NFPA publishes guidance on residential sprinklers

July 8, 2010

Although residential fire sprinkler systems are strongly recommended, the National Fire Protection Association this week issued guidance on draining any sprinkler systems containing antifreeze.

The guidance comes on the heels of a study (.pdf file) conducted in the aftermath of a fatal kitchen fire that indicated 70/30 percent glycerin and 60/40 percent propylene glycol antifreeze in sprinklers may present a risk in certain types of fires, such as grease fires. Quincy, MA-based NFPA recommends sprinkler systems be drained of antifreeze and the solution be replaced with water. Because sprinklers reduce death, injury and property losses from fire, NFPA does not recommend the systems be disconnected.

"Fire sprinklers are one of the most effective ways to save lives and property from fire," said James M. Shannon, president of NFPA. "Until we can provide further information based on additional research that is currently underway, we are urging the public to continue the use of sprinklers but to follow our interim safety guidelines by removing antifreeze if it is in their sprinkler systems."