Mechanical sprinkler systems are usually specified within larger commercial buildings. Sprinkler systems are ordinarily designed to help to prevent a fire from spreading out of control by suppressing it until the emergency services can reach the scene.
A network of pipes with sprinkler heads at regular intervals is installed in all areas requiring protection. Water is supplied from tanks and pumps, or from the town’s main.
The sprinkler heads are designed and manufactured to operate when the predetermined trigger temperature is reached and will then release water on to a fire. The thermal element in the head will often operate with only the heat from the hot gases caused by a fire.
The only sprinkler heads that will operate are those in the immediate vicinity of the fire. All others will remain closed.
This is to ensure that water is only applied to areas where there is a fire, reducing the amount of water needed and the amount of damage caused.
The sprinkler heads are installed, generally at ceiling height, so that if one or more sprinkler heads is activated, the flow of water is sufficient to effectively control the fire. Calculations are carried out to ensure there is capacity to control a fire including the size and construction of the protected space or its use.