The fire protection community would like to clarify our position with regards to loss of life in sprinkler protected buildings and international experience with fire sprinkler systems.

There has been some commentary in the media that fire sprinkler systems may not save lives. Sprinklers have a proven international record of saving lives.

Since the 1890s, approved sprinklers in New Zealand have achieved their fire control function in better than 99.5% of the fires in which they have operated.

The New Zealand Sprinkler standard provides a set of rules to enable sprinkler systems to reliably achieve their fire control function. This means keeping the fire small so it is not life threatening.

In the United States, the National Fire Protection Association has published information on sprinkler system effectiveness since 1897. A 2010 NFPA report indicates that the “NFPA has no record of a fire killing three or more people in a completely sprinklered building where the system was properly operating”.

New Zealand has no record of more than one person dying in a fire event in a building with a properly operating sprinkler system.

The fire protection community knows that sprinklers are highly successful in protecting life and property.

Society of Fire Protection Engineers, NZ Chapter

Institution of Fire Engineers, NZ Branch

Fire Protection Association (NZ) Inc

Notes to reporters

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers is a technical group of Engineering New Zealand that engages in activities that are educational, scientific, charitable or promote the practice of fire protection engineering.

The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) is a global professional membership body for those in the fire sector that seek to increase their knowledge, professional recognition and understanding of fire through a global discourse.

The Fire Protection Association New Zealand Inc (FPANZ) is New Zealand’s peak body for fire safety.

Engineering New Zealand is New Zealand's professional body for engineers, with some 22,000 members. We represent – and regulate – our members. We also act as the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Lachlan McKenzie on 021 479 885.