London Fire Brigade supports government guidance for sprinklers equipped new buildings
The guidance would ensure that new and refurbished school buildings, including those built under the Building Schools for the Future programme, are likely to have sprinkler systems.
They will be working to make sure that decision makers and the general public are aware of the new policy and to encourage the inclusion of sprinklers in all buildings where there is a risk based case for doing so.
School fires put lives at stake and disrupt the education of tens of thousands or pupils across the UK each year. They are also expensive - school fires in 2006 cost £74 million. This figure is rising every year.
Installing sprinklers mean a fire can be put out in minutes and that fire damage is minimised; saving lives, saving money and minimizing the disruption they cause to the education of children.
The Government announced in March 2007 that it expected all new schools and the majority of those undergoing major refurbishment to have sprinklers installed.
Supporting this announcement, the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) published Building Bulletin (BB) 100, "Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools". Alongside this, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) developed an interactive risk assessment tool and a cost benefit analysis tool to be used by local authorities and design teams to help make decisions on the installation of sprinklers in schools.
When both financial cost and the wider social and economic impacts of fire in schools are considered, sprinklers in schools are good value - whatever the risk.
In November 2007 the LFB jointly hosted a seminar on sprinklers to raise awareness of the advantages of sprinklers and discuss the obstacles in the way of their installation in schools and other public buildings. The event was supported by the Local Government Association (LGA), British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), the European Sprinklers Network and the National Fire Sprinkler Network.
The seminar featured speakers from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. the LGA and the BAFSA, who announced the results of national research on the wider impact of school fires which they jointly commissioned from the National Foundation for Educational Research.
The LFB works to support risk assessments carried out in all new school buildings and provides advice on how to best achieve a fire safe school environment. They also continue to campaign for the inclusion of sprinklers in any buildings where there is a risk based case for doing so, such as in the homes of the most vulnerable.
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