Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

A new report has revealed that residential sprinkler systems are a cost efficient means of protecting people and property in specific types of premises.

The report commissioned by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) was officially launched on November 15, 2012.

A BRE Global report titled “Cost Benefit Analysis of Residential Sprinklers – Final Report”, states that residential sprinklers designed to the approved code of practice, BS 9251, are cost effective for all types of care home, flats and houses in multiple occupation, where there are six or more units.

It also goes on to state that currently there is little evidence to support their inclusion in single private dwellings, however, international studies have proved that where sprinklers are mandatory in homes the recorded numbers of fire deaths and injuries is greatly reduced, with some areas of the world reporting no fire deaths in over 20 years.

The inclusion of suppression will significantly enhance the fire risk management for the most vulnerable people in our communities and in light of this new evidence must now be a key consideration for all housing providers.

This report was drafted as a result of a fire at Lakanal House high rise flats in London, in July 2009, in which six residents died.

It also follows the initial findings of the Government’s fire advisor, which suggested that the retro-fitting of sprinklers in such buildings would be too prohibitive in terms of cost and disruption.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association Lead Officer for Sprinklers has said further government “negligence” on automatic sprinklers will see “thousands more die unnecessarily”.

CFOA Sprinkler Lead Chris Enness, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “To fail to act on the conclusions of this latest report would be tantamount to negligence. We encourage the Government to take a lead by simply changing the guidance that supports the current legislation there is the potential for hundreds, if not thousands of lives to be saved in the future. Doing nothing is not an option, not when people are continuing to die unnecessarily in fires.”

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