So the consultation for making the requirement for reducing the threshold for sprinkler installations in building from 30 metres to 18m is winding up. Undoubtedly, it is an improvement on the current process but it has already been proposed by several bodies in response to the consultation that this threshold be further reduced to 11 metres. Even better but isn’t it time that all new residential blocks of flats and other residential building be fitted with sprinklers as a matter of course? What would have happened if the fire in the Beechmere Assisted living facility in Crewe with 150 residents in a three-storey block had occurred in the dark hours? As it was the daytime only the building was totally lost and no lives serious injuries due to the efforts of firefighters and the community in leading residents out of the building. None the less the evacuation took 50 minutes to complete! How this could have been achieved at two o clock in the morning is daunting. Sprinklers Website article
The building itself was one of the largest timber framed buildings in Europe and illustrates an important point to be made when considering the fitting of sprinklers. That is, that while sprinklers have been shown to be effective in high-rise buildings, they are also essential in other residential buildings of a lower level. It was quite feasible to have lost dozens of residents in the upper floors at Beechmere had circumstances been different. A sprinkler system, had it been installed, would help delay the rate of fire growth or even extinguish the fire at any time of day or night, giving firefighters a chance to carry out rescues and knock down the fire quickly.
Sprinklers in all residential buildings on all floor levels will help eliminate the risk of residents in any building dying from a fire. In residential care buildings Scotland and Wales now mandate for sprinkler installations. Unfortunately, it will take another Rosepark Care Home fire for things to change in England.
The full article in Fire Magazine can be accessed at: