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16 May 2019

Fire chief supports National Sprinkler Week 2019

Chief Fire Officer Steve Healey and Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) National Sprinkler Week campaign this year. The campaign will run from Sunday 19 May to Friday 24 May.

NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) recently conducted research to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems. They found that sprinkler systems operate successfully in 94% of incidents, demonstrating high reliability. When activated, sprinklers extinguish or contain a fire in 99% of incidents and are therefore considered to be highly effective. The evidence also demonstrates that in both converted and purpose-built flats, sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires.

There is disparity in building regulations with regard to sprinklers in the UK. Sprinkler laws in Wales and Scotland are much less lenient than in England which means that their communities have more fire protection.

Chief Fire Officer of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service Terry McDermott is the NFCC lead for Sprinklers.  He 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 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 the safety benefits of sprinkler systems.

Fire and rescue services in America, Canada and Australia are also supporting the NFCC sprinkler week.

Dispelling the myths about sprinklers:

  • The Myth: Sprinklers can go off accidentally like smoke detectors.
  • The Truth: Sprinklers only activate from the heat emitted from a fire. They are not activated by smoke in the way that smoke detectors are. The chances of a sprinkler head accidentally activating are 1 in 14 million.
  • The Myth: All the sprinklers go off together causing unnecessary water damage.
  • The Truth: Only the sprinkler heads effected by a fire activate. When a sprinkler head does activate it uses a fraction of the water firefighters use to extinguish a fire.
  • The Myth: Sprinklers can’t be fitted in a kitchen as they cause a chip pan to boil over.
  • The Truth:  This is a common misconception. We have all seen the demonstration of the fire ball that is created when you pour water on a chip pan fire. Sprinklers use fine droplets to cool the oil without it boiling over. They are incredibly efficient and safe in dealing with chip pan fires.
  • The Myth: Sprinklers are expensive to install.
  • The Truth: In a new house it costs about the same as fitting the carpets and flooring to fit a sprinkler system. In bigger projects they typically cost about 2% - 5% of the capital cost.

Cumbria County Council supports the installation of suppression systems in a number of new build premises throughout the county - including a Special Needs School in Ulverston and new care homes in Whitehaven and Carlisle. Additionally, the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle has retro fitted a full sprinkler system. 


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Chief Fire Officer Steve Healey and Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) National Sprinkler Week campaign this year. The campaign will run from Sunday 19 May to Friday 24 May.