Up until 1996, it was perfectly normal for office buildings, hotels, and schools to employ the use of standard response sprinkler heads until the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) changed its tune. Now, quick response sprinkler heads are required in these light-hazard occupancies, as opposed to the previously standard sprinkler heads. But what’s the difference between the two, and is their mission really all that different? In this article, we take a look at quick response vs. standard response sprinkler heads, so you can easily tell them apart.
While standard response sprinkler heads are no longer regulated for light-hazard buildings, they are still the most common type of sprinkler heads and work by wetting and cooling the areas surrounding a fire to prevent it from spreading.
Quick Response Fire Supply tells us more about what you can expect from standard response sprinkler heads:
“Standard response fire sprinklers can be found in warehouses, factories, and other commercial or industrial buildings. A standard response sprinkler’s mission is to pre-wet materials around the fire, removing its fuel source. Drenching the surrounding area slows the fire, buying critical time for the fire department to get on scene. Containing the fire in its original location and suppressing its growth are the focus.”
The standard for highly populated buildings such as office buildings, schools, health care facilities, and assisted living facilities, quick response sprinkler heads have similar fire-control benefits to a standard response sprinkler but have a slightly different mission.
Confires Fire Protection Service explains how quick response sprinkler heads work:
“Quick response fire sprinkler heads are primarily used in light hazard applications and have a higher discharge pattern than standard response fire sprinkler heads. By discharging water higher up on the ceiling, QR sprinkler heads keep the ceiling at a lower temperature, preventing flash-over and increasing your chance of survival during the fire. QR fire sprinkler heads are now the standard for installation in health care facilities, assisted living facilities, and residential occupancies.”
The biggest difference overall between standard and quick response sprinkler heads is the fact that quick response heads activate slightly more quickly than standard heads (as the name would suggest!). However, they also look physically different due to the size of their bulbs.
Guardian Fire Protection Services tells us what the physical difference is between standard and quick response sprinkler heads:
“Physically, the only difference between a standard response fire sprinkler and a quick response fire sprinkler is the size of the bulb—standard response sprinklers have a 5-mm glass bulb, while quick response fire sprinklers have a 3-mm glass bulb. The smaller bulb increases the sprinkler’s thermal responsiveness, hence the quicker activation time.”
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