How Sprinkler Systems Could Benefit Car Parks
When advocating the installation of sprinkler systems in buildings, chances are people don’t immediately think of car parks. But, why not? Multi-storey car parks, housing potentially hundreds of cars could be a danger if there is no fire protection system in place. Especially overnight. As more cars are being manufactured, car parks are getting even bigger; with more fire risks accumulating.
Not just the number of ignition sources next to each other, due to primarily an inner-city location, with buildings surrounding the car parks, there is a high chance of a fire breaking out and spreading throughout the different levels. So, should sprinkler systems be mandatory in multi-storey car parks?
Causes of Fires
With potentially thousands of cars parked extremely close to one another, there are many risks concerning major fires. In a vehicle, there are many flammable materials; such as plastic, rubber and textiles. All easy to catch fire and spread sporadically. This alongside passenger tanks that have combustible fuel, or even tossed away cigarettes, can add to this and cause a chain reaction of flames.
What about buildings nearby? Occasionally, car parks will be attached to shopping centres or other tourist attractions. If a fire starts to spread in these buildings and there are no efficient fire safety precautions in place, this could also spread to car parks.
King’s Dock, Liverpool
Back in 2017, a fire broke out at a multi-storey car park based at King’s Dock in Liverpool. The car park next to the Echo Arena, which was currently hosting the Liverpool International Horse Show, had temperatures reaching 1000C (equivalent to flowing lava) and had more than 1000 cars entirely destroyed. The fire is said to have started when a Land Rover burst into flames and consequently, ignited other cars. Over 4000 people had to evacuate the area as the Merseyside Fire and Rescue team put out the flames.
Since then, the car park, along with over a hundred abandoned cars, has been destroyed and there is a plan to build a new £26m car park in its place.
It is clear that there is a lesson to be learnt with this example, as the city council ensures this new Arena car park will have CCTV, electric charging points and sprinkler systems installed.
System Design and Installation
There is no denying how effective and convenient sprinkler systems can be in these situations. Fire safety guidance currently does not require car parks to have sprinkler systems legally, but only relies on fire doors and windows. However, this will not stop the amount of damage caused if one car ignites, causing a chain of reaction. Sprinkler systems will automatically detect the flame and suppress its spreading. Especially in areas that include ‘car stackers’. These sprinkler systems can also alert the emergency services if the fire continues to spread. Rather than relying on someone in the surrounding area to call 999.
RAD Fire Sprinklers
RAD Fire Sprinklers promotes domestic sprinkler system installation in all buildings across the UK. We understand the importance of fire safety and how sprinklers can prevent damage and save lives. Sprinkler systems are the most effective form of fire suppression and can keep your property safe for years to come.
It is important to continue to ensure you are fully aware of new building regulations when it comes to fire safety. Especially if you are a homeowner, or the “responsible person” in a domestic or commercial building. Find out about the fire regulations here.
For more information, or to receive a quote, fill out our online contact form. Or, call us on 01892 680090 and speak to a member of our team.