Fire on the web
Take a minute to check out www.fire.nist.gov/fire/sprink/, the National Institute of Standards and Testing web site. It shows a very dramatic film that compares how fire spreads in two living rooms, one with a sprinkler system and one without. The room without a sprinkler system becomes an inferno 195 seconds after ignition of a simulated cigarette, with temperatures exceeding 1100º F. If your buildings are of traditional frame construction, this means you have about three minutes to evacuate the building and put out the fire before the building becomes a total loss. Some states now mandate the installation of sprinkler systems in new building construction. Even if your state does not, a sprinkler system is a wise investment, particularly in critical buildings like your dining hall or conference center.