft

  52. I have been wrestling with the idea of mandating residential fire sprinklers for awhile now. I do notice that most of the people pushing this idea are clearly connected to the business or industry of installing them, ergo they have the most to gain from a mandate. As a professional full-time firefighter, having seen people who have died from smoke inhalation to direct fire exposure, I can say that it is a gruesome death (but no worse than many of the car wrecks I have seen). I cannot justify requiring these to be installed in new construction. Proper construction including firewalls, smoke detectors, and fire breaks can afford someone the same time to get out of the house in case of fire. Most deaths in a residential structure fire come from smoke inhalation. If the fire starts low, as in an electrical outlet, then to a Christmas tree, then up the blinds, the smoke will far surpass the fire in heat at the ceiling (yielding the heads not activating but the house is still full of black acrid smoke). The end result is that if a person is in the room with the fire, say asleep, the sprinklers will put the fire out when it gets hot enough, but the smoke might have already killed the individual. If saving lifes is the true reason behind this, shouldn’t we be mandating that all older houses, not built to current code, be required to retrofit their house with sprinklers? I can honestly say most new houses don’t burn, not like old houses with panelling, or plaster walls. Sure most fire is the contents burning, but the point of proper drywall and construction is to keep that from spreading long enough for the smoke detectors to alert the resident and have them get outside. By the way, most of the houses I have seen burn would burn even with sprinklers because there is simply not enough water to extinguish the fire loads in these houses. What is next, having an inspector make sure that you keep your house clean and safe and that you dont pile boxes, clothes, newspapers and garbage to the ceiling? I agree with a previous post; drunk driving is more dangerous. There are certainly other ways to really improve life safety without mandating that all new construction increase cost by 5% or more. By the way, I keep hearing this 2.50$ per foot price thrown around but I have NEVER seen a real estimate for installation that came out less than three times that. Where does that number come from? It seems to me from the data I have seen that is a low-ball impossible estimate used to bait municipalities into changing current code. I would be ashamed if that was the case.

  53. Matt:

    I guess you didn’t get an answer to your question. First, do NOT use PVC. You must use PEX to afford you the peace of mind that the sprinkler system supposed to protect you is actually not one of your worst potential threats. Also, you WILL need to to charge the system with Glycol as an antifreeze.

    Last, I’m not sure you will need to worry about installing heat in the garage – which would REALLY be a bummer – if you use the PEX and the antifreeze.

    All the best.


  54. Count me out … I love sprinklers and am involved in the industry, but having the government mandate them is the lazy way for this industry to convince the public. And let’s just admit it, that depending how many county and state building boards our side can bribe to mandate, or the NAHB can bribe on their side is what is driving this market for the time being.

    I have no doubt that our product and service proposition is good – I don’t need or want the government forcing the public to buy my product.

  55. Been emailing NFPA about residential dry pipe sprinkler systems. 13D and 13R both have language that imply dry pipe residential sprinkler systems are allowed. However, if quick response residential sprinklers are required, and to my knowledge no such animal exists, what type of sprinkler is approved for residential dry pipe sprinkler systems.

    P.S. – I’m aware that antifreeze is an option. This query is specific to dry pipe residential systems desireous in extremely cold climates where the residential unit is used year round.


  56. Man it seems to me that alot of this is being blown way out of proportion I mean anything is better than nothing and as for presure your only going to get about 60 to 65 psi which is a good operating presure for a plumbing system and anyhow do you realy beleave all the heads will be going off at the same time get real sprinkler guys and yes i hold a master plumbing license it dont take a rocket scientist to do this stuff just some common sence so why discourage one another ther is plenty of oppertunity for every one dont be greedy save lives

  57. we need sprinklers in every bulding and home bottom line sprinklers SAVE lives. also please by all means use a highly trained profesional

  58. I’m a licensed sprinkler fitter. I just had a house built and the fire sprinkler system was installed by the plumbers. They did a very mediocre job. The drops were not plumb. You could tell the heads had been pulled in with channel locks. They installed one of the sprinkler heads 1″ from the wall INSIDE of my bathroom linen closet and this head is supposed to cover the entire bathroom. They installed heads too close to ceiling fans. And they insulated it with regular pipe insulation instead of plastic tenting. I have been out on too many calls where even sprinkler fitters have installed foam pipe insulation on sprinkler pipe to have it freeze up and burst over extended cold periods. And to me, true seansoned professional installers do not make these types of mistakes whether they are plumbers or pipefitters.

    I have several concerns about plumbers installing sprinkler systems AT THIS POINT haven seen their way of sprinkler fitting first hand. Plumbers have a tendency, based on my experience with them on jobsites, to run their stuff wherever it is most convenient for them, in any manner they please. As sprinkler fitters we can’t do that. We have to install systems the way they were designed. We have to install them straight and plumb. We cannot install them in a way that is going to dramatically change or interfere with the hydro calcs for the building or other design criteria. We have to look at what’s going on on the ceiling, compartments, obstructions, dropped ceilings, fur downs, soffets, ceiling fans, vents, lights, vaulted ceilings. There’s just a number of things, as an installer, that you have to look at and be aware of when installing sprinkler systems… things that plumbers would not be accustomed to or take into consideration. And any of these things could have a huge impact upon the operation and life safety features of that system.

    Plumbers may do their job well enough but they can’t do a sprinkler fitters job well enough. Not at this point, especially being that this is a life safety issue and not just a building trade, “lets throw some pipe in the air” issue.

    They could learn these things over time and even be good at it, but as of right now, plumbers are jumping in and are ready to jump in feet first and in my opinion it is a disaster waiting to happen. Lives will be put in danger, these systems are going to start failing and insurance rates and payouts will skyrocket because of it. Then you’ll see everyone pointing fingers and it will be the plumbers who, unfortunately, take the fall.

    I’m not hating on the plumbmers. In fact I came into sprinkler fitting from a plumbing background. I’m just stressing my own concerns and pointiong out something that is obvious to me. Sprinkler fitting and plumbing are not the same and in reality not even close.

    I would just like to advise you plumbers if you install fire sprinkler systems: Take pride in your work and show some professionalism. And first and foremost, KNOW that this is a life safety feature and it most be installed 100% correctly.

    I like this site by the way.

  59. Can anyone recommend a Co. that installs a fire protection system in the Spokane Washington area ? I have called a few from the phone book, with the feeling, my wallet is being emptied. I have a 5 year old house that I SHOULD of had a system put in during the building time, not now.But better now than later. Also, is one brand better than another?

  60. What we don’t need are more government mandates. We don’t have enough money to address every problem and chance of dying in a fire is extremely low. Especially if you have a smoke detector.

    Did you know that you are 37 time more likely to die in a fall or from poison? You are three times more likely to die crossing a street. I have nothing against fire spriniklers but I do object to government mandates. The lack of cost benefit analysis is why we have trillion dollar federal deficits.

    If you would like to see a comprehensive report on the real cost of fire sprinklers, e-mail me at rhrvah [at] I’d be happy to send it to you and debate the idoicy of imposed mandates.

  61. I live in a condominium development (2 storey building, 8 units in each) with wet sprinkler systems. Yet another insurance company has *dropped* our association coverage due to the constant malfunction of these things. In my building alone, one of the pipes separated at the joint and caused thounsands of dollars of damage to two of the units, dispacing the owners for several months – you know how insuance can be) and causing minor damage a few of the other units as well. Sprinkler heads have gone off by themselves (my unit included) and caused damage in a number of units. I was lucky enough to be home at the time to get someone to shut the thing off rather than having it run all day while I was at work. Since this is a condminium the sprinkler system is the association resposibility and we do not have access to the shut of valve. Pipes have been stepped on by cable installers in the attic areas of several buildings causing attic damage, 2nd floor damage, 1st floor damage and then going through to the lower unit and damaging that, too. I have lived here 16 years and there has not been a single fire. I hope to relocate in the very near future and you can be sure that I will *not* be buying a place with any kind of sprinkler system.

  62. I was told by an experienced firefighter and chief that when you are asleep you cannot smell the smoke. Is this true? If it is it’s just another reason to have a sprinkler system in your home,garage etc. Would appreciate your reply, Thanks , Hank

  63. Sprinkler systems and fire/smoke alarms definitely make your home a lot safer. Installing a security camera system will add another level of safety and peace of mind to your home.

  64. Can you please tell me where I can find the information on becoming certified to do installations in PA

  65. Our residential fire system is old enough that it uses galvanized steel pipes and a Gem 2″ Model F540 domestic shutoff valve to protect the house’s potable PVC water system. Unfortunately, the valve failed and had to be removed, disabling my fire system. I’m now told Gem no longer makes the valve and I’m frustrated trying to find a NOS one somewhere. Is there a source for this valve somewhere I haven’t found, or is there another brand or type of valve that I can use to reconstruct my fire protection system?

  66. There has never been a single death caused directly by a fire within a building protected by fire sprinklers in the UK…EVER! If that is not proof that these systems save lives then I don’t know what is. They are worth every dime!

  67. Fire Safety is why our wickless candles were invented. No fire, no soot, no wick. We use an warmer heated by a small light bulb which warms scented wax. All the fragrance without the chance of fire.

  68. I have neen in the Fire Protection field since 1997, and am interested in starting my own Residential Sprinkler Company in Maryland but am curious to what I need to do this and where can I find the information I seek.

  69. I have been a building department administrator in Long Island for over 9 years. I have witnessed many residential house fires and fortunately I have never witnessed a death. But I can tell you that in most cases the fires that I have seen destroyed the houses. I can also tell you that it took, in each case numerous firefighting personnel and multiple alarms and excessive amounts of water to control the fires. If these houses had sprinklers installed the fires would have been immediately extinguished and millions of dollars saved.

    In New York the residential code does require smoke and Carbon monoxide alarms. I believe the New York Code council is very aware of the consequences of house fires but unfortunately has not been able to pass a sprinkler code. When the council does adopt a residential sprinkler code numerous lives and multiple resources will be saved.

  70. how do i get qualified to be an installer or what is neeted to be qualified installer in california

  71. A house fire is one of the worst things that can happen to a homeowner. Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize the damage caused by a fire including installation of fire sprinklers or installation of a home security system with fire alarm capabilities.

  72. as far as a new home builder in Pa.,the law sucks the bag! For me a pipefitter from 1976 and a young pup in mind,I hope the Pa. law sticks.My ass will be back—-!

  73. Interested in the new,gravy-work,to me.ya know,when I started and to the day,it is and the most “bull-work” of all pipework,but to me,gravy of all mental pipe. Maybe this sounds a little crazy,but the modular home deal,after delivery,then SET and done and ready for the homeowner to finish. turn,key,done Sprinkler system,done. That is what this Kline is interested in !

  74. Installation requirements vary by area. Some cities require a contractor license, others require a special fire sprinkler license from the fire department, and some areas require both. Licensing requirements will typically also include a requirement to have business insurance as well.

    Fire Smarts is currently developing the 40 hour training program for the ASSE 7000 certification for residential fire sprinkler installers. This training program will be released this spring of 2011 and training dates will be scheduled as that time approaches. This is a nationally recognized ANSI approved standard that is ideal for people wanting to enter the residential fire sprinkler

    I hope this helps gets you going in the right direction. You can sign-up for the Fire Smarts notification list of upcoming training events. Just visit their website at and you’ll see a place to enter your name and email address on the right side of the page.

  75. pls send sprinklar system ditels and pendent bulbe coler and temp

  76. What type of certification if any is required to clean NOT replace commercial sprinkler heads in hotels, stores, hospitals, etc in Texas? What tools are available for this type of service? Also, I am interested in starting a business providing this type of service.

  77. I’m a Steamfitter in NYC but I live in Pa. Just recently a law has been passed that requires New construction and residental buildings to be fully sprinkled. My question is what requirements do I need to have to be able to install a system . My husband and I would like to start a business in Pa. but we are having a hard time getting information on the requirements the State will need.Any information you can give me will be appreciated.

  78. Will open Assisted Living Home and looking for sprinkler home system that will meet Texas Department of Disability and Aging specifications. Csn you help.

  79. The installation of fire sprinkler system in retrofitting houses prevents the loss caused by the fire outbreak. Even though the fire sprinkler installation arises financial crisis to houseowners, it protects from lifeloss and property damage. The Orange County Fire Authority is taking firm action to make people aware of Fire alarm and installation of fire sprinkler.

  80. can i use pex for my commercial sprinkler system in new hampshire

  81. Since most home fires start in the kitchen, is it advisable to install sprinkler systems just in the kitchen (and perhaps other fire likelihood areas of the house) to keep the installation costs down?
    I plan on building a new home in the Union County, NC. Does the Union County building code cover residential sprinkler systems?

  82. I just had my new home sprinkled and it cost me EXACTLY $0.87 Per Square Foot. I think that is extremely affordable.

  83. i’m a a recently red seal certified journey man in the city of calgary interested in starting his own company.

    does rsidential housing need to be approved by an engineer or can anyone design the system in alberta…im wondering if anyone is familiar with the AHJ here?

  84. Hello all!! I just have a quick question… I am a full time firefighter (24/48) in Arlington, Texas. I was wondering if it would be possible to start up and successfully run a fire sprinkler contractor business. I have some informal “training” secondary to field experience only with commercial systems as my district is primarily industrial. I do not have a formal education in that field. I am eager to learn more about it and it is my desire to start a part time business in this field and ultimately full time upon retirement. I am very eager to do so but do not know where to start! What “formal” education do I need? A Bachellors in Fire Protection Engineering? Where can I get the education? Any help would be tremendously appreciated! Thank you very much!

  85. I am interested in retrofitting my single-family house with sprinklers. It’s a one-story “ranch” house with a crawlspace tall enough to stand up in, with easy access to the incoming 3/4″ water main, and the attic is big enough to easily maneuver around. A pressure gauge connected to a hose bib gives me 60 psi. The house is built into a hill, and the lowest 13 feet of the crawlspace are a outside-door-only, concrete-block, unheated basement.

    Would the following work?

    – Tap the 3/4″ main right where it enters the house and install a riser/backflow/test/drain/flow switch. Connect the flow switch to a bell in front of the house or to a fire zone on the burglar alarm panel.

    – Install a PEX ‘T’.

    – Run 1″ PEX from the ‘T’ into the basement, which would need two heads just mounted to the ceiling. Run another 1″ PEX up into the attic via a closet, where there would be another ‘T’ in the attic.

    – Screw 2*4s on top of attic joists similar to hanging a ceiling fan, with a PEX flat elbow screwed to the underside, facing down Sandwich another 2*4 or 1*4 to the underside of this if the head mount needs to be closer to the ceiling. Use a hole saw to cut corresponding holes in ceiling, and thread in concealed sprinkler heads from the house.

    – From the above-mentioned ‘T’, make a loop of all the sprinkler heads.

    A quick mental calculation shows this would cost less than the carpeting, or even less than the fridge.

    I thought this up since a multipurpose system is out of the question since the drywall’s already in place, and CPVC would be a pain due to freeze risk as well as dealing with 10′ sections of rigid pipe that might not even fit through the attic hatch!


  86. I understand how impotant it is to save lives, but what about those who have no means of purchasing a sprinkler system for their homes?

  87. I want to be trained in residenal sprinkler system design and installation. Does anyone know of a VA approved program?

  88. A few great items here and seriously didn’t have a clue regarding any of this in the past so thank you for the awareness

  89. I just recently bought a house with sprinkler system,house was built in 1991, emaculant condition, how often does system need inspection. ?

  90. I first posted on this site in 2009.
    I want to mention a related topic on fire safety.
    In western Canada there are thousands of bungalow houses built with full basements. These basements all have thin windows which are difficult or impossible to pass through. Often there are bars installed outside preventing an intruder.
    Some years ago a fire began in such a basement and four young souls died trying to escape.The bars outside were bolted.

    I remember calling the Calgary fire dept suggesting something needed to be done. I got the brush off from whomever I spoke to saying” I cannot help”

    I was so happy recently to visit my granddaughter to find that her mother had replaced the four deathtrap windows with large window wells that not only are a life saver but also provide a huge amount of daylight.

    Anyone interested call me 778 279 3719

  91. This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.

    Appreciate it!

  92. Hello, Sir,
    Re: Bolton Park Campus
    I’m a developer building a new 228 Multi-Family Residential Student Project and I’m seeking proposals for the Fire Sprinklers System. There are 9 buildings. If interested, you can email me and I’ll forward the Construction Plans.

  93. I agree with you, fire is very dangerous for both property and family. So there is a need to install fire Safety equipments at every site where people live. Like I have taken fire watch security service for my Construction site. It is useful way to secure both employees and property from any harm.

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Ryan J. Smith