In 2009-2010 there were 328 deaths due to accidental house fires across England, so the Brigade’s priority is to prevent these fires and to also protect people should a fire break out
The initiative is being launched on Thursday 22 March 2012 by the Brigade in conjunction with Vela, Hartlepool Water and supported by the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN).
This project has been developed after Cleveland Fire Brigade agreed to take part in a pilot project for an innovative design of Low Cost Suppression System for the home – which can be fitted cheaper than traditional domestic sprinkler systems.
The new system runs water directly from the mains and the sprinklers have recessed heads, so as not to affect the appearance of a room.
If the temperature within a room reaches 57ºC, the cover plate will melt off and the recessed head will drop down to its operating position. Sprinkler heads will only operate if the temperature reaches 68ºC. As the system operates within the domestic supply it requires no pumps or alarms, so costs are reduced.
Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer said: “We are extremely proud to be the first Fire Authority to fit these low cost domestic sprinklers and to be at the forefront of this project. Fire sprinkler systems are the only devices able to detect a fire in a home or business then control and probably extinguish it. Damage from fire and water is minimal – and so are the installation costs.
“Sprinklers provide the peace of mind of having, in effect, a firefighter permanently at the ready in every room.”
He went on to explain the benefits of the system, saying, “The Brigade has carried out Home Fire Safety Visits for many years, visiting over 167, 000 (50%) homes within our area and fitting 215,000 smoke alarms. This has contributed to us being one of the highest performing Brigades in the Country at reducing accidental fires in the home.
“However, we want to protect more people, particularly those most at risk and the next step to offering this protection is fire sprinkler systems. People in homes with sprinkler systems installed have a 97% chance of surviving in the event of a fire. They provide 24 hour cover 365 days a year. Only the sprinklers closest to the fire will activate. 90% of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler head.
“There can be no doubt as to the value of installing sprinklers for fire and life safety purposes and the effectiveness of sprinklers has been proven over the years. In addition the reduction in fire damage to properties reduces the need for expensive rehousing and renovation.
“Legislation has recently been passed which makes the fitting of sprinklers compulsory in all new residential properties in Wales. It’s only a matter of time before this extends to the rest of the UK.”
John Robinson, Health and Safety Manager for the Vela Group, said: “The wellbeing and safety of our customers is of paramount importance and that is why we are supporting this pioneering initiative by Cleveland Fire Brigade.
“This new sprinkler system will further enhance fire protection features built into our homes.”
A study of Scottsdale, Arizona, which has had mandatory domestic sprinklers since 1986, has shown that no fatalities occurred in any sprinklered homes whilst, during the same period, 13 fatalities occurred in non-protected properties.