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Call for a firefighter in every room

21 May 2019

CHESHIRE FIRE and Rescue Service (CFRS) is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) 2019 National Sprinkler Week campaign. The campaign runs from 19-24 May.

The NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) carried out research to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems. They found that sprinkler systems operate on 94 per cent of occasions, demonstrating very high reliability. Furthermore it is evident that when they do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99 per cent of occasions and are thus very effective. The evidence also demonstrated that in both converted and purpose built flats, sprinklers are 100 per cent effective in controlling fires.

There is disparity in building regulations in regard to sprinklers in the UK. Sprinkler laws in Wales and Scotland are much less lenient than in England which means that their communities have more fire protection.

NFCC lead for sprinklers, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer Terry McDermott, said, “The evidence speaks for itself. Our research proves that sprinklers are very effective and provide strong fire safety protection as part of a fire safety package. 

“Wales and Scotland recognise this and have implemented measures to make their communities safer from fire; we want to see the same changes in England and Northern Ireland as a matter of urgency. Fire does not discriminate and is just as dangerous in England as it is in the rest of the UK.”

There is a compelling case to be made for sprinklers to be fitted. In commercial environments, businesses could get back to normal in a relatively short space of time after a fire. It is a well-known fact that many businesses that suffer from significant fires and fire damage never return to operation. Sprinklers can safeguard against that and significantly improve business continuity. In the home, sprinklers save lives and also reduce the number of serious burns and injury cases and the amount of damage caused by house fires. When sprinklers are installed a fire is almost always contained to the room it started in, preventing it spreading throughout the property, so sprinklers reduce the risk to lives and properties.

“Fire is indiscriminate,” explained CFRS area manager and protection lead Lee Shears, “It destroys lives, homes, families, businesses and history that cannot be replaced. Every year people are needlessly killed and seriously injured in fires. Every year people are made homeless as a result of fire. Every year businesses collapse and people lose their livelihoods as a result of fire. Fire deaths (including firefighter deaths) have been almost eliminated and lives and properties can be saved with this simplest of additions.”