In 1723, Ambrose Godfrey created the first known sprinkler system. Modern sprinkler systems work much differently. This YouTube video explains how modern
fire sprinkler systems work.
The modern fire sprinkler system is a series of sprinkler heads connected to a water source. Although some sprinkler systems use foam or other materials to fight fires, most still use water. The sprinkler head consists of a glass bulb filled with a liquid that expands when heated. When the bulb shatters because of the heat from a fire, it opens a valve that releases water to fight the fire.
Despite a popular misconception, most sprinkler systems do not trigger their sprinkler heads to go off at once. Sprinkler heads go off one at a time. There’s not much point in saving a building from a fire, only to have it seriously damaged by water.
Sprinkler heads are installed on ceilings because heat from a fire rises very quickly. Sprinkler heads can be made to be triggered at different temperatures. They also can be made to release water in certain directions. Modern sprinkler systems can also contact local fire departments or emergency services to further help fight the fire and save lives.