147Autosprinkler installations

Automatic sprinkler systems have the great advantage that they are comparatively simple in concept and operate automatically, whether or not there are people present on the premises. Water is supplied from the public mains or tanks and pumps into a network of distribution pipes at ceiling level, which covers the whole premises. Water is discharged through nozzles or heads sited at regular intervals in the pipework, which are normally sealed with a heat-sensitive device.

The heat of the fire actuates these devices, therefore the system only discharges in the area of the fire. The sprinkler heads can be arranged to operate at suitable temperatures, taking into account ambient conditions. Where heating is not always available, the pipework can be charged with air during the winter months. An audible alarm is given when the installation operates, and this can be relayed automatically to the fire brigade. As with all fire equipment, maintenance is essential, as it is not in regular use.

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