Home Fire Sprinkler System
The importance of fitting a home fire sprinkler system has been further brought to light by the recent legislation the Welsh Assembly implemented which means any new build or converted house will have to have a domestic or home sprinkler system fitted by law. In fact, Wales is the only country in the world to push this forward, which it will do in a staged process to give the building industry time to gear up for it.
The legislation will apply to all residential premises including, private dwellings, social housing, care homes and residential blocks of apartments and flats.
The reasons for this legislation are clear, it will not only save the lives of homeowners but put the firefighter’s lives at less risk who have to deal with blazes that have gone out of control.
On the 28th of July 13, there was a blaze in St Leonards, Hastings at a care home called Marlborough House, a fairly new building which, surprisingly did not have sprinklers installed. Fortunately all 32 residents were evacuated to safety but firefighters had a hard time tackling the fire due to the size of the building.
Sussex Police have said that 32 residents along with the staff were evacuated from a fire that took hold in a retirement complex in St Leonards-on-Sea near Hastings this morning.
The residents are being temporarily rehoused at a local church hall while Hastings Borough Council works with the care home to make more long term arrangements.
Up to fifty firefighters and ten fire engines remain at the scene of the blaze – Marlborough House in Warrior Square.
Emergency services were alerted and our officers entered the building to support fire and rescue colleagues in evacuating the residents, many of them with restricted mobility.
Fortunately no one is reported injured although three people have been taken to hospital – a man as a precaution and a woman to access medication. A third person has reported feeling unwell. I appreciate that this has been quite an ordeal for those concerned and we are working with partner agencies to ensure they are supported and cared for.
The site is cordoned off and the area between London Road and Norman Road has been closed while the building is made safe.
– INSPECTOR PHIL HOGAN, SUSSEX POLICE
The readers of the Hastings Observer, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Combined Fire Authority and Labour Group Leader have been petitioning the Government before the Marlborough House fire to make it mandatory to have domestic or home fire sprinklers fitted.
The fire at Marlborough House once again places before us a number of unavoidable facts. We obviously need to have adequate resources of highly trained firefighters and equipment to deal with major incidents such as Marlborough House.
Sheltered accommodation such as Marlborough House, which is a fairly new building, should have had a residential sprinkler system fitted. It is time that this country had the political will to compel developers to install domestic sprinkler systems in all new build properties and all converted properties. The Welsh Assembly had the courage to do it, why cannot we?
Our move to get this onto the political agenda with central Government is supported by all fire and rescue personnel across the country and of course the British Automatic Sprinkler Association (Stewart Kidd, secretary general), who I have been speaking to in recent weeks.
If fitted they would certainly reduce fire damage to properties and they would save lives of that there is no doubt. I would therefore urge all readers to sign up to the e-petition and make their views known. Please do it today, you could make a real difference to community fire safety in your town. Log onto http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52787.
The police in Buckinghamshire are doing a similar thing and recommending that residents have home sprinkler systems fitted.
THE fire service is encouraging more people in Bucks to fit sprinklers in their homes with a new video that aims to show how much damage can be averted by the safety devices.
Filming took place earlier this month afternoon for a video which Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will be using as part of its continuing drive to promote the installation of a sprinkler system in homes.
Following weeks of planning, and under carefully controlled conditions, fires were started in four of the bungalows that will shortly be making way for a new development on a site off Rickmansworth Lane in Chalfont St Peter.
Three of the bungalows were fitted with different types of suppression system. Cameras installed inside the rooms that were set on fire will show how effectively they controlled the fires. They will also show how the fire developed in the bungalow that was not fitted with sprinklers, and the extent of the damage.
Jason Thelwell, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Domestic sprinklers save lives and reduce repair costs, and these demonstrations have shown how effective they are. They are also easier and cheaper to fit than many people think.
Wales has broken ranks with the rest of the UK and passed legislation requiring all new properties to be protected by sprinklers. As yet, the new requirement isn’t being enforced – it’s out for consultation, to decide just how best to introduce it – but there’s no doubt that it will be coming into force in the next few months. And there is every likelihood that other parts of the UK will follow suit. A bill which would do the same for England is currently wending its way through the Westminster Government machinery, though it’s not expected to get such a smooth passage as the Welsh bill.
Though the Welsh Assembly has delayed some of its fire safety goals until 2016, care homes are named alongside new and converted halls of residence, boarding houses and hostels as high risk property that will have to comply two years earlier.
Minister for housing and regeneration, Carl Sargeant, explains why a gradual approach was necessary, saying: “This phasing will allow the housebuilding industry to gain experience and skills, and gives the sector the opportunity to innovate and reduce the costs of installing sprinklers. The approach will continue to set Wales apart as a leader in promoting fire safety.”
bafsa (the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association) is among those organisations to welcome the legislation, seeing Wales as ahead of the rest of the UK on fire safety issues as a result.