Why are water flow alarms important for automatic sprinkler systems?

November 10, 2021

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

Automatic sprinkler systems are very effective for life safety and preventing structural loss. However, they are not designed to be stand alone protection. They are designed to control the fire for long enough until the fire department arrives and for people to get out of the building.

NFPA 13 requires a water flow alarm that activates when water is flowing in the system, possibly indicating a fire. The minimum is an electric or mechanical alarm ringing outside of the building.

The standard allows for electronic supervision of water flow by a central station. This alerts the monitoring station to a possible fire or burst sprinkler pipe. The value of this protection is recognized by insurance companies since it helps reduce severe loss from fire or water leakage in a building.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.