Residential Sprinklers - General Information

Home Fire Sprinklers Save Lives
Recognizing that residential sprinkler systems used in conjunction with properly installed and functioning smoke alarms save lives and property, the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners passed a Residential Sprinkler Ordinance that became effective July 20, 2006.

Fire kills more people in the United States annually than all natural disasters combined. In fact, more than 4,000 people perish in fires each year, and ironically, most fire deaths occur in the very place where we feel safest - our own homes. Home fires often happen at night when people are sleeping. In less than 3 minutes, a room can become engulfed in flames before anyone awakens. Those at highest risk are the very young and older adults, who may have difficulty making a quick escape.

Smoke Alarms
Smoke Alarms are essential in every household. They're designed to detect, not control a fire. Home fire sprinklers complement the smoke alarm's work, providing a way to fight flames and minimize smoke immediately. In less time than it would take most Fire Departments to arrive on the scene, home fire sprinklers can contain and even extinguish a fire. There's less damage, and less chance of deadly smoke and gases reaching your family.

Advantages of a Home Fire Sprinkler System
With Fire Sprinklers
  • The sprinkler closest to the fire activates
  • Water contains or extinguishes the fire
  • Residents have time to safely escape
  • Surrounding rooms are protected from damage
Fire sprinklers work so fast they often put out a home fire before the Fire Department arrives. Instead of launching a major fire suppression effort, arriving firefighters will simply turn off the sprinkler system and assure the fire is extinguished.

Without Fire Sprinklers
  • Flames grow and move room to room
  • Heat and toxic gases spread
  • In 3 minutes or less, the fire becomes deadly
  • Flashover occurs and the gases and combustible materials burst into flames
It typically takes 9-12 minutes from the time a fire starts to the time the Fire Department arrives. In that time, the fire will be so advanced that firefighters will have to use high pressure hoses, applying water at 250 gallons per minute. Even if the family is lucky enough to get out unharmed, the home will likely be lost and the family displaced from their home.

Links to Residential Sprinkler Information
UL Listed residential fire sprinklers are required to undergo a comprehensive evaluation to verify that they meet nationally recognized safety standards, which are designed to make sure the sprinklers operate as intended during a fire. UL has published an article (PDF) that describes, in simple terms, the performance testing and other evaluations that UL Listed residential fire sprinklers must meet.