There were approximately 6,240 structure fires in healthcare facilities each year in 2006-2010. Approximately 46% of these fires are in nursing homes, 23% are in hospitals and 21% are in mental health facilities. Sprinklers were present in 55% of reported healthcare fires. The direct property damage per fire was 61% lower in facilities with wet pipe sprinklers than in facilities with no automatic extinguishing equipment.*
Sprinkler systems are an important part of your facility’s life safety system. While fire alarms usually provide the first alert when there is a fire, sprinklers could often be the first line of defense in protecting your facility’s patients or residents from fire – especially those who cannot self-evacuate or have difficultly quickly evacuating the facility.
There is another good reason to make sure your sprinkler system is functioning properly – minimizing the financial loss due to fire. According to the NFPA, when sprinkler systems were operating during a fire, they were effective in controlling the fire 98% of the time.*
Compelling, right? Now consider the average loss per fire without automatic extinguishing equipment is $13,000. However, when wet pipe sprinklers were present, the loss per fire dropped to $5,000. That is a 61% reduction in damage cost just by having wet pipe sprinklers in place.*
Ensuring your sprinkler system is functioning properly should be a top priority. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) require testing on sprinkler systems in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, behavioral health and senior living communities on a regular basis. Tracking these periodic tests via a CMMS can provide proof life safety systems were tested along with the documentation regulatory agencies might request during an inspection.
Having a sprinkler system installed in your facility should help reduce damage and injury from fires, but only if the system is properly maintained.
“Fires in Healthcare Facilities” by Marty Ahrens, NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Division, November 2012
“U.S. Experience with Sprinklers”, by John R. Hall, Jr., NFPA, 2012