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It is argued that sprinklers and fire resistance can be used in combination but as they serve different functions they are not freely interchangeable. This note presents a model which shows how to trade off one against the other. The economic optimum combination is that which minimises the sum of costs and expected loss. A major cost parameter for fire protection systems is identified for which few data are available at present. A diagram is presented which shows the principle under which one system or the other is preferred in isolation, where a combination of systems is preferred, or where no protection is justified.