Six sprinklered office fire tests were performed to determine the feasibility of using quick-response sprinklers to protect office occupancies. Tests were conducted in a furnished 4.6 m × 9.1 m × 2.4 m high compartment with a horizontal smooth ceiling designed to simulate an executive-type office suite. The fire suppression effectiveness of quick-response, slow-response, and concealed sprinklers was examined. Conditions for the six tests were selected to provide evaluation of the effects of sprinkler response, one compartment ventilation condition and sprinkler water discharge rate upon overall sprinkler performance. In all six tests, sprinklers controlled fires and prevented flashover of the compartment regardless of initial test conditions. However, different levels of protection were provided when sprinkler link sensitivity, water discharge rate and the ventilation condition were altered. The slow-response sprinkler and the concealed sprinkler tested did not respond quickly enough to achieve the same level of life safety or property protection afforded by the quick-response sprinkler used in this series of fire tests. Test results also indicate that a reduction in sprinkler water discharge rate for quick-response sprinklers and changes in ventilation significantly affected sprinkler system effectiveness.
Four full-scale fire tests were conducted in a compartment designed to simulate two adjacent residential spaces protected by quick-response sidewall sprinklers connected to a limited water supply. A living room furniture arrangement, consisting of a recliner, drapes, table, sofa end and carpet, was placed in one space and served as the fire source. Although two sprinkler placement achemes and a lintel in the opening between the spaces were tried, sprinklers installed in both spaces of the compartment actuated during each of the four fire tests conducted in this study. In all tests, sidewall sprinklers (a) controlled the fire and prevented flashover of the compartment, (b) confined the fire to the recliner (primary ignition item), and (c) allowed a survivable life safety environment to be maintained throughout the test period, thereby meeting the designed purpose of a residential sprinkler system. However, the inherent delay in response time associated with the use of sidewall sprinklers resulted in high ceiling surface temperature over the fire source location which indicated a property damage potential for combustible ceilings.