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Firefighters support National Sprinkler Week

The benefits of sprinklers as a way to stop fire spreading in homes and businesses are being promoted as part of a special week of action.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is supporting National Sprinkler Week (May 19-24), which aims to educate people about the difference sprinkler systems can make in cases of fire.

The week, which is being led by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), will see fire services throughout the country using social media to promote the use of sprinklers as a potential way of saving lives and limiting fire and smoke damage.

NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) carried out research to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems. They found that sprinkler systems operate on 94 per cent of occasions. When they do operate, they extinguish or contain the fire 99 per cent of the time.

Scott Richards, Community Protection Manager with NFRS, said: “We hope this week of awareness will really help boost the public’s understanding of sprinklers and the part they can play in fighting fires quickly, preventing more significant fire and smoke damage to properties.

“Currently in England, it is not mandatory for sprinklers to be fitted in buildings as long as other fire safety measures are present, so there are many buildings without sprinkler systems fitted.

“However, sprinklers can be a powerful tool in putting fires out quickly and effectively without letting flames fully take hold. The inclusion of sprinklers with a building can also add additional design freedoms or reduce the need for more passive fire precautions.

“We would like to encourage both business and other building owners to consider having sprinkler systems fitted and would like to remind people they can also be retro-fitted in many cases.”

Sprinklers, also known as Automatic Water Suppression Systems (AWSS), automatically apply water to a developing fire. They are activated by the intense heat caused by fire. Only the sprinkler head closest to the fire will be activated and it attacks the fire quickly and directly.

Chief Fire Officer of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, Terry McDermott, also NFCC lead for Sprinklers, said:
“The evidence speaks for itself, our research proves that sprinklers are very effective and provide strong fire safety protections as part of a fire safety package.
“Wales and Scotland recognise this and have implemented measures to make their communities safer from fire; we want to see these same changes in England and Northern Ireland as a matter of urgency.
“Fire does not discriminate and is just as dangerous in England as it is in the rest of the UK.”

NFCC is asking people to support the campaign by following the hashtag #ThinkSprinkler on social media to raise awareness of sprinklers.

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