There is clear evidence that sprinklers can be effective in rapidly controlling and stopping the spread of fires.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service actively promotes the inclusion of fire sprinklers within homes as well as in commercial or public buildings, such as schools. We work with our local authority building control departments to consider the use of sprinklers where appropriate.
This approach has been successful, as a large percentage of schools within the county are now fitted with sprinklers.
- Reduce fire deaths and fire related injuries
- Reduce the risk to firefighters
- Protect property and heritage
- Reduce the effects of arson
- Reduce the environmental impact of fire
- Reduce the cost and disruption to the community and business
Sprinklers activate when a certain level of heat is detected at ceiling level. The sprinklers then douse the fire with water, localising the fire and restricting the spread.
Only sprinklers within close proximity to the fire will be activated, meaning water will only be released in the places directly affected by the fire.
They do not operate all at once as portrayed in the movies. Their undoubted life and property saving benefits are recognised by building regulators, the fire and rescue service and the general public.
Non-domestic (commercial) properties
There is a compelling case to be made for sprinklers in any commercial premises on the basis of loss of production or interruption to business. It is recognised that 85% of small and medium size businesses that suffer a serious fire either never recover or cease trading within 18 months.
The installation of sprinklers in these types of premises could prevent this loss, and fewer businesses would be forced to relocate or close.
Sprinklers can now allow much more interesting use of space. New building codes work on a performance based approach to the safety of a building, so including sprinklers enables designers to achieve greater freedom to fulfil their overall vision.
Dispelling the myths
- Only the sprinkler head(s) directly affected by fire will activate.
- Sprinklers attack the fire quickly and directly, so less water is needed.
- They also operate the fire alarm.
- The flow can be quickly turned off when the fire is out.
- Whilst smoke detection systems alone do save lives, they do nothing to extinguish a growing fire.
- There is only a one in 16 million chance of a sprinkler malfunctioning.
We will continue to lobby for these life and property saving systems to become the norm in terms of building design considerations in both new build and substantially altered buildings.
We have no doubt that wider inclusion of these life saving systems in our homes and businesses will make a positive and sustainable improvement to the overall safety of our community.
For more information, visit the National Fire Sprinkler Network – www.nfsn.co.uk