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Research & Reports

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative provides the latest research, reports and statistics to equip advocates with the facts to support the requirement for home fire sprinklers.

Note: the following reports are from NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation. See reports from other organizations.

The cost of home fire sprinklers
Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment
Fire Protection Research Foundation, September 2013
This updated report offers a national perspective on the cost of installing residential fire sprinklers. According to the report, the average cost per sprinklered square foot is $1.35. That is down from $1.61 per sprinklered square foot from the Foundation's 2008 report.

Fire Loss in the United States
September 2013
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,375,000 fires in 2012. These fires resulted in 2,855 civilian fire fatalities, 16,500 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $12,427,000,000 in direct property loss. There was a civilian fire death every 3 hours and 4 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 32 minutes in 2012. Home fires caused 2,380, or 83%, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for four percent of the 31,854,000 total calls. Seven percent of the calls were false alarms; sixty-eight percent of the calls were for aid such as EMS.

US Experience with Sprinklers
June 2013
Includes statistics on how often sprinklers are reported in fires, by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire. Includes statistics on performance, usage and reliability of sprinklers, as well as leading reasons when system fail to operate or operate but are ineffective. Also includes special study statistics on non-fire sprinkler activations

An Analysis of Volunteer Firefighter Injuries, 2010-2012
January 2014
An analysis of volunteer firefighter injuries comparing their experience to all firefighter injuries.

Home Structure Fires
April 2013
NFPA estimates that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home structure fires per year during the five-year-period of 2007-2011.  These fires caused an estimated average of 2,570 civilian deaths, 13,210 civilian injuries, and $7.2 billion in direct property damage per year.  Almost three-quarters (71%) of the reported home structure fires and 84% of the home fire deaths occurred in one- or two-family homes, including manufactured homes.  The remainder occurred in apartments or other multi-family housing.

Impact of Home Sprinklers on Firefighter Injuries (PDF, 63 KB)
(addendum to NFPA's 2012 "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report)
March 2012
Based on 2006-2010 structure fires reported to U.S. municipal fire departments, when compared to structure fires in homes with no automatic extinguishing equipment present, analysis of home structure fires with wet-pipe sprinklers present showed a 65% reduction in firefighter injuries at the fireground per 1,000 home structure fires (from 73 firefighter fireground injuries per 1,000 fires to 25 firefighter fireground injuries per 1,000 fires).

Fire Flow Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impacts
February 2012
Over the past thirty years, selected municipal water authorities have implemented strategies, including stand by fees and other policies, to recover costs for water consumed in fires in sprinklered buildings. Typically these fees are not directly related to sprinkler fire flows but rather are recognition of the fact that these flows are not metered and thus not accounted for in conventional water cost recovery mechanisms. In contrast, water consumption at fires at unsprinklered properties is typically not subject to fees nor metered at the hydrant. With the growing adoption of residential sprinkler ordinances in communities across the country, NFPA commissioned this study to assess the relative community impacts of water consumption in sprinklered and unsprinklered properties. The study considered standard estimates of the amount of water expected to be used in various building types with and without automatic sprinkler protection during a fire condition and also estimated the water used per year for commissioning, inspection, testing and maintenance of buildings with systems for each building type.

Sprinkler Insulation: A Literature Review
July 2011
Recent research and experience with antifreeze in home fire sprinkler systems has resulted in limitations on its use in this application. This literature review was conducted at the request of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems. Its scope is to identify and gather all pertinent articles that have been published in relation to the use of insulation within residential facilities to protect sprinkler piping from freezing conditions.

Human Factors Contributing to Fatal Injury 
June 2011
This report compares fatal home fire victims with five different human factors contributing to the fatal injury:  asleep, possibly impaired by alcohol or drugs, physically disabled; possibly mentally disabled, and unattended or unsupervised child under 10 years old, with all home fire victims on a variety of fire causes and circumstances.

Residential Fire Sprinklers – Water Usage and Water Meter Performance Study 
February 2011
When mandates for sprinkler requirements in one and two family dwellings are discussed at a local or state level, a number of issues come up with respect to water supply requirements. Often, these issues are true barriers to residential sprinkler requirements because the water authority is not knowledgeable about residential sprinklers systems and how they are different from commercial fire sprinkler systems. There are two related issues: one is total water usage during sprinkler actuation at a fire scene (fire flow) in comparison with water usage by the fire service; the other is conventional water meter performance during sprinkler actuation. This report describes the results of a study on water usage and water meter performance during residential sprinkler system actuation in residences, designed to provide guidance information on this topic in a format suitable for water utilities and local jurisdictions.

Incentives for the Use of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in U.S. Communities
October 2010
The use of residential fire sprinkler systems in new U.S. homes is becoming increasingly common due to building codes and ordinances, as well as recognition of the life safety benefits which these systems provide. As a mechanism to expand the installation of fire sprinkler systems in homes, the presence of “incentives” in a jurisdiction can potentially have a considerable impact on the building market and the overall cost of a sprinkler system. To evaluate the nature and impact of incentives, this research identified, characterized, and estimated the approximate value of sprinkler system incentives found in communities across the U.S. In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 communities that each offered one or more incentives to encourage the use of sprinkler systems in new single-family homes.

Integration of Residential Sprinklers with Water Supply Systems (PDF, 842 KB)
September 2009
The purpose of this research was to develop objective data which characterizes the manner in which residential fire sprinklers are integrated with local water supply systems in communities with a sprinkler ordinance. This study explored these issues in detail through interviews with 20 communities where residential sprinklers are required in all new homes.

Comparative Analysis of Housing Cost and Supply Impacts of Sprinkler Ordinances at the Community Level (PDF, 414 KB)
NFPA, June 2009
The purpose of this research was to investigate whether the imposition of sprinkler ordinances within a jurisdiction had a measureable impact on the housing construction or prices in that municipality relative to comparable nearby communities without such an ordinance.