Fire Safety : how does it works ?

January 2018

protection incendie sprinkleur

It is now commonplace to use sprinklers, a fixed water-based automatic fire-extinguishing system, as a means of fire protection. Sprinklers are now widely viewed as the must-have standard for protecting people and property from fire.

Sometimes mandated by insurers, this method is still the most effective: according to the INRS (French National Research and Safety Institute), in Europe, sprinklers' overall rate of success for extinguishing fires is 98%. Having a sprinkler system also results in substantial discounts on your insurance premium.

But how do sprinkler systems work ?

 Parts of a sprinkler system:

  • A water source

The water source comprises one or several pump(s) fed by one or several water reserve(s).

  • The installed elements

The installed elements are: one or several control units (which make it possible to cut off the protected area), water lines, and sprinkler heads. The installation's dimensions must be appropriate based on the protected area's risks (storage, activities, etc.), and must include a suitable source of water.

Démonstration sprinkleur - CNPP

How sprinklers put out fires:

The network of pipes, permanently pressurized by water (or sometimes air if there is a risk of freezing), is equipped with sprinkler heads. The sudden spike in temperature caused by a fire causes the bulbs (or fuses) that block the sprinklers to break, allowing a predefined amount of water to flow out. This quantity of water is directly related to the area's calorific potential (quantity of heat produced by combustion of items in area). When the sprinklers discharge, the drop in pressure is detected in the pipes, which causes the pump(s) to turn on. A visual and audible alarm is triggered as soon as the first sprinkler opens. Once the system has been triggered, water is discharged continuously, only above the fire, until emergency services arrive.

Did you know?

  • The pumps and the sprinkler tank are often the main costs involved in installing a sprinkler system.
  • 85% of fires can be extinguished quickly when just 5 sprinklers are opened [1]
  • In most cases, 30 sprinklers are enough to contain a fire [2]
  • 70% of companies without sprinkler systems go out of business in the months following a fire [3]

For more information on fire safety at ENGIE Axima, visit our dedicated web pages .

[1]Source: GIS, Groupement français des installateurs de sprinkleurs (French Sprinkler Installer Group)

[2]Source: CNPP, Centre National de Prévention et de Protection (National Centre for Prevention and Protection)

[3]Source: INRS, Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (National Research and Safety Institute)

[4]Source: CNPP , Centre National de Prévention et de Protection