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Service promotes sprinklers in schools

Date: 12th January, 2017

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is again urging all local schools to have sprinklers fitted.

Early on 3 January, the Service attended a serious fire at Avenue Primary School in Warminster.

On arrival, firefighters from Warminster, Westbury and Frome found a well-developed blaze within a temporary classroom block. Sadly, the damage was extensive but crews were able to stop the spread of fire to the nearby main school buildings.

Chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Rebecca Knox, said: “Fires in schools are really disruptive to children’s education, and they are very distressing for them, their teachers and their families due to the uncertainty that arises as a result. Impacts can include school closures, longer travelling times, disruption of classes and after-school activities, inadequate facilities and, of course, the potential for key classwork to be destroyed.

“Sprinklers can really help avoid this; against the societal costs of loss of jobs, buildings and cost of replacement, a sprinkler system has roughly the same cost as carpeting a school. Nationally, over 635 fires occur in schools each year in the UK, which is more than one a day.”

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell added: “In Dorset and Wiltshire, we know only too well how devastating school fires can be and how difficult they can be to deal with, not only for firefighters but also short and long term for the children, teachers and their families.

“Sprinklers within a school building limit the spread and growth of fire and allow for the quick evacuation of children and staff. Our Fire Safety team will now be working with Avenue School to offer advice and ensure that pupils and buildings are safe from fire.”

More information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/sprinklers

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