On the morning of Friday 20 April 2012, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service conducted a live fire demonstration for observers to witness the benefits of sprinklers.
The event was held at Underwood Court, Underwood Lane, Crewe, a sheltered housing scheme owned by the non-profit making South Cheshire housing association, Wulvern, which is due to be re-developed as family housing.
The event consisted of three fires:
A non-sprinkler controlled bedroom fire
A sprinkler controlled bedroom fire
A wheelie bin fire
Throughout the demonstrations a spokesperson explained to the observers what was happening as each fire developed. Those present were also given the opportunity to view, at close quarters, a fire damaged room that didn't have sprinklers installed and compare that to the sprinkler controlled fire room.
Additionally, as the number of wheelie bin fires across the county continue to cause concern, the Arson Reduction team demonstrated the speed and effects of fires set in domestic wheelie bins, highlighting the dangers of unsecured bins and why they should be kept a safe distance from buildings.
The firefighting operations also featured as a viewing experience for guests to witness first hand crews dealing with real fire incidents and see the heightened dangers associated with firefighting in non-sprinklered premises.
In the week leading up to the live demonstration a series of other fire tests were conducted in the building:
A kitchen fire without sprinklers - to complement the cooker safety campaign
A kitchen fire with sprinklers - to complement the cooker safety campaign
Testing of smoke spread into protected corridors during the above tests
Wheelie bin fire
Underwood Court is a 3-storey brick sheltered housing premises, now standing empty, and is owned by Wulvern. The courtyard area where MPs, councillors, architects and landlords viewed the demonstrations can be seen below.
Two gazebos were set up in this area and a large viewing screen projected internal footage from the compartment cameras.
Following the demonstrations speeches were given by Ann Jones who is Welsh Assembly Member for Vale of Clwyd, and the driving force behind the change to Welsh legislation which was passed in 2011, requiring all new homes built in Wales to be fitted with sprinklers.
Chris Enniss, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who is the national campaign leader for legislation in England also gave a speech highlighting the importance for legislation in England. All those present could not help but be inspired by the passion and commitment of the speakers.
Granada Reports feature on Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service's sprinkler campaign (opens in new window)
Video of a non-sprinkler controlled bedroom fire