East Sussex Fire Authority is calling on the Government to make it a legal requirement to enforce the use of sprinklers in new buildings and large-scale properties and to fit sprinkler systems in premises where ‘risk to life and loss of property are most significant.’
East Sussex Fire Authority Member, Councillor Carolyn Lambert has successfully petitioned Lewes District Council to install fire sprinklers in all new-build Council owned buildings. The Council has also agreed, if finances allow, to consider installing domestic sprinkler systems in refurbished homes owned by the District Council where these are occupied by people with restricted mobility.
Lewes District Council will also actively promote the use of fire sprinklers and encourage others to install them into any building where they are not otherwise required to be installed by building regulation or council planning rules.
Councillor Lambert said: “I am delighted that the Council has agreed to support this important proposal. As a member of the East Sussex Fire Authority, I am very aware of the importance of fire prevention work. There have unfortunately been eight fatal fires in the Lewes District in the last 10 years, and in the majority of these cases, domestic sprinkler systems could have made a difference to the tragic outcome.”
Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Phil Howson, said: “Sprinklers can significantly help reduce death and injury from fire, reduce risk for firefighters, protect property and heritage and reduce the effects of arson. The greatest impact of installing fire sprinklers is likely to occur in schools, residential care homes, premises housing highly vulnerable residents and certain large commercial properties.”
Head of Business Safety, Richard Fowler, said: "This is tremendous news and shows a real commitment from Lewes District Council towards reducing the dreadful consequences of fire. Sprinklers save lives and dramatically reduce the damage caused to a building if a fire occurs. Sprinklers are an inexpensive and unobtrusive - just like having a firefighter in every room. The Fire Service would encourage building owners to give them careful consideration and we look forward to their more wide-spread use in the future."
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will provide advice and guidance to anybody considering using sprinklers in their building. www.esfrs.org or Tel: 01323 462414.