THE first ever National Fire Sprinkler Week has been launched today (Monday 3 February – Sunday 9 February) to raise awareness that having sprinklers installed in homes or business premises saves lives, property, communities and the environment.
The campaign is the first in a schedule of annual campaigns designed to convey a simple message; controlling a fire as it starts is better than repairing the damage after it has spread.
Independent research conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) revealed the loss of £1 billion and 5000 full-time jobs in Britain through fires in commercial warehouses alone over the last five years. There have also been 157,500 accidental house fires which resulted in 991 deaths nationally over the last five years.
Speaking about the campaign and the benefits and myths associated with sprinklers, Phil Lancaster, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Director of Community Protection, said: “Fire sprinklers do more for the UK than people know – they safeguard people, firefighters, jobs, homes, businesses, the economy and the environment.
“There can be no doubt as to the value of installing sprinklers in both homes and business premises – it’s like having a firefighter in every room. They provide 24 hour cover 365 days a year and only the sprinklers closest to the fire will activate. In fact 90% of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler head, which means minimal fire and water damage.
“People in homes with sprinkler systems installed have a 97% chance of surviving in the event of a fire, which is why here at Cleveland Fire Brigade we have pioneered the first low cost domestic sprinkler system in the country and have installed them as a pilot scheme in 32 properties in Hartlepool.”
In September 2011 the Tata Global Beverages factory in Eaglescliffe, which is home to the Tetley tea brand, was saved after the sprinkler system it had installed activated when a fire broke out in the kitchen and controlled and extinguished the fire.
Denise Graham, Technical Manager for Tata Global Beverages said, “It is with absolute relief that we had a sprinkler system installed on our premises when the fire broke out. I wouldn’t like to think what would have happened had we not had them in our property.
“Looking at our CCTV footage at the time, the fire – which started in a deep fat fryer in which the thermostat had failed – escalated in a matter of minutes. I am quite shocked at the small timeframe in which the fire started and developed, but thankfully the sprinkler heads in the area of the fire activated and put it out. If they had not been present our factory may not be here today.”