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U.S. Experience with Sprinklers

Report: NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: October 2021

*Errata issued December 30, 2021. Download the errata. (PDF)

Report highlights

  • 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.
  • Most structure fires and fire deaths occurred in homes, but sprinklers were found in only 7% of all home fires.  
  • The civilian death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 89% lower in homes with sprinklers than in homes with no AES.
  • From 2015 to 2019, sprinklers operated in 92 percent of fires large enough to activate sprinklers and were effective at controlling the fire in 96 percent of the incidents in which they operated.
  • The most common reason that sprinklers failed to operate was the system being shut off at some point before the fire.
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