Chair – National Fire Sprinkler Network
Since its foundation in 1998, the National Fire Sprinkler Network has become a formidable organisation in developing the application of fire sprinkler technology for the protection of people, property and the environment at home, at work and their places of leisure and social activity.
We are a non-profit organisation and remain free from commercial interest. We work in partnership with a wide range of local, national and European Governments and the fire and construction industries who share our ideals and objectives in making our communities safer from the threat of fire.
16 July 2014
Wiltshire F&RS have generously offered to host out autumn meeting on October 22nd 2014.
The venue is yet to be confirmed but will hopefully be on the M4 corridor in the Swindon area.
If you would like to attend or need further details please contact the Secretary at email@example.com
“This was still a major fire and our firefighters did a tremendous job in tackling the blaze and bringing it under control so quickly. But there is no doubt that the sprinkler system in place greatly limited the damage, and probably saved the warehouse from being destroyed.”
Sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service can arrive. They save lives and reduce injuries, protect fire-fighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.Currently, only commercial premises greater than 20,000m2 must have sprinkler systems installed. The fire service, through the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), is currently campaigning for this threshold to be lowered. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has already helped pioneer a drive for sprinklers to be installed in residential properties. In 2011, sprinklers were retro-fitted into a block of flats in Gleadless after a grant from the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association. It was the first scheme of its kind in the country. The fire at the ASOS warehouse involved four floors and is believed to have been started deliberately.
The NFSN Members meeting held on Wednesday 25th June at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Training Establishment in Sheffield was attended by 37 delegates with some useful and thought provoking content. Thanks to all who came and especially to South Yorkshire F&RS for looking after us so well.
As well as the usual agenda items there was an interesting presentation on a recent fire trial carried out by London Fire Brigade in conjunction with Bafsa and CFOA into to the effects of sprinklers where hoarding is prevalent.
There was also be a presentation from ‘Firebreaker’ about their valve set for use in domestic sprinkler systems.
The third presentation was by Gary Howe who explained the elements required to protect recycling sites with water based fire suppression systems.
There was also a round up of reports from across the country-wide membership which were particularly of interest.
Minutes from the meeting will be available in due course.
Sprinkler Week has seen the announcement of several new sprinkler initiatives from around the regions.
1, Sprinkler systems are to be fitted into some of Nottingham’s high rise blocks and new buildings to reduce the risk of injury and death from fires.
Nottingham City Homes has worked with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to identify which of the company’s 28,000 properties are occupied by people most at risk from fire.
The company is also taking the opportunity to fit sprinkler systems into its newly-built bungalows and flats.
Initially, the high-rise blocks of Winchester Court, Woodthorpe Court and Kingston Court, in Mapperley, will be fitted with the systems. In total, 270 flats will be fitted with the life-saving equipment. The investment in sprinklers is £1.25 million, covered by both organisations.
Chief executive Nick Murphy said: “We want to make sure that our most vulnerable tenants are even safer in their homes from fire. That’s why we are working with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to identify which of our properties to prioritise.”
2, Care UK’s new care homes across Suffolk, which will begin opening later this year, have won praise from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service for going above and beyond fire safety regulations required within existing legislation.
John Johnson, head of health and safety for Care UK’s £60 million Suffolk care home development project, said: “Resident and colleague safety is of the utmost importance to Care UK, which is why we will be installing automatic sprinklers to BS9521 in each of the county’s 10 new homes.
“Suffolk Fire and Rescue representatives are very positive about this as the use of fire sprinklers exceeds the current legal minimum of fire safety regulations in England.”
Councillor Colin Spence, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “We are delighted that Suffolk County Council has been able to work closely with Care UK in the progression of our ambition to include fire safety sprinklers within the design of these new care homes. This represents the best possible option for both the safety of older members of the community of Suffolk and a clear commitment by Care UK to community welfare and business continuity planning.”
3, Whitefriars Housing Association, based in Coventry, have announced plans to fit sprinklers into 4 of their high rise properties in Coventry with work having already started on one installation.
Additionally, a proposed new hostel for vulnerable persons in the city will have sprinklers fitted from the outset.
Kevin Rogers, from Whitefriars, outlined the plans at a sprinkler seminar held by West Midlands Fire Service at their Headquarters in Birmingham last Tuesday.
4, London Fire Brigade’s sprinkler competition
The competition is open to any London housing provider in the capital and the Brigade has a total of £100,000 available to part fund sprinkler projects designed to benefit those people most at risk from fire such as those with mobility or mental health problems or people with dementia.
5, Essex sprinkler initiative
Essex Fire and Rescue Service is demonstrating its commitment to the benefits of sprinklers by providing funding to help install sprinklers in the homes of the highest risk of fire.
A total of £250,000 will be used to provide match funding to fit sprinkler systems and protect the most vulnerable people in the County. The funding is available to Local Authorities, Housing Associations and Charities. Those at highest risk will be given priority access to the fund.
Applications can be made to the Service. A desktop assessment indicates sprinklers are an appropriate solution and the current position warrants further investigation then an ECFRS Fire Engineer will visit to assess suitability for the fitting of sprinklers.
If the Fire Engineer’s report and the application is approved you will be informed in writing of how much you will be awarded. The maximum award will be 50% of the cost. Grants will be paid within 30 days of a final inspection by ECFRS to ensure that the system is installed to the correct standard.
To find out more about the match funding use the form found on their website.
The Business Sprinkler Alliance have published two new reports on the impact of fires in warehouses
1, The financial and economic impact of warehouse fires
This is an evidence‐based report by the Centre for Economics and Business assessment of the direct and indirect economic impacts in England and Wales of fires in warehouse buildings without automatic fire suppression systems.
2, An environmental impact and cost benefit analysis for fire sprinklers in warehouse buildings – BRE Global
This study identifies the costs and benefits associated with the installation of automatic fire suppression systems (‘sprinklers’), in three ranges of warehouse building size in England.
The reports can be found and downloaded via the link below:
You may have seen coverage on the UK News of the tragic Care Home fire in Quebec last night. The NFSN extend their condolences to all affected by the blaze.
The following links provide more information:
The focus of this first sprinkler week, intended as a precursor to future annual events, will have a mainly local emphasis with F&RS organising events in their local area. The week events are being coordinated by CFOA and the Business Sprinkler Alliance with support from NFSN and BAFSA.
To find out more visit www.cfoa.org.uk/FireSprinkler Week2014
There will also be a Twitter feed at #sprinklerweek2014
Additionally, there will be launches of important new studies, offering evidence of the strong business case for installing sprinklers in buildings including:
•CFOA Business Case for Sprinklers
•BRE Cost Benefit Analysis on Warehouses
•CEBR Economic Impact of Commercial Fire
The BRE and CEBT reports will be launched at Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons on 29 January.
A new initiative has been announced to fit sprinklers into buildings where people are more at risk of experiencing a fire in Merseyside.
The announcement was made ahead of Sprinkler Week which starts on February 3, 2014. The aim of the week is to focus on the benefits of sprinklers across the built environment and how they can help protect people from fire.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has agreed to put funds towards the project which will see at least one high rise block in each of the five districts in Merseyside fitted with a sprinkler system.
Other high rise blocks, identified by risk, are also expected to have sprinklers fitted.
Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Dave Hanratty said:
“The Fire Authority has agreed to a new project which sees Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service working with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) who will retro-fit sprinkler systems to buildings where more vulnerable residents are living, including blocks of flats. A particular focus is the elderly and those at greater risk of experiencing fire.
“Sprinkler systems will also contribute towards fire-fighter safety as they can stop fires spreading and we will be supporting RSLs during the installation of the sprinklers. RSLs will pay for the running cost and maintenance of the sprinkler systems.
“The benefit of sprinklers and the impact they have suppressing fires and limiting a fire spreading in a building is a topic I am passionate about and I am delighted this project is beginning with the support of our partners.”
26th March 2014: NFSN AGM and Members, Norwich
25th June 2014: NFSN Members, Sheffield
22nd October 2014: NFSN Members, Wiltshire
Please contact the secretary for more details
Derby Homes have been supportive of the ‘Think Sprinkler’ campaign since its inception and have been working closely with the Service to drive its success. To this end, Derby Homes have committed to fitting domestic sprinklers into all of its new build properties and retro fitting them into all properties where necessary.
Rose Homes is one of four projects currently underway by Derby Homes, three further developments will deliver a total of approximately 140 properties all fitted with domestic sprinklers, ready to protect both tenants and property for life.
Derby Homes have enlisted a private contractor to install the sprinkler systems at a cost of £800 per unit; the lowest cost to date for fitting domestic sprinklers. Further details of the installations are awaited.
The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has renewed its call for sprinklers to be fitted in high-risk buildings, after a serious fire at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre last night.
Ten fire engines attended the fire at the Kidlington Centre and one casualty was rescued by fire crews, and remains in a critical condition. One hundred and eighty people were evacuated from the accommodation block where the fire started, and there was substantial damage to the roof and second floor of the building. Campsfield House did not have sprinklers fitted, despite an earlier incident involving the same accommodation block, during which Oxfordshire FRS had strongly recommended their installation.
Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, Dave Etheridge said: “At the height of the incident, we had 10 fire engines at the scene – from Kidlington, Woodstock, Eynsham, Rewley Road, Slade, Witney and Bicester – working closely with the detention centre staff, and our Ambulance and Police colleagues.”
“We are currently working with the Police to investigate the cause of the fire, which spread rapidly from the second floor into the roof void, resulting in extensive damage to the roof area and fire and smoke damage to the second floor of the two-storey building.”
“We had an incident at Campsfield several years ago, and formally wrote to the Home Office recommending the fitting of sprinklers due to the nature and behaviour of the occupants, plus the high probability of another similar incident. The Home Office elected not to fit sprinklers during the refurbishment.”
CFOA President, Paul Fuller, said: “The Oxfordshire crews and emergency service colleagues did a tremendous job at this incident and should be commended. However the extensive spread of the fire might have been halted before the lives of fire-fighters and the centre’s staff and residents were put at risk, had the Home Office listened to Oxfordshire Fire Service’s advice to fit sprinklers at the Campsfield Centre.”
“There is a precedent for sprinklers to be fitted in immigration centres – as they were in Yarlswood, Bedfordshire, and Harmsworth in London – following serious fires at those facilities. We would call upon the Home Office to install sprinkler systems in all similar properties, which are proven to save lives and reduce injuries, protect firefighters, and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment.”
Councillor Carolyn Lambert, supported by Councillor Tom Jones, has successfully petitioned Lewes District Council to install fire sprinklers in all new-build Council owned buildings.
The Council has also agreed, if finances allow, to consider installing domestic sprinkler systems in refurbished homes owned by the District Council where these are occupied by people with restricted mobility.
The Council will also actively promote the use of fire sprinklers and encourage others to install them into any building where they are not otherwise required to be installed by building regulation or council planning rules.
Councillor Lambert says: “I am delighted that the Council has agreed to support this important proposal. As a member of the Fire Authority, I am very aware of the importance of fire prevention work.
There have unfortunately been 8 fatal fires in Lewes District in the last 10 years, and in the majority of these cases, domestic sprinkler systems could have made a difference to the tragic outcome.”
Recently, the NFSN contributed to a Welsh Government consultation on proposed regulations to implement the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011.
They have just published the response documents on their website. To view the results visit the website at: http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/planning/implementing-domestic-fire-safety-measure/?status=closed&lang=en
Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott has renewed the call for sprinklers to be fitted in schools, social housing, new builds and high rise buildings.
This comes following a blaze that destroyed St Mary’s Catholic College in Lancashire which had no sprinkler system in place and is said to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.
Warwickshire’s Fire and Rescue Service has been campaigning for greater numbers of sprinklers to be fitted since the launch of its ‘Sprinklers for Life’ campaign in June 2010.
Mr Hickmott said he believes that the measure could significantly reduce the number of similar destructions to property and tragic loss of lives.
“I am convinced that the benefit of sprinkler systems is still not fully realised. Whether it is to save life in domestic fires, or to protect buildings like schools from arson attacks, sprinklers should be fitted in a far wider range of buildings than they currently are – mainly because in the UK our current building regulations sadly lag far behind other countries.
“Not only do sprinklers virtually eliminate the risk of fire becoming fatal, they make the work of firefighters massively safer and put a quick and early stop to the destructive spread of fires.”
Ian Bell from Tyne and Wear F&RS has sent the following link to their press release and short video clip following on from the recent successful sprinkler activation at a Gateshead school.
Fire experts and housing chiefs have come together to deliver an innovative £150,000 safety upgrade in two low rise blocks of council flats in Hanley.The co-operation between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is a first in the region in ensuring that council owned flats get the latest in fire technology. The 72 flats at Ashmore Walk and Matthews Walk were built in the 1960s and the project is a test bed for the city council which is looking at upgrading fire safety in all of its blocks of apartments. The council rents out 3,000 flats at affordable rents, as part of its 19,000 low cost rental operation, helping local people afford a quality home in the city. With a mix of tenants from single people to families living in the flats at Ashmore Walk and Matthews Walk, the two blocks provide the partners with a real opportunity to show what the new technology can do. Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety Janine Bridges said all the council’s homes met the latest safety regulations but this system went above and beyond.
“We are absolutely committed to providing quality homes for our communities and safety is central to this,” she added.
“Sprinkler systems are used widely in hotels and business and have massive benefits over traditional passive features like fire doors. The sprinklers don’t just limit the fire, they put it out.
“Quality affordable homes are the building blocks for good communities. The city council provides thousands of affordable quality homes for local families, plus we are helping regenerate existing older homes, working with private landlords to improve standards and helping developers build hundreds of new homes for the next generation.”
Cllr Phil Scott, Labour Group Leader on East Sussex Fire & Rescue Combined Authority has issued a strong plea for DCLG to introduce requirements for sprinklers in residential care premises.
A recent fire in the six storey Marlborough House block resulted in the local authority having to find temporary accommodation for 34 elderly residents.
Cllr Scott says:
“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 fire fighters and equipment to deal with major incidents such as Marlborough House. Sheltered Accommodation such as Marlborough House, which is a fairly new building only some several years old, should have had Residential Sprinkler Systems 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 & Rescue Personnel across the Country. 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.”
You can access his petition at: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52787
Water UK have, on behalf of all members of the Water Liaison Group, Issued an E Bulletin for the benefit of all parties concerned with domestic and residential sprinkler water supplies.
The document is available on our downloads page
Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration for Wales has issued a statement regarding the Domestic Fire Safety(Wales)Measure as follows:
“As a former industrial fire fighter I am personally committed to implement the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure which was passed by the National Assembly in February 2011. I am grateful to the construction industry and the fire-related safety sector for their continued interest in this issue.
Fire sprinklers in new residential properties will prevent death and injury to householders and fire-fighters. However, at a time when resources are tight, I have decided to focus effort initially at high risk properties where this measure will have the greatest impact.
From April 2014, the regulations will apply to high risk properties such as care homes, new and converted student halls of residence, boarding houses and certain hostels and from January 2016 to all new and converted houses and flats. This phasing will allow the house building 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.
On both Part L and domestic fire safety, these decisions reflect where we are today rather than where we were three or more years ago. They will mean savings for the house building industry as compared to our original consultation proposals.
On Monday 8th July, the cabinet of Suffolk County Council (SCC) agreed with measures set out in St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s consultation on Vision 2031 and said the development blueprint was “sound.”
The plans include a new school, 900 homes between the Howard Estate and Fornham All Saints, 500 homes for Moreton Hall, 1,250 between Bury and Great Barton and 1,250 to the south-east of the town and 450 to the west of the town.
The Local Authority document is also encouraging the installation of sprinklers.
On page 55 point 9.11.of the document it states that the aim is that “Residents and visitors both are, and feel, safe” and this includes the action to achieve the aspiration to “promote the installation of sprinkler systems in all new buildings including homes”.
The NFSN congratulates the Local Authority on the visionary aspiration and offers its support in achieving this goal.
The Chief Fire Officers Association is continuing to call for legislative change regarding the installation of sprinklers in domestic properties following a study by Strathclyde University which highlights an apparent inability of standard smoke alarms to wake young children.
Led by Professor Niamh Nic Daeid at the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, ‘The effectiveness of domestic smoke detectors in waking children: a UK study’ was prompted by a major fire in Derbyshire and was led by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.
A total of 204 tests were conducted as part of the study involving 34 children (20 girls and 14 boys) between the ages of 2 and 13 years old and the tests were undertaken in the children’s homes using standard domestic smoke alarms fitted within the property. Parents activated the smoke alarms continuously for one minute after the children had gone to bed and recorded the time taken for each child to wake. The children were given no prior warning of any tests.
The results were:
• 80% of the children, including all of the male children slept through the alarms on all 6 tests
• Of the 34 children tested, only seven (all girls) woke up during any of the six tests
• Only two children (6% of the total number tests) both girls aged 10 years woke each time the alarm was sounded during the six individual tests.
Whilst the value of smoke alarms as a means of alerting to people to fires is not in question and there is no doubt working fire alarms can save lives, the research raises a question about the ability of standard smoke alarms to wake children, especially males under the age of 13.
Dave Curry, CFOA Director for Prevention, Protection and Road Safety, said “Smoke alarms could save your life and we advise you to have detectors on each floor as a minimum, although having one in each room will afford greater protection. Smoke alarms should be tested regularly and your local fire and rescue service will be able to assist you with advice on smoke alarms and their location if required.
“Given the findings of the research we would also advise all parents to have a ‘fire plan’ which includes escape routes, and a process that ensures everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of an alarm and includes waking, alerting and evacuating all children in your home.
“Smoke detectors can only raise awareness of fire; they cannot prevent fire spreading or protect individuals. We firmly believe that sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the FRS can arrive. They save lives and reduce injuries, protect fire-fighters who attend incidents and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment from fire.”
“Fire and rescue services see first-hand the devastating consequences fire can have and we continue to warn government they are not doing enough to prevent people dying or being injured in their own homes.”
Thanks to Keith Brooks for this information. Below is a link to Cheshire FRS website regarding a funding initiative to install sprinklers into some high rise blocks of flats in the County of Cheshire…..
The NFSN has now opened a twitter account @nfsnuk where we hope to update and share sprinkler related news with a wider audience.