Home fires are reported every 90 seconds in the United States, and according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), eight out of 10 fire fatalities occur in homes, not commercial buildings. Many believe this is skewed so heavily toward homes because commercial buildings are required by code to have fire sprinkler systems, but single-family homes are not.

Here are the disturbing facts about home fires without a fire sprinkler system, according to the NFPA.

  • A house will burn for 15 to 20 minutes before firefighters arrive, but in many cases, a home will be engulfed in flames in just five minutes. Children, elderly, persons with disabilities and pets are especially vulnerable under such circumstances.
  • While smoke alarms can alert homeowners to the presence of smoke so they can exit quickly, they do nothing to actually put out a fire.
  • The fire death rate of rural communities is double the rate of other locations.

How a fire sprinkler system works to save lives.

  • A single sprinkler can control, and in many cases extinguish, a fire in seconds.
  • Fire sprinklers may even completely put out a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
  • Fire sprinklers respond to intense heat — not smoke — so the odds of a fire sprinkler going off because of smoke from a charred pizza are just one in 16 million.

Interested in learning how an Uponor PEX tubing fire sprinkler system operates? Watch the video below.

How a fire sprinkler system works to save property, too.

We cannot state enough, the main purpose of a fire sprinkler system is to save lives. However, more recent studies and reports show there are other benefits as well.

  • Property loss is cut by about 70 percent compared to fires where sprinklers are not present, according to NFPA.
  • The average loss from fire in a sprinklered home is around $2,000, but homes without fire sprinklers suffered around $45,000 in post-fire damages, according to a Scottsdale study.
  • An Uponor AquaSAFE™ fire sprinkler system sprays just five to 10 gallons a minute, which is 95 percent less water used than a firefighter’s hose.
  • Fire sprinklers only activate in the vicinity of a fire, so there is no water damage in areas of the home where it is not necessary.

Whether homeowners have a fire safety system or not, everyone needs an escape plan. Use NFPA’s free safety tip sheet (offered in multiple languages) to get started.

Watch the Green Builder recorded webinar video below to learn how fire sprinklers are also a sustainable option for environmentally-conscious homeowners.