NFSA’s Fire Sprinkler Institute Conducts NFPA 13D Fire Protection Study

The National Sprinkler Association’s (NFSA) Fire Sprinkler Institute conducted a fire protection study on May 13, 2023, to demonstrate an occupant’s ability to self-evacuate past a fire originating in a non-sprinkler protected residential bathroom.

Outline of the Fire Protection Study

NFSA's fire protection study The test was in a single-family ranch style home with one story above grade and full walkout basement constructed in 1964.  The footprint is 32 ft. by 60 ft. with 2,000 sf. of first floor living space.  Construction is Type V wood frame with solid joists.   There is a common hallway from the living room to three bedrooms with an adjacent full bathroom.

The home is protected with an NFPA 13D sprinkler system using a city water supply.  No sprinkler protection was installed in the bathroom for the fire protection study as permitted by NFPA 13D for bathrooms less than 55 sf.  Recessed pendent ordinary temperature rated residential sprinklers were provided throughout the remainder of the home, including two sprinklers in the hallway, immediately outside the bathroom, and one sprinkler in each of the three bedrooms.

A fire started in a waste basket next to the vanity in the bathroom provided with modern day furnishings.  The fire progressed with no manual intervention or suppression and reached a maximum temperature of 1,400 F in the bathroom but did not achieve flashover or extend outside of the bathroom.

Temperature readings during the fire included the bathroom, hallway (adjacent to each sprinkler), and immediately inside each of the three bedrooms.  This included thermocouples at the ceiling and one-foot increments to the floor.  Video of the bathroom, hallway, attic, and from the exterior of the home was included.

During the fire, the two sprinklers in the hallway immediately outside the bathroom activated as expected.  The remaining sprinklers in the home, including those in the three bedrooms, were not activated.

The Findings of the Fire Protection Study

The sprinkler system contained fire and heat damage to the bathroom for more than ten minutes.  The temperatures in the hallway did not exceed the UL 199 survivability criteria, however smoke to the floor level in the hallway with zero visibility would have limited an occupants’ ability to self-evacuate.

The Fire Sprinkler Institute and Its Role in Codes and Standards Research and Development

The Fire Sprinkler Institute conducts tests and demonstrations to support codes and standards development and NFSA’s mission to protect lives and property through the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept.


If you’re interested in learning more about fire sprinklers and the important role they play in protecting lives and property, consider joining the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). As a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of fire sprinkler systems, the NFSA offers a wealth of resources and information on fire protection, including training courses, research studies, and industry news. Whether you’re a fire protection professional or simply interested in learning more about fire safety, the NFSA is a valuable resource that can help you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.