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Home » News & Events » 2021 » May » Service offers its support to National Sprinkler Week campaign

Service offers its support to National Sprinkler Week campaign

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) National Sprinkler Week campaign.

The campaign runs from 17 - 23 May and will raise awareness of the benefits of sprinkler systems in keeping people and buildings safe from fire.

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 operate on 94% of occasions so are very reliable and when they do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions. The result is sprinklers reduce injuries by at least 80%, reduce property damage by 90% 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 and sprinkler systems across the UK. The legislation in Wales and Scotland is stricter across many building types meaning their communities have more fire protection than those of England and Northern Ireland. This is something NFCC is asking for government to remedy.

One area 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 which cause disruption to the education of around 90, 000 pupils.

Over a four year period, an average of 24 large loss fires occurred totaling £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.”

Between Jan 2011 and Dec 2020 there have been 6,413 Primary building fires (3,883 dwelling fires, 296 other residential, 2,234 non-residential) in Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

161 primary building fires had an active safety system present, 79 of these were sprinklers or water misters.

The majority of primary building fires in which sprinklers or water misters were present were in Non-residential buildings (71 incidents, 89.9%), six were in Other Residential building fires, and two occurred in Dwelling building fires.

68% of all primary building fires with sprinklers or water misters had less than five square metres worth of fire damage (54 incidents), 18% had no fire damage (14 incidents).

To find out more about the campaign follow #ThinkSprinkler on social media.