Fire Sprinkler Systems How Do They Work?

Fire sprinkler systems have gone through many changes since the first one appeared in 1812 in London. Learn about how modern fire sprinkler systems work in this fire sprinkler training video.

Sprinkler systems work by activating individual sprinkler heads instead of setting off the entire system at once. This helps reduce water damage.


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A sprinkler head is a valve connected to a water supply. The valve releases water when heat from a fire expands liquid in a bulb. Heat naturally rises, so sprinkler systems installed on the ceiling can effectively contain fires on the floor. When the bulb in a sprinkler head shatters because of the heat, water is released to douse the fire. Modern sprinkler systems also automatically call local fire departments.

Many types of sprinkler heads trigger the release of water at different temperatures. This helps to put out different kinds of fires. Sprinkler heads can also differ in how strong a stream of water comes out or where the water is directed.

One kind of sprinkler head is the quick response sprinkler head. It releases water at a temperature lower than other kinds of sprinkler heads. This is the kind used in nursing homes and hospitals, where people have mobility issues. Quick response sprinkler heads minimize the chances of dying from smoke inhalation.

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