Supporting Our Brokers Through Loss Prevention Content

Everett McCallum, Senior Loss Prevention Specialist, Echelon Insurance

At Echelon, we believe in a proactive approach to loss prevention. As a leading specialty insurer, we know it’s important for us to be a true loss prevention partner to our brokers and customer, so we have built an internal Technical Risk Services (TRS) team dedicated to analyzing each risk that comes across our desk and ensuring we’re making the right recommendations. 

We also tap into our internal expertise to create educational content that can help our brokers and customers better understand loss prevention. Recently, we published a white paper speaking to the importance of a strong sprinkler system to prevent loss for commercial businesses. 

Property Preservation

When a fire occurs, you can expect some degree of damage to the building and its contents. A recent study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that there was an average of $10.6B of property damage from fire each year between 2015 and 2019. Structures without sprinkler systems accounted for nearly $9.4B (88%) while structures with sprinkler protection were only $1.09B (10%). The remaining included structures equipped with partial sprinkler protection.

These numbers show that buildings equipped with sprinklers experience reduced property loss. A less obvious benefit of sprinkler protection is reduced business interruption. Sprinklers can protect from damage to contents and also allow business operations to resume more quickly, which has a positive impact on the short and long-term viability of the business.

Life Safety

Sprinkler systems also improve the overall life safety features of buildings. They can suppress or control a fire while also warning building occupants that a fire condition exists, which should allow occupants to exit the building more safely.

The NFPA found that between 2015 and 2019, structure fires in the United States resulted in approximately 12,848 civilian injuries and 2,862 civilian deaths per year on average. Buildings not equipped with sprinkler protection  accounted for 11,609 (90%) of these injuries and 2,816 deaths (98%), while only 1,130 (9%) injuries and 37 (1%)  of deaths came from structures equipped with sprinkler protection. 

Installing sprinkler systems can improve the safety and well-being of building occupants, reduce  potential financial loss, and prevent lawsuits stemming from bodily injury or death to occupants involved in a fire. Prioritizing the safety and well-being of building occupants is pivotal in maintaining the viability of the business.

Sprinkler System Myths vs Facts

Myth: My sprinkler system has never operated, so it doesn’t require any testing or maintenance.

Fact: Sprinkler systems need to be inspected, tested, and maintained at regular intervals to ensure reliability and proper working order. All inspection, testing, and maintenance procedures should be completed by a qualified contractor in accordance with NFPA 25.

Myth: Sprinkler systems that are inspected, tested, and maintained by a qualified contractor provide adequate fire protection.

Fact: The design is not evaluated when a sprinkler system is inspected, tested, and maintained. Design deficiencies could overwhelm the sprinkler system and cause it to be ineffective under fire conditions.

Myth: Water damage from a discharging sprinkler system will be more extensive than damage from fire.

Fact: Water damage from a sprinkler system will be significantly less destructive than a firefighting hose lines or from a fire spreading throughout the building.

Myth: When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off.

Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated when exposed to heat from fires. A relatively small amount of sprinklers actually operate in most fires.

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