When I worked for a company that runs group homes for the developmentally disabled, I had to go through annual fire safety training. When I became a manager I learned that the four minute evacuation requirement was actually extended for places that had fire sprinklers that work as an active fire suppression system. Four minutes was for two staff evacuating four people. It is actually not enough time if no sprinklers are present. Fire grows quickly, and that is why I called North California fire sprinklers to get our home retrofitted for a fire suppression system.
Sprinklers can mean the difference of getting out alive or burning to death in a fire. Actually, most people die of breathing in toxic or superheated air long before they would actually be burned to death in a fire. Sprinklers knock down a fire before it can grow to lethal proportions. Sprinklers permit more time to get out. The actual sprinkler heads are only a few dollars apiece. It is the cost of running the pipes and connected alarm system that is more. We were not going to get sprinklers in every room, but we were getting them over the furnace, clothes dryer, hot water heater and in the kitchen.
A smoke detector gives you an early warning of a fire, but sprinklers can actually extinguish it. What happens if you are not home and you have pets? Sprinklers can save their lives. Fire suppression equipment that automatically activates, including the dry chemical units installed over things such as commercial stoves, can save lives. There are different fire suppression systems that can be used in a home. Just adding a few big fire extinguishers can be a real help. I would recommend getting fire extinguishers from a professional service that will inspect them and maintain them on an annual basis.