There are two distinct aspects of building fire protection: life safety and property protection. Although providing for one aspect generally results in some protection for the other, the two goals are not mutually inclusive. A program that provides for prompt notification and evacuation of occupants meets the objectives for life safety but provides no protection for the property. Conversely, it is possible that adequate building protection might not be sufficient for the protection of life.
Automatic fire sprinkler systems have been protecting property in the United States since the late 1800s; in fact, the Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 1896 was the first standard developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Today the NFPA still develops the most widely accepted standards for the design and installation of sprinkler systems: NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; 20, Installation of Centrifugal Fire Pumps; 24, Installation of Private Fire Services Mains and Their Appurtenances; 231, General Storage and 231C, Rack Storage of Materials.