Sprinklerfitters, as they are commonly known, are personally responsible for the safety of individuals that work or live in the buildings where they install sprinkler systems. This changed around ten years ago when it was all about the buildings and protecting the investments of the owners. Now it is about the occupants, and the National Fire Protection Association 13 code is written as a “life safety” code, which has to guarantee the safety of the individuals who work or reside there by calculating the water flow to a given area in the building and designing the system to do that in case of fire. These engineered systems are actually designed before anything else in the building to ensure they protect the entire operation.
Sprinkler systems installers work in residential, commercial, and some industrial applications, and all their material is selected according to required codes and standards mandated by the insurance industry. They use piping material mainly made from steel and plastic; they install pumps, devices, electronic control panels, valves, and many types of specialty devices that are only used in the sprinkler industry and nowhere else. The main systems they install include wet, dry, preaction and deluge, which have applications in all types of buildings and industry. They work with the customer to do installations and service and to ensure the safety of the general public, but are never acknowledged for because they do not know what sprinklerfitters do for a living.
Most people don’t realize that sprinkler systems work all by themselves automatically, with a very complex set of requirements for installation and testing, with no personnel involved, to control or put out fires in most cases using just one or two sprinklers. With really hot and high challenge fires like plastic or fuel plant fires for example, they control it effectively in over 98 percent of cases, until the fire truck arrives. The movies always show the person using a lighter to set off a sprinkler in a building (which doesn’t actually work) and the entire sprinkler system opens up in a downpour of water. This could not be farther from the truth, and this has done much to damage the public understanding of sprinkler systems, and their use in saving lives and property. Many people put them in the same category as lawn sprinkler companies and do not understand what the difference is. The difference is that lawn sprinklers will save the grass on your lawn and fire sprinklers will save your life.
Sprinklerfitters provide a service that save lives every day and is a rewarding and profitable career path. It includes many technical details and quality requirements for installation and they take pride in their work and ensure that the system they install today will work when needed, sometimes 10 or 15 years down the road to save someone’s life. It might be yours.