National Sprinkler WeekPosted
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is supporting National Sprinkler Week (3rd - 9th February 2014) as residents across Wales prepare to welcome new legislation which will help safeguard people and businesses across the country.
From April 2014 new regulations will require the installation of automatic fire sprinklers in new high risk properties such as care homes, converted student halls of residence, boarding houses and certain hostels. From January 2016, it will also be compulsory for all new and converted houses and flats to be fitted with sprinklers.
Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This new legislation means that we in Wales are leading the way in the promotion of fire safety and the protection of our residents and businesses.
"Commercial and domestic sprinkler systems deliver benefits that are far greater than the cost of their installation and maintenance. They do much more for the UK than people recognize - safeguarding people, firefighters, jobs, homes, businesses, the economy and the environment."
This legislation is not in place in other parts of the UK - and the first ever national Fire Sprinkler Week was launched monday, calling for more active promotion of sprinklers and a review of provisions for fire sprinklers in building standards.
Fire Sprinkler Week 2014 is the first in a schedule of annual campaigns designed to convey a simple message: controlling a fire as it starts is better than repairing the damage after it has spread.
Gary added: "Sprinklers are the equivalent to having a firefighter ready and waiting in every room of your home or business.
"The vast majority of fires and resulting deaths and injuries take place in the home. Even a small fire can cause a massive amount of damage to property. Every day two people die and 50 are injured in fires in the UK.
"The recent care home fire in Quebec and the tragic loss of life of the residents highlights the importance of sprinkler systems - while smoke alarms can warn of a fire they do nothing to actually control the fire itself. This is where residential sprinkler systems can make all the difference - by helping to control the fire or even extinguish it completely."
Myths about sprinklers
Myth 1: In a fire, every sprinkler head will activate, flooding my property.
Individual sprinkler heads will only activate when the room temperature reaches a certain point. The heads operate as individual heat sensors - water is only released in the area where there is a fire. In 60% of cases, fires are controlled by the spray from four sprinklers or fewer.
Firefighters often use 15 times more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler does alone.
Myth 2: Sprinklers are too expensive to install.
In new buildings, the costs of installing sprinklers, considered over the life span of the building, work out economically - roughly equivalent to carpeting the same building.
It is also likely that insurers will offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems, and that policy excesses will be lower.
Myth 3: Sprinklers are too expensive to maintain.
Annual maintenance costs of domestic fire sprinkler systems is between £75-£150 per year (£6.25-£12.50 per month). That's a lot less than the cost of replacing home contents if a fire should occur.
Myth 4: Sprinklers are ugly and affect the design of a building.
Sprinklers actually allow design freedoms, if considered when a building is being built. They may allow larger rooms and a reduction in partitioning, or allow adaptation of layouts to better meet the occupier's needs. Sprinklers can be recessed or flush-mounted and unobtrusive.
Myth 5: Sprinklers are unreliable.
Worldwide records show that only 1 in 16 million sprinklers installed per year will result in failure. Every sprinkler head is independently tested before leaving the manufacturing plant.
Myth 6: Sprinklers only work on fires that can be put out with water.
Sprinklers can now be foam enhanced to control flammable liquid, chemical and petroleum fires.