Thanks to Hollywood most people believe that you could activate every sprinkler in an office building by pulling a fire alarm switch, shooting one sprinkler head or holding a cigarette lighter up to one sprinkler head. Fortunately, that is not how automatic fire sprinklers work. While it is possible to activate ONE sprinkler head with a cigarette lighter, the sparks from a swordfight will not turn the parking garage at Madison Square Garden into a flood zone!
Let’s take a quick look at exactly how a automatic fire sprinkler is activated…
This is a sprinkler in it’s normal state. Unless a heat source is applied to the glass element (the red bulb in the center), the sprinkler will remain like this for years. The glass element is filled with fluid. The size of the glass element and the type of fluid are dependent upon the temperature that a particular sprinkler is expected to operate. This is just one of the many elements regulated by code that Amber Fire Protection, Inc. will design into your Fire Sprinkler System
This sprinkler has been exposed to enough heat to cause the fluid to expand and shatter the glass element. If you look closely, you can see the brass plug starting to drop now that the glass element is no longer in place. The purpose of the glass element is to hold the brass plug in place. When heat causes the glass element to break, the water pressure will force the brass plug out.
Here you can begin to see the brass plug being forced out by the water pressure in the Fire Sprinkler System. As the brass plug falls away this sprinkler will reach full flow and begin distributing water across a specific amount of floor area. This is another element of your Fire Sprinkler System that Amber Fire Protection, Inc. will make sure meets or exceeds code requirements.
This sprinkler is at the beginning of full flow. Water will now flow from this sprinkler head until the water source is depleted or disconnected by the local Fire Department. The purpose of the code requirements for the amount of water, the area over which it is distributed and the temperature at which the sprinkler is activated is to insure that any fire of sufficient strength to activate a sprinkler head will be contained within the area covered by that sprinkler head.
The only way an automatic fire sprinkler can activate is when the glass element is broken, and only the sprinkler head that is activated in this manner will operate. A well designed system can be in service for decades without having an activation. At Amber Fire Protection, Inc. we hope that your system will never activate either, but rest assured that if it does it will work as it is designed to work.
Learn more about the benefits of an Automatic Fire Sprinkler System.
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