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Sprinklers Shown Effective In Slowing Dorm Fires

Date:
February 20, 2005
Source:
National Institute Of Standards And Technology
Summary:
An automatic sprinkler system significantly increases a person’s chances of surviving a dormitory fire, according to a report issued recently by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Photo of a NIST experiment in a dorm day room without sprinklers 3 minutes and 47 seconds after a fire was ignited.
Credit: Photo courtesy of National Institute Of Standards And Technology

A n automatic sprinkler system significantly increases a person’s chances of surviving a dormitory fire, according to a report issued recently by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Three NIST experiments,* supported by a U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) initiative for fire safety in college housing, 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 cutoff mark for human survival. For comparison, the temperature of boiling water is 100 degrees C.

In two experiments without sprinklers, potentially fatal temperatures exceeding 120 degrees C as well as toxic gases reached a remote corridor 22.9 meters (75 feet) away within three minutes and completely spread throughout the corridor within another three minutes. In an experiment with sprinklers, temperatures at the 1.5 meter (five 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, S.C. The USFA incorporated footage of NIST sprinkler tests into a fire safety video for college administrators and students.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute Of Standards And Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute Of Standards And Technology. "Sprinklers Shown Effective In Slowing Dorm Fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213133101.htm>.
National Institute Of Standards And Technology. (2005, February 20). Sprinklers Shown Effective In Slowing Dorm Fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213133101.htm
National Institute Of Standards And Technology. "Sprinklers Shown Effective In Slowing Dorm Fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213133101.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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