Justin Smith, chair of the Wyoming Fire Sprinkler Coalition and captain with Casper Fire-EMS in Wyoming, was interviewed by a local news station to set the record straight about home fire sprinklers and concerns over water damage.
Following a sprinkler activation during a residential fire, Smith told an NBC affiliate that "unfortunately, what people tend to focus on is the water damage [following a sprinkler activation]. In this case, we had a little bit of damage, but everything that is wet is eventually going to dry out. Things don't un-burn."
Complementing Smith's comments is research indicating that any resulting water damage from a fire in a sprinklered home will be much less severe than damage caused by a fire department's suppression efforts in an unsprinklered home. NFPA notes that departments can use up to 10 times more water to extinguish a fire versus what sprinklers would use to douse the same fire. (Additional reports on water usage are found on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.)