The BBC reports that the National Fire Chiefs Council has called for a change to building regulations to ensure that all new school buildings are fitted with sprinkler systems. Sprinklers are currently mandatory in new schools in Scotland and Wales, but not in England and Northern Ireland, and fire chiefs argue a huge opportunity to ensure pupils’ safety is being missed.
Less than a third of schools built since 2014 as part of the government’s Schools Building Programme have sprinklers fitted. The proportion of new schools built with sprinklers had dropped from about 70% a decade ago to a third last year, with just 5% of all schools in England and Wales fitted with sprinkler systems.
There have been no multiple fire deaths in the UK as a result of a fire in a building with a working sprinkler system. With around 700 school fires per year in England, sprinkler systems can play an important role in ensuring fire safety in any new school building.
Sprinkler systems have been recommended by the National Fire Chiefs Council because they are reliable, efficient and effective. In most cases, just one sprinkler is capable of extinguishing a fire as it starts, greatly reducing the risk of injury or fatality to those on site, as well as damage to the building itself.
Premier Technical Services Group PLC (PTSG) helps public bodies and private companies across the UK keep their residents, pupils and customers safe, with a comprehensive fire solutions provision. The Group’s Fire Solutions division is comprised of the installation and maintenance of wet risers, dry risers and sprinkler systems, emergency lighting and fire extinguisher services, with skilled teams located across the UK ready to provide a range of installation, testing and maintenance work around the clock.