National Sprinkler Safety Week
The Business Safety Team for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have supported the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) 2019 Sprinkler week campaign. This year, the campaign ran from Sunday 19 May to Friday 24 May. We worked to look at a variety of key topics in relation to Sprinkler safety in commercial premises looking at: how sprinklers work, their reliability and effectiveness, sprinkler regulations across the UK, latest research carried out on sprinklers and real life case studies from across the UK.
More information on Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service supporting the NFCC's Sprinkler Safety Week 2019
Sprinklers are the equivalent to having a firefighter ready and waiting in every room of your home/business.
Sprinklers Save Lives and Businesses
We have launched a 12-month campaign to highlight the importance of sprinklers and suppression systems in both commercial and domestic properties.
Sprinklers are instant firefighters, likened to having a firefighter in every room 24/7. They are safe, cost effective and offer protection to both life and property.
Throughout the campaign, Sprinklers Save Lives, we aim to raise awareness of the benefits of sprinkler systems and to dispel the myths and misconceptions that sprinklers attract.
There is a compelling case to be made for sprinklers to be fitted in any commercial premises. 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.
“Fire is indiscriminate,” explained Area Manager 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. Lives and properties can be saved with this simplest of additions.”
To launch our Sprinklers Save Lives campaign, our Business Safety team set up a series of live sprinkler demonstrations. Identical room scenarios were set up in two container units - the only difference being one of the containers was fitted with a sprinkler, the other wasn’t.
You can view photos of the demonstrations on our Flickr page - Sprinkler Demonstrations (opens in new window)
Sprinkler system saves building and stock
A sprinkler system has helped prevent a major Cheshire medical distribution company from going up in smoke after a fire at the premises.
A total of 12 fire engines and an aerial platform attended the incident at Reliance Medical Limited on Radnor Park Industrial Estate, Back Lane, Congleton, just after 3am on Thursday 16th February.
Simon Gibbins, Head of Protection explained: “This building contained a huge amount of stock, with the company employing some 50 people. Thankfully, a sprinkler system contained the fire to one area which, although some stock was damaged, meant the majority of stock and the building were saved and will be back in operation within just a couple of days.
“Companies very rarely recover from a fire such as this, but the sprinkler system did its job and minimised the impact on the rest of the building, containing the flames to one area."
When they arrived crews found a fire in a single storey building. Hose reel and main water jets were set up to tackle the fire. Water was also sprayed on the buildings next to the one on fire to stop it from spreading.
By 7.30 crews had successfully dealt with the fire and prevented it from spreading to other buildings. A fire investigation is being carried out and initial thoughts are that the cause is electrical.
Simon added: “Sprinklers work to suppress the flames and although the there was damage, the rest of the building escaped this fire. We would urge all business across the county to fit sprinklers in order to protect their business, their staff, customers and our firefighters. ”
Reliance Medical Managing Director Andy Pear is today feeling the benefits of having sprinklers. He said: “Whilst work has been paused for a couple of days to allow for us to take stock, without the sprinkler system we’d be talking two years, if not longer. As it is, we will be back to business as usual by Saturday.
“I would encourage any business which doesn’t have sprinklers to think very carefully about what they would do in a situation like this, and how their business would survive a fire. We certainly know and appreciate the value of sprinklers here at Reliance Medical."
Here is Reliance Medical Limited managing director Andy Pear talking about the fire and how the sprinkler system and firefighter actions averted a major disaster for his company.
Map of fires and sprinkler saves (opens in new window)
General information about sprinklers
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has been very proactive in the promotion of fire sprinkler systems in both the domestic/residential and commercial environment. It is a key objective of the Service to 'Protect Life, Property and other Interests' and we recognise that promoting sprinkler systems is an important part of helping us achieve this aim locally.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is also a member of the National Fire Sprinkler Network and actively involved in raising the profile of sprinklers at a national level.
For over a century, sprinkler installations have been successfully safeguarding commercial buildings. They can best be regarded as combined fire detection and extinguishing systems. They provide continuous protection throughout the day and night, irrespective of whether or not the premises are occupied.
Fires in Industrial and Commercial premises can have a serious impact on both national and local economy. There is a risk of significant job losses with subsequent social and economic impact on the community as well as environmental damage.
Nationally, fires in schools are an increasing problem causing many millions of pounds worth of damage. Installation of sprinklers into school premises will reduce the massive cost to society and ensure less disruption to students following fires.
Fire sprinklers can:
Protect those people who are in the room of origin of the fire (whereas conventional fire protection tends to focus on enabling persons elsewhere in the building to escape);
Deal with fires when they are small and more easily controllable;
Limit the production of smoke and fumes;
Drastically reduces the damage caused by a fire and therefore minimises the disruption and time taken to achieve business continuity and may negate the need for re-housing;
Cost the equivalent of installing a central heating system;
Cost very little to maintain;
Is a sprinkler system suitable for my building?
The fire service nationally has developed considerable experience and knowledge of sprinkler systems. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has a lead officer in your local Protection team who will be able to offer you specific advice.
Leaflet - Think Sprinkler (new window, PDF 809KB)
Myths and facts
Sprinklers - myths and facts
Video - Think Sprinkler
Transcript - sprinkler video (new window, Word Document 22KB)
Video - sprinklers (new window, Movie 32189KB)
Sprinklers in new homes and residential sprinklers
Sprinklers are the equivalent to having a firefighter ready and waiting in every room of your home.
The vast majority of fires and resulting deaths and injuries take place in the home. Even a small fire can cause a massive amount of damage to property. Every day two people die and 50 are injured in fires in the UK.
While smoke alarms can warn of a fire they do nothing to actually control the fire itself. This is where residential sprinkler systems can make all the difference - by helping to control the fire or even extinguish it completely.
Fire sprinklers are by far the most efficient and effective safety devices available. No-one has ever died in a fire in a home fitted with residential sprinklers.
The sprinklers themselves are small, neat and blend in with the decor. The heads are connected through a system of pipes to the water mains or an alternative secure source of water. Most rooms require only two sprinkler heads to afford complete protection.
Residential fire sprinklers are not expensive. They cost around £1/sq ft in new home or about £1500 for a three bedroom house - typically the cost of the carpets. Sprinklers help to control the fire or even extinguish it completely.
A residential sprinkler system is designed to use just enough water to control the fire. Typically one sprinkler head discharges 38-40 litres of water a minute compared to a firefighter's hose at 1000 litres a minute. This minimises water damage and a room protected by sprinklers can often be back in use within a couple of hours.
Sprinkler Guidance for Schools from the Local Government Association
Recommendations for the design and installation of sprinkler systems can be found in the following documents:
Toolkit for schools (new window PDF 92 kb)
BS 9251:2005 Sprinkler systems for residential and domestic occupancies - Code of practice
BS EN 12845:2003 Fixed firefighting systems - Automatic sprinkler systems - Design, installation and maintenance
Copies of these documents are available from:
British Standards Institute
389 Chiswick High Road
Tel: 020 8996 9000
The Fire Protection Association publish an industry standard:
LPC Rules for Automatic Sprinkler Installations ISBN:1-902790-25-1
Copies are available from:
Moreton in Marsh
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01608 812500
Chief Fire Officers Association (opens in new window)
National Fire Sprinkler Network (opens in new window)
British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (opens in new window)
Business Sprinkler Association (opens in new window)
Fire Protection Association (opens in new window)