Back to School – How a Sprinkler System Can Help
Well, it was nice while it lasted. But, summer had to end eventually. And with September around the corner, parents may breathe a sigh of relief that children will have somewhere else to be during the day. As young children spend most of their time at school, it is important that there are safety measures in place in case of emergencies such as fires. With this in mind, we are here to assess the importance of a sprinkler system in schools and the benefits it can provide to the education industry.
Currently, in England, the only mandatory sprinkler regulations are for buildings that are over 11m in height. This can apply to certain schools, however, the majority of primary schools typically consist of only one floor.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) have long advocated for the installation of a sprinkler system in all UK schools. This includes the retrofitting into already-existing school structures when necessary renovations are made. According to NFCC Sprinkler Lead, Jonathan Dyson, the exclusion of a mandatory sprinkler system is “a missed opportunity to make our schools safer”.
The NFCC has proposed that all schools undergoing refurbishment are fitted with automatic fire sprinklers. When there is a school fire, this is disrupting the pupils’ education. With various flammable materials, especially in science blocks, accidents are bound to happen. So, it is with the NFCC’s interest and school boards, that a sprinkler system is installed within these premises.
Scotland and Wales
Although England does not have mandatory sprinklers in schools, this is not the same in other regions in the UK. In fact, Scotland and Wales have proved to take a firmer stance on the matter and create mandatory requirements in all types of buildings, including schools.
In these two areas, a sprinkler system is required in all new and refurbished schools. Though in Scotland, this includes all types of schools, in Wales, it is slightly different. They are only mandatory in Welsh grant-funded schools and refurbishment can be open to arguments.
But, this is not the only time Scotland and Wales have diverted from English sprinkler regulations. For example, in residential buildings, in both Scotland and Wales, all newly constructed social homes and apartments are to have a sprinkler system fitted throughout the premises. Where previously this was only buildings over 18m. It seems the rest of the UK has started to focus on the installation of sprinklers and ensuring these are mandatory. Whereas, even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, these requirements are still lacking. Especially in schools, where there can be so much loss. For more information on the individual requirements across the UK, read our previous blog here.
The Benefits of a Sprinkler System
When a fire breaks out at a school and there is no fire protection system in place, there are many elements that suffer. Not only could the fire result in property damage and destroying vital resources and data, but it also causes much disruption to the pupils, their families and even the staff. If a certain area of the school is unsafe for pupils, measures will have to be taken to relocate pupils for their education.
Whether this is in a different part of a school, remote learning or even at a completely new commercial property. This will cause unwanted change that will affect their learning. Especially if they are young or are close to taking important exams.
Therefore, a sprinkler system should always be considered when it comes to schools of any size. Sprinklers will automatically set off when detecting high temperatures. So, if a fire does occur, the sprinkler heads will release enough water to suppress the flames and ensure the fire does not spread any further. This will help prevent vast property damage and give more time for those inside to safely evacuate. More importantly. Sprinklers have been proven to save lives. And with lives so young, why take the risk?
RAD Fire Sprinklers
At RAD, we install and advocate the installation of sprinkler systems in all types of buildings throughout the UK. Including a sprinkler system within schools. Find out more about why sprinkler systems should be a requirement in schools here on our previous blog.
For more information, or to receive a quote, fill in our form here. Or, give us a call on 01892 680 090 and speak to one of our specialists today.