Deaths from home fires have been dropping consistently, from a high of 6015 in 1978 to just 2755 in 2013, but that still is a lot of people, along with 12,200 injuries and $ 6.8 billion in damages. That’s why many organizations like the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) promote the idea of mandatory home fire sprinklers. We promote them on TreeHugger too.
But sprinkler systems are perceived as being expensive to install and people worry about them going off accidentally and causing extensive water damage. They don’t turn themselves off, either.
Now there is a new sprinkler idea that solves all of those problems. It’s the Automist Smartscan from Plumis, a company founded by Royal College of Art grads who won a James Dyson award in 2009 with an earlier version. Instead of a sprinkler head in the ceiling, there is a nozzle on the wall. A special detector in the ceiling detects the fire, and then triggers a small pump that sends water to the nozzle, which is directed by the detector right on to whatever is burning.
It uses 90 percent less water than conventional sprinklers, and turns off when the fire is out or it is manually shut off, significantly reducing water damage. It’s a mist rather than a flood;
Water mist removes heat and displaces oxygen from the fire zone, resulting in fire control, suppression or extinguishment. The intention is to lower the temperature, lessen the radiative heat and reduce the oxygen concentration to such an extent that combustion can be longer be maintained, and therefore reducing damage and maintaining survivable conditions.
The system is being tested now in the UK and US and could be a terrific alternative to standard sprinkler systems. It is a lot easier to install as well, particularly in retrofits and renovations; it is a teensy little nozzle, a 3/4” inch diameter hose and the pump, which can be hidden in a closet.
There are so many reasons to like this. As our houses get built with more engineered products, they burn more quickly. The biggest killer in a fire is the stuff that comes out of burning sofas and furniture, all that foam and so-called fire retardants; this puts the fire out quickly without flooding the joint. It appears to give all the benefits of a sprinkler system with fewer of the problems. Give this gang another Dyson Award! More at Plumis about the Automist Smartscan.
Found on Gizmodo, where I stole the gif too.