HFSCA has listed relevant Australian, New Zealand and international research regarding residential fire sprinklers for your ease of access.
Australian Research and Papers
This report follows on from a 2005 report looking into preventable residential fire fatalities with a focus on identifying those most at-risk.
“The focus of this fire research program was to undertake testing to support a Proposal for Change (PFC) to mandate fire sprinkler systems in the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) for new Class 2 and Class 3 shared residential accommodation buildings up to 25 metres in effective height. The evidence gathered aims to deliver the life safety objectives of the NCC through the mandatory installation of fire sprinkler systems in a more reliable and cost-effective manner.”
Review of health and aesthetic water quality risks associated with the introduction of combination domestic fire sprinkler systems that directly connect to potable water plumbing systems in residential buildings of less than 25 m metres in height.
“This project was carried out to investigate and put forward a concept for a home fire sprinkler system design that would be more affordable for Australian homeowners than the current AS 2118.5 standard complying sprinkler designs. The vast majority of building fire deaths in Australia (and throughout the world) occur in the home. Fire sprinklers are extremely effective in suppressing or controlling fires and in doing so, will often prevent life-threatening conditions from developing in a home. This means lower numbers of fatalities, injuries and reduced property damage due to fire.”
New Zealand Research and Papers
“This report describes research to establish whether the water quality in a Combination Domestic Fire Sprinkler System would have implications for the health of occupants, and if the combination domestic sprinkler could be used in properties other than houses.”
“This paper outlines a low-cost, multi-purpose sprinkler system that fulfils these objectives in a more cost-effective manner than the systems presently available. The proposed sprinkler system varies from the requirements of the current New Zealand Standard, NZS 4515:1995 Fire Sprinkler Systems for Residential Occupancies (including Private Dwellings) in that it is not a stand-alone system, rather it is integrated with the domestic plumbing.”
International Research and Papers
From 2015 to 2019, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,000 structure fires per year (10 percent) in which sprinklers were present. These fires caused an average of 36 civilian deaths (1 percent) and $1 billion in direct property damage (9 percent) annually.
Sprinklers reduce the impact of fires. Compared to reported fires in properties with no automatic extinguishing systems (AES), when sprinklers were present, the civilian fire death and injury rates per fire were 89 percent and 27 percent lower, respectively. The rate of firefighter injuries per fire was 60 percent lower
Automatic residential fire sprinkler systems, designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes have been shown to save lives and property. It is estimated that less than 11% of all single family homes have a residential fire sprinkler system. Currently only two states, California and Maryland, require residential fire sprinklers to be installed in all new residential occupancies. While NFPA 13D compliant systems can be retrofit into a home, it is an uncommon occurrence in large part due to the expense and effort required. One of the challenges for a retrofit is the cost and space requirements of a water supply if the existing domestic water supply cannot provide enough pressure and flow to support the sprinkler system. Recognizing the need, the U.S. Fire Administration provided support for this study.
“As residential fire sprinkler adoption is debated in many states, there is a noteworthy amount of misrepresentation about the economic impact of home fire sprinklers. Among the claims by critics of home fire sprinklers is that requiring sprinklers may impact home affordability, housing starts, consumer choice, and owner rights. More facts are needed on the issue of economic impact of home fire sprinklers. In 2011, California issued a statewide requirement for fire sprinkler installation in new 1- and 2-family homes. “
Exploring the Impact of Sprinklers for Life Safety and Fire Spread (2005-2015)
The purpose of this study is to examine fire-related casualties, fire outcomes, and casualty behavior for fires that occurred in residential properties, and to compare fires that occurred in buildings completely protected by sprinkler systems, with those fires that occurred in buildings without any sprinkler protection. This paper demonstrates that sprinklers significantly reduce fire-related casualties, minimize fire spread, reduce burden on fire departments when intervening, and also demonstrate benefits for the behaviors of building residents’ in the event of a fire.
“-Sprinklers were present in only 10% of reported structure fires in 2010-2014.
-Most structure fires and fire deaths occurred in homes, but sprinklers were found in only 7% of all home fires. Sprinklers were most likely to be found in institutional occupancies such as nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons or jails.
-The civilian death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 81% lower in homes with sprinklers than in homes with no AES.
-In three of every five incidents in which sprinklers failed to operate, the system had been shut off. “
“As residential fire sprinkler adoption is debated in many states, there is a lot of misinformation about the experience and perception of home fire sprinklers. The purpose of this study was to gather information related to residential fire sprinkler adoption in two states, California and Maryland. It includes an analysis of the overall experience and perceived value of home fire sprinklers by homeowners, local government officials, and water purveyors.”
The treatment of burn injuries requires high-cost services for healthcare and society. Automatic fire sprinklers are a preventive measure that can decrease fire injuries, deaths, property damage, and environmental toxins. This study’s aim was to conduct a cost analysis of patients with burn or inhalation injuries caused by residential fires and to compare this with the cost of implementing residential automatic fire sprinklers.
“This report updates the report, Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment (Fire Protection Research Foundation 2008). The primary purpose of this study is to review current home fire sprinkler system costs against the 2008 benchmark study to gain a better understanding of how increasingly widespread adoption of sprinkler ordinances impacts system cost. Using a larger sample size, the current study attempts to gain a better understanding of the impact of sprinkler ordinances on home fire sprinkler system cost and other factors that affect system cost. The current study examines 51 homes in 17 communities; the 2008 study examined 30 homes in 10 communities. In the 2013 update, the average cost per sprinklered square foot was US$1.35. In the 2008 report, the average cost per sprinklered square foot was US$1.61.”
Exploring the Impact of Sprinklers for Life Safety and Fire Spread
The purpose of this study was to examine fire-related casualties, fire outcomes, and casualty behaviour for fires that occurred in residential properties, and to compare fires that occurred in buildings completely protected by sprinkler systems with those fires that occurred in buildings without any sprinkler protection
The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is committed to reducing the impact of fire on people, property, the environment and the economy. The wider installation and use of automatic fire suppression systems (sprinklers) is seen as a preventative measure so that people can evacuate the building in the event of a fire occurring. It will also reduce the risk to firefighters who are called to deal with fires.
“There has been a steady change in the residential fire environment over the past several decades. These changes include larger homes, different home geometries, increased synthetic fuel loads, and changing construction materials.”
“This report looks at home fire sprinkler installation in six municipalities in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. These municipalities were selected because sprinkler installation was required in those jurisdictions at varying times over several decades. That widespread use provided our researchers with a unique picture of home fire sprinkler installation and the opportunity to compare that experience with homes in the same municipalities that do not have sprinklers installed.”
Methodology and results contained in this report show that in all occupancies, from residential dwellings, to office buildings, to high hazard facilities, the lack of proper risk management and effective fire protection, e.g., automatic fire sprinklers, statistically increases carbon emissions over the lifecycle of the occupancy.
“In 1992, Prince George’s County in Maryland enacted an ordinance mandating the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems in new one and two-family structures. Through a partnership with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Prince George’s County Fire Department, and the University of Maryland University College, a study was conducted to review Prince George’s County’s experience with this ordinance over the 15-year period of 1992-2007”
Methodology and results contained in this report illustrate that life-cycle emissions associated with fire and natural hazards can be reduced to minimal levels through the use of automatic fire sprinkler systems and cost-effective, robust design and construction practices.
“In July of 1985, when Scottsdale passed Ordinance #1709, there were still numerous questions related to the effectiveness and wisdom of using built-in protection to replace some of the traditional resources commonly used by the fire service. It was well established that automatic sprinkler protection could have a positive impact on large risk facilities. Why couldn’t this type of equipment be used in the structures that are the most dangerous to our citizens: their homes?”