National campaign to promote sprinklers
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) National Sprinkler Week.
The campaign runs from Monday 17 - 23 May and will raise awareness of the benefits of sprinkler systems in keeping people and buildings safe from fire.
The week also coincides with a 12-month campaign the Service is promoting to highlight the need for sprinklers systems to be fitted in business premises across the county.
Fire sprinklers are widely recognised as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages.
Research by the NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) found that sprinkler systems extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions. The result is sprinklers reduce injuries by at least 80 per cent, reduce property damage by 90 per cent and substantially reduce damage to the environment from fire.
This also means that sprinkler systems help to protect the lives of firefighters as they respond to much smaller incidents when sprinklers are installed and that is just one of the reasons they are fully supported by fire services.
Despite this, there is some disparity in Building Regulations relating to sprinkler systems across the UK. The legislation in Wales and Scotland requires sprinklers to be fitted in many building types meaning their communities have more fire protection than those of England and Northern Ireland.
This is something the NFCC is asking for government to remedy.
One area the NFCC expressed concern about is new build schools. In Scotland and Wales sprinklers are required, but not in England or Northern Ireland. This is despite research from Zurich Municipal, the leading insurer of schools, identifying that schools are nearly twice as likely to suffer a fire as other types of commercial building.
Fire and rescue services in the UK attend on average about 1,500 school fires per year, which cause disruption to the education of around 90,000 pupils. Over a four-year period, an average of 24 large loss fires occurred totalling £67.2 million and like many smaller fires have massive detrimental impact on their local communities.
Jonathan Dyson NFCC Lead for Sprinklers, said: “The evidence speaks for itself, our research proves that sprinklers are very effective and provide strong fire safety protections 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 these same changes in England and Northern Ireland as matter of urgency.
“Fire does not discriminate and is just as dangerous in England and Northern Ireland as it is in the rest of the UK.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service established its own 12-month campaign to highlight the need for sprinklers to be fitted in premises across the county after attending fires both with and without sprinkler intervention.
Head of Protection, Area Manager Lee Shears said: “We see first-hand the difference sprinklers make to a building when a fire occurs. In light of this we want developers, planners, school heads, nursing home managers, business leaders and anyone responsible for any business premises to seriously think about investing in sprinkler systems, which is why we have a year-long plan in place. Hopefully at the end of it we will be able to say that people have taken our advice and fitted sprinklers as a means of protecting lives, their business and its associated assets.”
Throughout its campaign, Cheshire Fire and Rescue aims to raise awareness of the benefits of sprinkler systems and to dispel the myths and misconceptions that sprinklers attract.
Lee added: “It is a well-known fact that many businesses that suffer from significant fires and fire damage never return to operation. We don’t want any business to suffer loss in Cheshire as a result of a fire that could have been prevented.”
For more information about the Cheshire campaign, how sprinkler systems work and to dispel any myths you may have please visit our website – www.cheshirefire.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the campaign follow #ThinkSprinkler on social media.