Studies Prove Sprinklers Save Lives in Dorms

Feb. 16, 2005
NIST proves sprinklers increase chances of survival in college housing
According to a recent report issued from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), automatic sprinkler systems can significantly increase the chances of survival for individuals during a dormitory fire.Three experiments were conducted by NIST and supported by a U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) initiative for fire safety in college housing. The studies compared the hazards of fires in smoke detector-equipped dormitories with and without fire sprinklers in the room of fire origin. Researchers started fires in a day room or lounge area open to the corridor of a dormitory. They used the temperature of 120 degrees C. (248 degrees F.) as the cut-off mark for human survival. For comparison, the temperature of boiling water is 100 degrees C.Potentially fatal temperatures exceeding 120 degrees C. (as well as toxic gases) reached a remote corridor 75 feet away within 3 minutes, and in another 3 minutes spread throughout the corridor, in two of the experiments without sprinklers. Conversely, in an experiment with sprinklers, temperatures at the 5-feet level and below in the room where the fire began never exceeded 120 degrees C. No significant increase in heat was measured in the corridor during the experiment, allowing adequate time for residents to escape.NIST conducted the experiments at a barracks donated by the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority in Myrtle Beach, SC. The USFA incorporated footage of NIST sprinkler tests into a fire safety video for college administrators and students.This information was provided by NIST. The NIST reportImpact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Day Room Fire Experiments(NISTIR 7120) by D. Madrzykowski, D. Stroup, and W.D. Walton is available, with video showing the experiments in progress in DVD format. Send requests to ([email protected]).

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...