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8/11/2014 - Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Lives and Homes

Experts say there's no excuse for not installing or using a fire sprinkler system

Thanks to working smoke detectors, millions of lives have been saved when fires break out in homes. However, due to their damaging nature, fires can destroy homes in a matter of minutes.

One of the ways homeowners have been able to control their losses is through fire sprinkler systems. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), even with just one sprinkler, as much as 90% of a fire that occurs in the home can be contained.

Yet despite the safety benefits and their ability to protect individuals' investment in their home, many people aren't entirely convinced that a fire sprinkler system is worth it.

To help separate fact from fiction, IBHS recently outlined some of the most frequent misperceptions about home fire sprinkler systems.

Perhaps the most common belief about sprinklers is that if one is activated, the rest are as well, potentially creating flood conditions in a portion of the home that was not impacted by a fire. In reality, sprinkler heads go off individually, as the heat that stems from a fire affects the heads in isolation from the other. According to the Home Sprinkler Coalition, temperatures must reach between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit for water to flow from one.

Myth: Sprinklers are too easily triggered
Another misinterpretation about fire sprinkler systems is that they're highly sensitive. In other words, forms of heat that are unrelated to a blaze can cause sprinklers to switch on, creating water-related damage. IBHS noted that this, too, is not true. Records indicate that the likelihood of sprinklers activating without warning is minimal, as there are few documented cases in which this has occurred. Additionally, fire sprinklers are manufactured to ensure that these types of incidents don't take place.

Homeowners often have a tight budget. As such, many consumers believe that a fire sprinkler system, no matter how protective it may be, is cost prohibitive. According to data from IBHS, the average price for a residential sprinkler system averages less than $1.50 per square foot of construction space.

Families who decide to install a fire sprinkler system may also be able to take advantage of discounts on homeowners insurance. These fire protection devices have the potential to lower insurance rates by between 5% and 15%, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

For more information on how a fire sprinkler system can affect your policy, contact a local Selective agent.

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