More could and should be done to protect Britain's businesses and homes against the devastating effects of fire.
Fire sprinklers deliver benefits that far exceed the cost of installation and maintenance.
Learning from Hampshire
In February 2019, a fire destroyed an Ocado warehouse in Andover in Hampshire.
A report has found it spread because a detection system failed and staff turned off the sprinklers.
From the Black Museum
For several years, we have been working closely with local councils and housing groups to promote the installation of sprinklers, recognising that sprinklers definitely have a role to play as part of a fire safety solution for buildings and in particular high rise buildings.
A total of £400,000 has been set aside by the Service to match fund a number of projects to fit and retro-fit sprinkler systems in high rise and other buildings. Our partners are East Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council and Amicus Horizon.
These include projects in Eastbourne at self-contained flats designated as being for use by tenants with physical disabilities, sensory impairment and other long term conditions, in Bexhill at a new care facility and most recently Brighton and Hove, at a thirteen storey block of sheltered accommodation.
Further projects are in the planning phase.
We will continue to encourage building managers, owners and developers to install sprinklers where there is a case for doing so, and proactively provide advice and support on fire safety.
Read our selection of short pieces about fire incidents
where sprinkler systems prevented a more serious outcome.
Sprinklers do more than people realise
- the economy
- the environment
Greater uptake of fire sprinklers would make the country more resilient and competitive, and help ensure that needless fires do not hinder continuing economic recovery.
About sprinkler systems
If you want reduce the risk of dying in a fire as far as you possibly can, you should get fire sprinklers in your home.
Sprinklers are fitted in as many rooms as you want them to be
Their pipes are small and run off mains water
They are individually heat-activated, so the whole system doesn't go off at once
They rarely get set off accidentally, as they need high temperatures to trigger them
They operate automatically, whether you're at home or not
If you have a sprinkler system it must be in conjunction with a smoke alarm. The smoke alarm will alert you to slow-burning, smoke-generating fires that may not generate enough heat to trigger the sprinkler
Sprinklers sound the alarm when they go off - so they alert you and also tackle the fire
Sprinklers are particularly suitable for older people and people who have difficulty moving around or have some other impairment
Do you know the true cost of fire?
The average cost of a fire in a domestic property is estimated at £44,523
Commercial fires cost more than £2bn to the UK's economy every year
The Department for Communities and Local Government estimates the cost of a fire fatality at £1.65m.
Sprinklers should become more commonplace
East Sussex Authority Sprinkler Position Statement
This is because sprinklers can significantly help to:
- Reduce death and injury from fire
- Reduce the risks to firefighters
- Protect property and heritage
- Reduce the effects of arson
- Reduce the environmental impact of fire
- Reduce fire costs and the disruption to the community and business
- Permit design freedoms and encourage innovative, inclusive and sustainable architecture
The Fire Authority will lobby for the creation of a legal requirement to fit sprinklers in those premises where the risk to life and loss of property from fire are most significant.
It will also play a key leadership role in promoting the better understanding of the benefits of sprinklers and will encourage building managers, owners and developers to install sprinklers where there is a risk-based case for doing so.