The Role Sprinklers Play in Reducing Fire Fatalities
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has just completed its activities around National Sprinkler Week. This event, supported by fire services across the UK, focuses on educating and raising awareness of the benefits of fitting fire sprinkler services. This year, National Sprinkler Week also heralded the publication of important new research in this area.
NFCC Research Demonstrates Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems
This research was carried out by the NFCC, and the National Fire Sprinkler Network. Fire and rescue services were also involved in providing data which underpins the research findings.
The research shows that:
- Sprinklers are an extremely reliable way of fighting fire
- The presence of sprinklers in a building makes people 4 times safer if fire breaks out
- Victims of fire are 22% less likely to need hospital treatment if sprinklers are used
- Their presence makes smoke inhalation and breathing difficulties less likely
- They make injury 50% less likely
Research Supports NFCC’s Call for a Change in Building Regulations
The research is being used to strengthen the NFCC’s request for a change in UK building regulations. This would ensure that properties and businesses across the UK are fitted with sprinklers in order to protect employees and residents. At present there’s a disparity across the UK as Wales and Scotland have tougher regulations than England and Northern Ireland. The aim is to provide equal levels of protection across the country.
Terry McDermott, who’s the NFCC lead in this area said:
“The evidence speaks for itself – sprinklers save lives, protect property, reduce the impact of fire on the environment and support UK businesses by reducing interruption.”
The NFCC Requests for Sprinkler Installation
The NFCC is requesting that the government makes the following changes to the building regulations:
- Sprinklers are fitted in all high-rise buildings over 18 metres
- High rise buildings over 30 meters, served by 1 staircase, to be prioritised
- Retrofitting of sprinklers in buildings over 30 metres to be carried out in refurbishment works
- Sprinklers to be fitted in all student accommodation, care homes and buildings that are home to vulnerable people
Active and Passive Fire Protection
Sprinkler systems form part of the active fire protection offered in buildings. The designation ‘active’ signals that the system needs to be stimulated in order to kick into action. Dunbar Wallace are specialist providers of Passive Fire Protection systems. These are resistant materials that minimise the risk of a fire spreading out of control, and allow people in the building precious time to evacuate. An effective defence against fire will normally combine a range of active and passive fire materials.