Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fire Sprinkler Week, 3rd – 9th February

East Sussex Fire Authority is fully supporting Fire Sprinkler Week, 3rd – 9th February 2014.

Currently in its first year, the new Fire Sprinkler Week aims to raise awareness and understanding about fire prevention and control.

Fire sprinkler systems save lives. They respond to heat and once activated, a sprinkler delivers water directly to the fire and can set off an alarm to evacuate occupants and alert the Fire & Rescue Service. Not every sprinkler head goes off in the building when there is a fire – just those close to the fire. It is common for just one or two sprinklers to control a fire until the fire service arrives.

Once sprinkler systems are installed you hardly notice them, they require very little maintenance and will protect your property if a fire occurs with minimal damage, far less than a fire would otherwise cause.

Buildings can be re-built but a life time’s collection of personal belongings such as photographs can never be replaced.

Richard Fowler, Head of Business Safety, said: “Controlling a fire as it starts is much better than repairing the damage after it has spread.

“East Sussex Fire Authority actively promotes the use of fire sprinklers. We see so much damage and destruction following a fire that is preventable. There are many misconceptions about sprinkler systems being expensive to install but the cost of sprinklers is a small fraction of the overall build cost and of the likely costs associated with a fire.

“Installing sprinklers is particularly easy if you are building a new property or undertaking conversion work, but it is still entirely possible to retrospectively fit sprinkler systems into existing properties.”

Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Phil Howson, said: “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.’

“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.

“Greater uptake of fire sprinklers would increase the U.K’s resilience and help ensure a continued economic recovery without the risk of unnecessary fires.

“Lewes District Council has followed East Sussex Fire Authority’s lead and has committed to installing sprinkler systems in all of its new build properties and we are hopeful that other councils will follow suit in due course.”

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