CDS, part of the Obsequio group, is adding its voice to a national fire service campaign to protect Britain’s most vulnerable people.
National Sprinkler Week, #ThinkSprinkler, which runs until May 21, highlights the human, financial, societal and environmental importance of installing sprinkler systems in schools, warehouses and care homes. And it calls on government to do more to protect children, elderly people and property by making them a mandatory part of the planning and building regulations of certain new-builds and refurbishments.
The annual campaign, promoted by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and supported by the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (BFSN), targets facilities managers at commercial, educational and public sector premises.
Figures show that commercial fires cost the UK economy around £2 billion a year, with the Department for Communities and Local Government putting the cost of a fire fatality at around £1.65 million.
Fire chiefs say sprinklers are the single most effective method of fighting the spread of fires in the early stages of a blaze, stating that they contain fires on 99 per cent of occasions, with a 100 per cent success rate in the case of converted and purpose-built flats.
One key element of this year’s campaign is a push for England to follow Wales and Scotland, where fitting sprinklers in new-build and majorly-refurbished schools is obligatory.
NFCC research shows that currently only 15 per cent of schools in England are being built with sprinklers, compared with 70 per cent in 2007. Fires in schools rose by 35 per cent in 2021/22 over the 2020/21 figure, which saw a staggering 209 school fires countrywide.
It is also calling on government to expand recent legislation which requires all new-build care homes in England to have a sprinkler system installed to cover refurbished properties too – as is the case in Scotland and Wales.
And it wants regulations requiring single storey warehouses of more than 20,000 sq m to be equipped with sprinkler systems to be broadened to cover structures down to 4,000 sq m.
CDS has been designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining sprinklers, usually as part of a wider fire safety system, for more than 30 years for commercial, public sector, health, education and large-scale residential organisations.
Obsequio group CEO Simon Abley said: “Fire service statistics underlining the human and economic cost to society highlight the importance of including sprinklers as part of a wider, all-encompassing fire safety system.
“Fortunately, fatalities in schools are rare, but the financial cost and the impact the education and wellbeing of the pupils affected by fires can be enormous. School fires often take place during the night, with arson a sad but common cause of such blazes. Without a monitoring system in place and a sprinkler system as a first line of defence, the damage can be immense.
“We are now seeing some schools choosing the latest technology which means fire alarms can be monitored away from the premises and in accordance with British Standards. Such products use 4G networks or the internet, with the signals transmitted to a remote monitoring centre.
“As far as care homes are concerned this campaign underlines the human implications of failing to invest in sprinkler systems when undergoing a renovation. And in the warehousing and logistics sector, however seemingly small the structure, sprinklers will not only help protect fire service personnel risking their lives to preserve property and people, they also help protect valuable stock and livelihoods. And if those warehouses contain dangerous or toxic materials the environmental impact could be even more devastating.
“Through the #ThinkSprinkler campaign, the fire service is playing a vital role in raising awareness of the important part sprinkler systems play in reducing the impact of a blaze.”
Find out more here: https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Sprinkler-Week.