Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is supporting this week’s (17 to 23 May) sprinkler campaign run by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before firefighters arrive. They save lives, reduce injuries, protect firefighters and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.
In 2017 the NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network published research into the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems during their activation when a building fire occurs.
It was based on 2,294 fires involving a range of domestic and non-domestic properties, and found that sprinklers were 94 per cent efficient in their ability to operate and 99 per cent effective in extinguishing or controlling a fire.
Further research the same year measured the performance of sprinkler systems in protecting life and reducing harm. It found that:
- There was not a single fatality in a building (other than a dwelling) where sprinklers were fitted.
- If sprinklers are fitted in a building, the occupant is half as likely to be harmed by fire.
- If an injury did occur, the chances of the requirement for hospitalisation were reduced by 22 per cent.
Group Commander Phill Mould from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said:
“There is clear evidence that sprinklers can be effective in rapidly controlling and stopping fires and fire spread. Fire and rescue services are campaigning to generally inform, educate and promote the installation of sprinkler systems.
“Sprinklers play a positive role in protecting life and reducing the economic and environmental cost of fires in a building.”
- Reduce fire deaths and fire related injuries.
- Protect property and heritage.
- Reduce the effects of arson.
- Reduce the environmental impact of fire.
- Reduce the cost and disruption of fire to business and the community.
- Reduce the risk to firefighters.
- Provide flexibility in building design.
- Compensate for other safety measures.
For further information on sprinkler systems, follow the links at the bottom of the page.
Case study 1: Sprinklers protecting vulnerable people, Sheffield, December 2018:
A fire was deliberately started in a bedroom of a flat by a patient in a residential facility, which accommodated people with a range of physical and mental disabilities. The flats had been fitted with a sprinkler system. The system activated and successfully controlled the fire until the fire crews arrived and extinguished what was left burning. If the fire had developed unchecked, it would have put the other occupants of the flats at risk, but because of the sprinkler system there were no casualties.
Case study two: Sprinklers protecting secondary school, Cleveland, October 2018:
A fire started in a washing machine in a utility room in a large secondary school. The school was fitted with a sprinkler system, which activated and confined the fire to the washing machine. There was only a small amount of radiated heat damage to a tumble dryer and fridge located either side of it. There was severe smoke damage to the remainder of the room, but no smoke passed through the door of the caretaker’s room into the adjacent corridor or rooms leading off it. There were no casualties, and school classes ran as normal with no disruption.
Short video which dispels some of the myths about fire sprinklers: YouTube.video1
Short video showing identical living room fires – one where a sprinkler system had been installed, and one without: YouTube.Video2
National Fire Chiefs Council: www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Sprinklers
National Fire Sprinkler Network: www.nfsn.co.uk